Howard Blvd. Bike Path Among Possible Roxbury Grant Applications

Not much room for bicycles on Howard Boulevard
Looking west at Mt. Arlington station
A part of Main Street, Succasunna, yet to be historically "streetscaped"

ROXBURY, N.J. - Anyone who wants to experience fear might consider riding a bicycle up Howard Boulevard. With no shoulder and no sidewalk, the road has a way of bringing 50 mph cars very close to the left legs of cyclists.

A proposal to fix that problem is one of three projects to be discussed this week by the Roxbury Mayor and Council. Township Manager Christopher Raths wants the township to compete for a piece of federal transportation money being doled out for projects such as bike paths, and such a path along Howard Boulevard might fit the criteria.

The "Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)" grant money is being funneled through the state Department of Transportation (DOT). Municipalities are competing for $150,000 to $1 million in grants. 

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One of the potential Roxbury projects is the creation of a paved, 8-foot-wide "multi-use trail" along Howard Boulevard between N.J. Transit's Mount Arlington Station and the Commerce Boulevard/Route 46 intersection, Raths said.

However, he said "there are some issues" with this idea that make it a long shot: Because it likely will involve moving utility poles and guiderail work, the project might exceed the $1 million cost cap, Raths said. 

Another possible project would be the construction of sidewalks between the new Landing Park softball complex in Landing and the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad station now being refurbished by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. Building the sidewalks, and making them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, would cost $150,000 to $250,000, Raths said. 

A third idea involves adding to the "streetscape" improvements made recently to Main Street in Succasunna. "This would include extending new sidewalk all the way east to Black River Park, with bike lanes down all of Main Street," Raths said. "That would be approximately $950,000." 

A discussion of the three proposals is on the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting of the Mayor and Council. Raths said he doesn't have a favorite.

"I'm just presenting them," he said. "They'll make a decision. 

The TAP grant program considers as eligible projects that designate and build on-road and off-road trails for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized forms of transportation. Also eligible for consideration are historic preservation projects, community improvement activities, streetscaping and corridor landscaping, environmental mitigation for stormwater management, water pollution control or  reducing "vehicle-caused wildlife mortality" or to restore or maintain trail connectivity. 

Literature about TAP says the grant program is designed to support projects that "strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation's intermodal system."

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