TRANSFORMATIVE CLIMATE COMMUNITIES
Hudson County Aims for Safer, More Sustainable Streets
Emmanuelle Morgen, President / Hudson County Complete Streets
Hudson County Complete Streets is a 501(c)3 organization focused on promoting safer and more sustainable streets in Hudson County, New Jersey. Considering that more than 50% of trips taken in the U.S. were less than three miles in 2021, and 28% were less than one mile, walkable, bikeable streets and access to transit play a major role in mitigating the climate crisis. Safe streets encourage active transportation to local destinations and transit stations and stops, which in turn help reduce greenhouse gas-emitting pollutants. These solutions, which are a departure from auto-oriented streets, are key strategies in addressing historical injustices experienced by overburdened and environmental justice communities, including those within Hudson County.
Hudson County is the most densely populated county in New Jersey, and though 75% of trips are made within the county, much of the area’s mass transit is focused on travel to and from New York City. In 2020, Jersey City responded to local demand for more travel options by introducing Via, a public rideshare system; however, residents and workers in other cities and towns within the county still face inter-county mobility challenges.
First and last-mile solutions are critical for allowing people to travel safely and efficiently to a transit station or stop. Safe streets solutions such as pedestrian-focused infrastructure, multi-use cycle lanes, and other traffic-calming measures are proven to reduce crashes and pollution while increasing accessibility. Prioritizing pedestrians and other vulnerable road users (VRUs) has a profoundly positive effect on public health and the local economy.
Our organization advocates for transportation projects that adhere to the standards set by Hudson County’s Complete Streets Resolution. “Complete Streets” refers to streets designed for all users, regardless of age, race, income, ability, background, or travel mode. Complete Streets prioritize pedestrians and other vulnerable travelers, such as people on bicycles, scooters, and other personal mobility devices. To this end, Hudson County Complete Streets (HCCS) works closely with local elected officials, transportation planners, and community organizers to revitalize public streets, making them more walkable and bikeable. We campaign for Vision Zero and Complete Streets redesigns, expanded bike-share systems, and greenway connectivity. HCCS member groups, such as Bike JC, Bike Hoboken, and Bike North Bergen, organize and lead free community bike rides, educational presentations, and bike/walk audits with elected representatives and transportation planners.
With the support of the NJ Climate Change Resource Center, Hudson County Complete Streets has been able to further our educational and advocacy efforts. Between late Spring and early Summer of 2023, we organized, led, and contributed to:
- community meetings with elected representatives and transportation planners,
- a pre-election candidate forum with a full roster of panelists,
- multiple community bike rides per month,
- “learn-to-ride” bike events,
- presentations in both secondary school and university settings,
- and new initiatives, such as the JC Bike Bus, an incredible tool for advocacy.
As we look ahead to the next few months, we plan to continue these activities and add:
- walk and bike neighborhood audits with elected representatives and transportation officials,
- commissioned artwork for JC Bike Bus educational materials,
op-ed writings for various publications.
We also intend to consider additional educational and advocacy opportunities and efforts, such as multimedia work and direct action. To stay updated on these activities and more, please see our website.