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Gill Measure to Create Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Council Advances

Senator Nia Gill at the first meeting of the Senate Task Force on Health Insurance Exchange Implementation

Part of Bill Package to Help Seniors ‘Age in Place’

 TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill to create a Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Advisory Council to examine issues related to pedestrian and bicycle safety and advise the governor, Legislature and state Department of Transportation on solutions that will make New Jersey communities safer and more pedestrian and bike-friendly was approved today by the Senate Transportation Committee.

“Communities that allow people to live healthy and active lifestyles are so important to the quality of life of those living in our state, and particularly for older residents who are looking to remain in their homes as they age,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “That means making sure that our towns and cities are pedestrian friendly and that walking and biking are viable options for getting around, either for exercise or as a practical means of transportation.”

The bill (S2521) would create an 18-member council in, but not of, the Department of Transportation, to review, analyze and report on a number of issues related to pedestrian and bicycle safety, including the type of motor vehicle violations that are contributing factors in pedestrian and bicycle accidents. Among other issues, the council would also review the availability and effectiveness of driver education and training programs to educate and inform the public. The council would include representatives from transportation organizations across the state, state agencies, including the DOT, Motor Vehicle Commission and Department of Health, members of the public and the Legislature. Two appointments to the Council would represent senior citizen issues.

 The legislation is part of a bill package sponsored by Senator Gill to make it easier for senior citizens to age in place in their communities and stem from a series of meetings she held with seniors in her legislative district. Two other bills were approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee on June 8. The “Municipal Volunteer Property Tax Reduction Act (S2524) would allow municipalities to create  a program permitting residents age 60 or older to perform volunteer services for the municipality in which they live in return for property tax vouchers. The second bill (S2523) would allow towns, cities and parking authorities to create a parking program to offer reduced cost and designated parking to seniors. Under a Senior Citizen Priority Parking Program authorized by a municipality or parking authority, seniors could receive reduced-rate parking permits and program-restricted parking spaces.

 “We should encourage our residents who wish to stay in their communities to ‘age in place,’ and that means creating policies that are conducive to living a healthy life,” said Senator Gill. “The bills we are advancing to create volunteer opportunities for seniors, to reduce property tax costs, and to make our communities safer and more livable are a major step forward in that effort.”