Cycle city

Jersey City Bike Master Plan approved

The Jersey City Bike Master Plan calls for more than 120 miles of bikeways throughout the city.
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The Jersey City Bike Master Plan calls for more than 120 miles of bikeways throughout the city.

More protected bike lanes will be hitting city streets in the coming years now that the Jersey City Planning Board unanimously adopted the city’s Bike Master Plan earlier this month.

The new plan will act as a guide for the future development of protected and unprotected bike lanes, other bike infrastructure, and bike safety initiatives across the city.

“This is vital for our city,” said Planning Board Chairman Chris Langston. “I hope years from now we can say every street doesn’t need a car.”

The Bike Master Plan calls for a network of 121 miles of bike paths with 46 of these miles to be protected bike lanes, 38 miles would be neighborhood greenways, and 13 miles would be conventional unprotected bike lanes.

“We’ve taken some meaningful steps + this is another step forward,” Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted. “We made a commitment and we are following through – I know not everyone agrees with our #VisionZero changes but I know over time residents will appreciate the safer streets that consider more than just cars.”

According to plan documents, the hope is to “make Jersey City one of the best cycling cities in North America.”

Jersey City was the first municipality in the state to adopt the Vision Zero initiative. It aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2026.

 “I hope years from now we can say every street doesn’t need a car.” — Planning Board Chairman Chris Langston

The bike plan’s main goal is to further the city’s Vision Zero initiative.

According to the study, between 2008 and 2017, 50 percent of all bicycle crashes on Jersey City roads were fatal.

In Jersey City, nearly 37 percent of households do not own a car. Forty-seven percent of residents take some form of mass transportation to work. This plan would help to significantly increase the number of people in the city who travel by bike.

Currently, less than 1 percent of trips in the city are made by cycling. The goal is to increase this number by 400 percent by 2026, according to plan documents.

One way this will be done is by ensuring that no Jersey City resident would be further than a quarter mile from any bikeway over the next 10 years, according to the plan.

It also recognizes that Jersey City does not exist alone and aims to connect to surrounding municipalities.

The city has already installed roughly five miles of protected bike lanes since this summer, unveiling the most recent lane on Bergen Avenue this September.

Mayor Steve Fulop said he hopes to reach a total of 20 miles by the end of the year.

The city’s Director of Traffic and Transportation Andrew Vischio said it takes approximately two weeks to construct a protected bike lane on one city block and that a mile of bike lane costs approximately $75,000.

That would mean it could cost the city nearly $1.5 million to create 20 miles of bike lanes by the end of the year.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.