New bike lanes poorly designed
Just lately there was a number of speak concerning the bike lanes that have been simply added in Brookdale Park. After we at Bike&Stroll Montclair first heard of them we have been excited… however then we noticed them and rode them and our hearts shortly sank. Although we applaud the efforts of Essex County resolution makers of their try to create a road design that enables bikes to experience comfortably, safely and predictably, these bike lanes really make it extra harmful for everybody.
Actual-world experiences have proven again and again that bike lanes shouldn’t be positioned instantly subsequent to parked vehicles with out a small buffer space. This buffer space is extra generally known as the “door zone,” and it’s a very harmful space for individuals using a motorbike in addition to passengers exiting autos. Simply think about — a passenger opens a automobile door with out wanting behind them first and WHAM! This isn’t an unlikely situation; in actual fact, fairly often this even endangers individuals driving in vehicles who swerve to keep away from a horrific crash because the bike bounces off the door and into the journey lane.
Bike security in Essex County has been the topic of debate for years now. In reality, many park customers may not have been conscious that bike using has really been banned on all Essex County park pathways for over 30 years. Ever since this regulation was handed, it has been anticipated that individuals using bikes in Essex County have been restricted to experience on park streets solely — the identical streets that have been designed with out individuals using bikes in thoughts!
For years, Bike&Stroll Montclair, together with different stakeholders, has made many suggestions based mostly on tried-and-true road designs used universally to make our shared areas and parks safer locations for each park person. Sadly, little motion has been taken till all of a sudden these new bike lanes popped up in a single day.
Although the design is flawed, Essex County is correct on one level; options to make our streets safer are crucially wanted right this moment. The streets have by no means been extra congested with individuals driving vehicles, individuals strolling and other people biking as they’ve just lately. Nonetheless the options put in place have to be evidence-based, tried and examined options put forth by skilled planners and, extra importantly, with enter by those that really use the house.
In Montclair, outdoors of Brookdale Park, we’ve got an analogous scenario. Most of our streets have been designed for vehicles with broad flip angles, broad journey lanes that encourage dashing, lengthy crosswalks and absent any bike-specific infrastructure wherever on the town. These designs, amongst others, make our streets really feel uncomfortable and unsafe, and this isn’t an issue that can go away by itself or magically disappear. We have to discover options to gradual dashing vehicles down and make Montclair a safer place; we’ve got tried signage, we’ve got tried enforcement, we’ve got tried instructional campaigns. These strategies all have worth, however none of them have been profitable in making our residents really feel extra snug strolling out their entrance door and leaving their automobile behind.
We should reside in a city the place everybody from age 5 to 105 of all socioeconomic backgrounds and skills feels protected no matter how they select to journey. To get to this aim, it’s clear the one method we will really make our streets really feel safer is by redesigning our streets to be safer.
Thankfully we’ve got a plan able to go that can do exactly that. It’s known as the Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE Plan), and it’s crammed with evidence-based designs which were used all through the world with environment friendly ends in creating safer, engaging and extra snug streets. Sadly this plan has been unused for years, however now Montclair’s Planning Board just lately indicated that they may quickly name a public assembly open to feedback the place they may lastly vote on adopting it into the city’s grasp plan.
If Brookdale Park’s bike lanes present us something, they present us simply how vital it’s to have professionally engineered pointers. Our elected representatives want these evidence-based guides to make smart selections on methods to enhance the shared streets, or we are going to find yourself with “door zones” or worse throughout city.
Bike&Stroll Montclair is looking on everybody studying this who rides a motorbike, drives a automobile or walks in any Essex County park to contact their native representatives and allow them to know that all of us deserve locations the place we will really feel protected and revel in authorized and enjoyable actions that make life pleasant.
And should you reside in Montclair, we want you to talk up and help the SAFE Plan! That is the essential subsequent step to get us to a spot the place we decelerate speeds and create snug, pleasant streets, nevertheless it can’t be the final step. When the SAFE Plan is adopted into the city’s grasp plan we have to be certain it is not going to simply collect mud on a shelf, and we’ve got some concepts we might like to share with you! Be taught extra at BikeWalkMontclair.org/Complete-Streets-Montclair.
The writer is the president of Bike&Stroll Montclair.
Let’s maintain variety alive
We purchased properties in Montclair largely to hitch a various neighborhood. We love that Montclair has all completely different sorts of housing — single-family homes, multifamily homes, residences, condos, owner-occupied and rental homes — which permits individuals with a variety of sources and earnings ranges to all name Montclair house.
However our Montclair neighborhood is altering, and we wish to share why preventing for hire management in Montclair can assist keep the neighborhood everyone knows and love.
We imagine hire management is crucial to protecting Montclair inexpensive — it’s the appropriate factor to do, so that every one Montclair residents can keep of their properties. Moreover, affordability permits for extra variety.
As our city’s present grasp plan explains, “Certainly one of Montclair’s distinctive strengths is its variety, each financial and social, and there’s a hazard of shedding that variety resulting from rising housing prices.”
That is already taking place.
A number of Montclair information:
- Montclair is stuffed with renters, with 42 p.c of all households paying a landlord hire.
- Between 2000 and 2018, the proportion of Montclair renters who paid greater than 30 p.c of their earnings on hire elevated from eight p.c to 43 p.c.
- From 2000 to 2019, the variety of Black residents declined 26 p.c.
- From 2000 to 2018, the variety of upper-income households grew by 29 p.c and lower- and middle-income households declined by 14 p.c and 12 p.c respectively.
Montclair has responded to those traits. The city requires housing builders to put aside 20 p.c of recent models as inexpensive, however this has not been enforced throughout the board. Even when all of the required inexpensive models have been really constructed, that will nonetheless solely meet a fraction of the inexpensive housing wants in Montclair. Montclair can’t construct its method out of our inexpensive housing downside.
Starting in 2019, members of the Tenants Group of Montclair (TOOM) held month-to-month conferences, organized and advocated. Their work resulted within the Township Council passing a average rent-control ordinance this April. Nonetheless, a gaggle of multifamily property homeowners funded and shaped the Montclair Property Homeowners Affiliation (MPOA) and efficiently challenged the city in court docket.
Implementation of the hire management ordinance is on pause whereas the MPOA collects signatures to place the query to a vote on November’s poll.
What are you able to do to assist Montclair get its hire management ordinance applied and assist keep the variety of Montclair?
- Discuss to your neighbors and associates about why Montclair wants hire management.
- Go to montclairrentcontrol.org to be taught extra and signal as much as volunteer.
- E mail TenantsOrganizationMontclair@gmail.com and Fb @toomadvocacy to volunteer.
- Attend Montclair Township Council conferences and converse up for hire management.
- Vote for hire management if it seems on the poll in November.
Of 1,147 housing models authorized and/or constructed, 143 are inexpensive.
There isn’t any motive for householders to be threatened by hire management. Property tax will increase have occurred previously, with out hire management, and they’ll possible proceed, unrelated to hire management.
Lease management will profit all of us.
LOUISA HACKETT, LIZ PEREZ,
To our angels, from First Montclair Home
When Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote these phrases over 100 years in the past, he by no means would have been in a position to envision the coronavirus pandemic plunging America into the best disaster in its historical past. No nation has been spared, no nation stood idly by, actually not the city of Montclair. Though the virus struck with out warning or time for preparation, the residents at First Montclair Home have weathered this unparalleled problem due to the wonderful outreach and caring of a whole lot of faceless angels. Right now they wish to current a tremendous bouquet, as a result of miracle of miracles, they’re COVID-19-free. They wish to converse to you instantly: “We Salute You! And Our Love For You Runs Deep!”
Totally believing the written phrase is a misplaced artwork kind and the fact there usually are not sufficient “pleases” and “thank yous” on this world, we can not let one other second go by with out stepping throughout the edge of silence into your hearts and houses. All too usually phrases are left unsaid; not so on this occasion. Compliments gracefully spoken usually are not sufficient as a result of miracles occurred, when it appeared unattainable to bear the fact of quarantine, resulting from COVID-19; we, as tenants of First Montclair Home, wore masks and gloves always, and one to an elevator, within the concern that one in every of us could be unlucky and turn out to be sick.
With a lot love and caring round us we started to have a deep abiding religion and felt the audacity to imagine within the not-yet-seen. Our religion, via a lot love and caring, allowed us to not take dangers. You gave us religion, which is the stuff of “leap and the online will seem.”
We thank the next:
Janet Corridor, Looking for Seniors volunteer; Chef Abrams, Looking for Seniors volunteer; First Congregational Church, grocery donations; Katie York, Montclair Senior Companies; Officer Khan, Montclair Animal Shelter pet meals donation; Todd Smith, handmade face protect donation; Sofia Sheyten and Georgia Brooks, Kay Gruner, handmade face masks donation; Jean Gilio, Soma Stitching Volunteers, Maplewoood-South Orange; Katie Rotio, Katherine Elizabeth Occasions, Glen Ridge; Alyssa Kraemer, Sewingthecurveflat.com; Jacob Cramer, Letters of Love for the Aged, Cleveland; and the George Bullock College, playing cards.
The writer is the First Montclair Home public relations senior correspondent.