CAMDEN, NJ — Much was up for the debate during the Parkside Business & Community in Partnership’s (PBCIP) meeting Wednesday night regarding changes to Pine Street and Baird Boulevard. 

What wasn’t was who needs to have first say.

Cooper’s Ferry Partnership Project Manager Kathy Cullen and representatives from consulting group, WSP started the meeting by discussing a conceptual development study with four alternatives seeking to improve the highly-trafficked corridor. 

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“This being the first time this is being presented, this is not a good sample,” said resident Alysha Jefferson Riley during the meeting at the Camden County Historical Society. 

Maurice McGruder, another resident, also agreed, saying that “especially if parking may change on the street,” that project managers should take the survey to residents directly on the impacted blocks before anyone else. 

Cooper’s Ferry Partnership Project Manager Kathy Cullen said they felt the meeting was an appropriate place to start presenting the alternatives and that project organizers plan to include the feedback of those living in that area as well. 

She acknowledged the resident's sentiments and said, “there is much more outreach to do.”

How it may look

Jennifer Steen, Lead Civil Engineer, and Carlos Bastida, Senior Technical Analyst (both of WSP) discussed the main problems impacting the area: a deteriorating street scape, unsafe crosswalks, substandard and non-ADA compliant pedestrian ramps. 

In their presentation project managers also said that, “current on-street parking restricts maneuverability of vehicles throughout the corridor.”

Currently, four alternatives have been proposed for the corridor that may be altered further*:

Alternative 1 — Pine Street Extension: Connect Pine Street to Baird Boulevard with a new signalized intersection. The new connection would include two 12 foot lanes with two 5-foot bike lanes with sidewalk on both sides. 

Alternative 2a — Signal Optimization and Westbound Parking: Optimize signal timing along Baird Boulevard., Kaighn Avenue, and Haddon Avenue. Parking won’t be permitted in the westbound direction only. 

Alternative 2b — Signal Optimization and Eastbound Parking: Optimize signal timing along Baird Boulevard, Kaighn Avenue, and Haddon Avenue. Parking would be permitted in the eastbound direction only.

Alternative 3 — Magnolia Street Realignment: Realign Magnolia Street and perpendicular to Pine Street. Magnolia Street would include two 12-foot lanes with two 5-foot bike lanes with sidewalk on both sides. 

All alternatives include new pavement and signal/ADA ramp upgrades at the intersection of Baird and Park Boulevards

The project hopes to retool safety and security for all modes of transportation, upgrade sidewalk conditions and improve traffic on the street.

Bastida said in response to a resident’s question that the crash figures for the span of blocks was high relative to state numbers. 

That part of the city has had:

  • 45 reported crashes in 2017 (5 involved pedestrians, no cyclists were involved in the accidents)
  • 33 crashes in 2016 (1 involved a pedestrian, 5 involved cyclists) 
  • 32 crashes in 2015 (4 involved pedestrians, 2 involved cyclists)

Funding and future meetings

Cullen clarified at what stage the project is funding-wise.

“Right now we have funding for the project now, which is the planning phase,” she said, noting that funding for design and construction would need to be secured from the state. “We could really be three years or four years away [from the build-out] but it would depend on when we acquire that money.”

A second stakeholder meeting is scheduled to take place in April.

In May, the alternatives will be fully-developed and a “Local Officials Briefing” will be held. A month later, a final alternative will be selected with the public’s help.

The exact dates for the gatherings are TBA.

Project organizers hope — following additional meetings with Camden community members and officials — to finalize the plan this summer. 

A survey for residents to provide input is available online in English and Spanish

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