This report includes a number of recommendations to improve walkability along the North Beverwyck Road business district in the Lake Hiawatha neighborhood of the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey. The most significant obstacles to walkability in the study area are the long distances between crosswalks, narrow sidewalks, and a lack of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. Unfortunately, the long distances between crosswalks result in pedestrians crossing wide vehicular travel lanes at unsafe locations. This report recommends the installation of temporary mid-block crosswalks, sidewalk extensions and/or parklets to provide additional locations for a safe crossing, slow vehicle speeds, and increase safety. The long-term recommendation is to install permanent curb extensions and a center median in the road at key locations. The report also recommends adding high-visibility crosswalks, updated roadway signage, overall enhancement and brand identity of the downtown area, and evaluation of the potential for the installation of green infrastructure to assist with both stormwater management and traffic calming.
The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills submitted an application to the NJTPA’s competitive Complete Streets Technical Assistance grant program in 2018. The township was one of nine communities selected out of 17 applications to receive up to $10,000 in technical assistance. Parsippany-Troy Hills requested a Walkable Community Workshop (WCW) to explore the benefits of complete streets and develop strategies for making streets safer for the most vulnerable users — pedestrians and cyclists.
The half-day workshop was held on April 9, 2019. Staff from the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey led the workshop with support from Sustainable Jersey (SJ) and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA). It was conducted in two parts: an hour-long classroom-style training at the Lake Hiawatha Public Library, and an on-site walking audit along North Beverwyck Road between Chesapeake Avenue and Claudine Terrace.
North Beverwyck Road is located in the Lake Hiawatha neighborhood of the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills. Lake Hiawatha is one of 11 neighborhoods in the township and is located in the northeastern portion of the municipality. The character of North Beverwyck Road is mostly commercial throughout the study area, with some apartment homes interspersed throughout. The road provides the main north-south connection in the Lake Hiawatha neighborhood. The corridor is described by municipal officials as the “only true downtown” in the municipality but they also note that the corridor’s lack of walkability holds the area back from its full commercial potential.
The lessons learned during the half-day workshop can be applied to other municipal-owned roadways in Parsippany-Troy Hills. The field audit form can be found in this report’s appendices and can be repurposed for walk audits in 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. Additional Street Smart NJ information and a list of potential funding resources are also provided in the appendices of this report.
Read full report: Parsippany-Troy Hills: North Beverwyck Road Walkable Community Workshop (2019)