New Burlington County trail project will make Route 130 pedestrian friendly
🔵Burlington County's trail project to boost pedestrian and bicycle safety
🔵The project will connect three county parks
🔵Route 130 is considered one of NJ's most dangerous roads for pedestrians
Burlington County is set to start a new regional trail project in 2024 that will connect three county parks while boosting pedestrian and bicycle safety on Route 130, which has been named New Jersey’s most dangerous road for pedestrians multiple times by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
What is the Route 130 Project?
The proposed Route 130 Crossing project will extend the Rancocas Creek Greenway Trail approximately two miles from Pennington Park in Delanco across Route 130 to Willingboro Lakes Park in Willingboro and Rainbow Meadow Park in Delran.
Construction will link all three parks with accessible paths, and create a safe pedestrian/bicycle crossing across Route 130, plus it will make improvements to the Route 130 Bridge across Rancocas Creek to better accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.
The Delaware Valley Regional Commission approved shifting $700,000 in federal Coronavirus Response and Relief aid to the project for concept development planning, said Matt Johnson, Burlington County Parks and Trail Development Coordinator.
This is part of the Rancocas Creek Greenway Trail Project, a large regional trail to connect 30 miles from where the creek dumps into the Delaware River back to the Burlington County border with Ocean County, Johnson added.
But there are obstacles. One of the biggest is how to get over and around Route 130. The $700,000 in aid will allow the county to study exactly how and where they have a safe and convenient crossing of Route 130 that will connect the three parks.
This project will hopefully dramatically improve safety on Route 130, which has been deemed New Jersey’s most dangerous road for pedestrians.
No matter what the county has done in the past from looking at traffic patterns or changing lighting sequences on Route 130, there continue to be multiple pedestrian fatalities, said Burlington County Commissioner, Tom Pullion.
“I, myself have traveled that Route 130 corridor at night, and you have people walking on the side of that highway all dressed in black or dark clothing, and you don’t see them,” Pullion said.
Besides this project, the county also needs to do a much better job of educating pedestrians, especially those walking these major thruways at night, as to what they should do to enhance their visibility, Pullion added.
“This is the kind of project where the County Commissioner said, ‘Look, enough is enough.’ We need to do something where we’re protecting, particularly our most vulnerable users, and try and identify a way to get them safely across Route 130,” Johnson said.
It may take years but this will hopefully be a fantastic project that will be heavily used and act as a springboard for the county’s regional trail efforts, moving forward, he added.
“We’ve focused and done a great job of making these parks accessible to our residents and this is just a continuation of that effort. I’m extremely excited about it and I’m extremely excited that we may have once and for all a definite solution to these fatalities and safety on this highway,” Pullion said.
Enhancing Burlington County parks and trails
Burlington County has already received and invested more than $19.3 million in grants toward other rail projects.
Willingboro Lakes, for example, has three miles of interior trails, plus fishing piers, an accessible playground, and a small group pavilion.
Rainbow Meadow Park currently specializes in passive outdoor recreation and has a one-mile trail through the property to the edge of Rancocas Creek.
Another five miles have also been built from the Crystal Lake Park project that connects to the Roebling Complex in Florence Township.
“All of these projects are improving people’s ability to access nature on a daily basis and to do it safely. All of these are being done off-road, 10-foot wide trails so that whether you’re 8 or 80, it’s safe, it’s convenient, it’s accessible, and we’re just really excited to be part of this effort, along with the Commissioner’s support,” Johnson said.
The county has also spent millions of dollars to enhance the WiFi network in the parks. This is for individuals who don’t have access to the internet.
Children who are trying to do homework, but don’t have internet access, can come to a Burlington County park, hopefully supervised, and do their work, Pullion said.
What he would also like to have at the parks are individual workout stations so people can do chin-ups, crunches, or whatever else they want to do, he added.
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