“Collingswood Streets” Connects Academics to Advocacy

Collings.JPGThe corner of Collings and Haddon Avenues, two streets that will be the focus of the Collingswood bike lane study. Photo: Ryan Collerd/New York Times.

Stella Bonaparte is a bicycle and pedestrian advocate majoring in urban studies at Rutgers’ Camden campus. Earlier this month, she started a new Livable Streets group for the neighboring town of Collingswood, NJ. Stella says that Collingswood Streets will help connect and mobilize "people who want to help the town
become safer and more inviting for cyclists and pedestrians as equal
users of the roads."

Stella already has an ambitious slate of projects and campaigns on the group’s radar. First up, she’s going to examine the feasibility of bike lanes for two Collingswood avenues this summer, part of an independent study project at Rutgers. Then in the fall she’ll conduct a second study to lay the ground for a "Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Plan." She explains:

This is where the input of the community becomes crucial. This second
independent study will center around specific suggestions for areas
most urgently in need of improvement. For example, a dangerous
crosswalk. Nonexistent or inadequate bike racks.

Stella will be collecting data through an online and paper survey available to everyone who lives in Collingswood and uses its streets. The group’s other projects include a Safe Routes to Schools campaign, with the ultimate goal being the implementation of a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for the Borough of Collingswood.

Stella’s group is a prime example of the stronger connections we can forge between academic and advocacy work when it comes to transportation planning. If you’re doing an independent study like Stella, consider using the Livable Streets Community as a way to share your findings and get feedback.

In other recent news, Maura McCormick has more information on ped/bike access to grocery stores in Dayton, OH; the Inwood & Washington Heights Livable Streets group is discussing how to connect the George Washington Bridge and Greenway bike trails; and Tila Duhaime has written an eye-opening post about the importance of physically separated bike lanes for the visually impaired.