This report includes a number of recommendations to promote walking in the Bernards Avenue section of Bernardsville. The most significant obstacle to walkability in the study area are the lack of sidewalks and connectivity along the majority of the corridor. Unfortunately, the lack of sidewalks along the corridor forces pedestrians to walk in the street where they compete for space with large commercial trucks serving a nearby construction company and quarry. To address these issues, this report calls for short-term installation of temporary on-street sidewalks to establish a safe and dedicated walking space. Installation of these temporary on-street sidewalks will also serve to narrow the space usable to vehicles, resulting in slower speeds. The long-term recommendation is to install curbs and sidewalks along the corridor. Other recommendations listed in the report include the addition of high-visibility crosswalks, stop-bars, updated road signage, and bicycle accommodations, as well as careful consideration of the installation of green infrastructure to assist with both stormwater management and traffic calming.

The Borough of Bernardsville submitted an application to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA)’s Complete Streets Technical Assistance (CSTA) Program in and was one of nine communities selected to receive up to $10,000 in technical assistance. Bernardsville officials requested a Walkable Community Workshop (WCW) to explore how they could make the community safer and more attractive to people walking and biking.

Municipal employees and borough stakeholders participated in a half-day workshop on December 6, 2018 to learn the benefits of complete streets and proven strategies for making streets safer for the most vulnerable users – pedestrians and bicyclists. The workshop was led by staff from the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and supported by staff from Sustainable Jersey (SJ) and the NJTPA.

The workshop was conducted in two parts, an hour-long classroom-style training at Sacred Heart Chapel, and an on-site walking audit along three neighborhood streets: Bernards Avenue, West Street, and Prospect Street (Figure 1). The aforementioned streets link Kiwanis Park and a residential neighborhood to Mt. Airy Road (County Route 525), which in turn provides a connection to downtown Bernardsville, the NJ TRANSIT train station, and other parts of the municipality. Due to the presence of nearby railroad tracks and a brook, Mt. Airy Road is the only connection across town.

The lessons learned during the half-day workshop can be applied to other municipal-owned roads in Bernardsville. The field audit form can be found in this report’s appendices and can be repurposed for walk audits of other corridors within the borough. Another resource the NJTPA offers communities is Street Smart NJ, a pedestrian safety campaign that works to raise awareness of New Jersey’s pedestrian-related laws and change the behaviors that contribute to pedestrian-vehicle crashes. StreetSmart NJ campaign information, along with a list of potential funding resources, can also be found in the appendices.

Read full report: Bernardsville: Bernards Avenue Walkable Community Workshop (2019)