TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Nicholas P. Sacco which would allow municipalities, counties, or other institutions of a public or semi-public nature which oversea roads to construct curb extensions without prior approval from the Commissioner of Transportations was unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.
“Curb extensions serve as valuable pedestrian safety options for municipalities trying to combat traffic fatalities,” said Senator Sacco, D-Hudson and Bergen, the Chair of the Senate Transportation panel. “They force cars to slow down and pay more attention to pedestrians crossing in front of them, and minimize the amount of time it takes to cross the street. This bill would make it easier for municipalities to move forward on these life-saving transportation projects immediately, rather than wait for an okay from the Transportation Commissioner.”
The bill, S-1122, would authorize counties, municipalities, or other public or semi-public bodies which maintain and administer roadways to build curb extensions or bulbouts on any street under their jurisdiction without the approval of the Commissioner of Transportation. The bill defines a curb extension or a bulbout as any horizontal extension of the sidewalk into the street which results in a narrower roadway section. The bill would also decrease the prohibited parking zone from the curb from 25 feet to 10 feet of the nearest crosswalk if a curb extension or bulbout has been created at the crosswalk. Curb extensions and bulbouts allow for better sight lines, and would give municipalities four additional parking spaces at each street corner where these pedestrian safety projects were built.
“The State Commissioner of Transportation plays an important role in the oversight of local roadway construction projects,” said Senator Sacco. “However, in these instances, pedestrian safety trumps the Commissioner’s due diligence in reviewing and approving transportation plans. Certain projects should be allowed to move forward as a matter of public safety, and shouldn’t have to be approved by the Commissioner.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.