UNION, NJ – Union’s mayor and township officials were honored guests at the 2019 Complete Street Champion Awards event to accept one of the six awards given to municipalities/organizations/projects that have demonstrated excellence in complete streets implementation.

The award, hosted by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, was presented to the Township of Union for the recently completed Stuyvesant Avenue Streetscape Project.

“We are very proud of the level of sound and appropriately scaled planning and development that the town is undergoing, stated Mayor Michele Delisfort.  “In addition to the physical improvements, our Center has added economic growth from existing property owners and new investors.  I’m pleased to see that we have created an attractive and pedestrian friendly interactive environment for our residents, patrons, businesses and stakeholders.”

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The awards were presented during a luncheon at the 2019 New Jersey Complete Streets Summit on September 24 in New Brunswick.

The Stuyvesant Avenue Streetscape included improvements to the sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, ecological infrastructure, and branding along Stuyvesant Avenue in the area known as Union Center and were designed to improve pedestrian safety while supporting local businesses. The upgraded aesthetic of the corridor encourages visitors to patronize local businesses, while the infrastructure investments ensure that residents and visitors can navigate the main street safely and comfortably. Construction began in 2017 and was completed in the fall of 2018.

The 2019 Complete Streets Excellence Awards were given to six municipalities/organizations/projects that have demonstrated excellence in Complete Streets implementation. Other Complete Streets Excellence Award recipients were the New Brunswick Ciclovia, the City of Jersey City, the Middlesex Greenway, The Circuit Trails, and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge South Walkway Bicycle and Pedestrian Ramp. 

"We’re thrilled that the Township received a Complete Streets Excellence award," Economic Development Director Fatimah Raymond said. "Our Stuyvesant Avenue project helped create a safer, more user-friendly and vibrant downtown."

According to Smart Growth America, “Complete Streets” are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work.  There is no singular design prescription for Complete Streets; each one is unique and responds to the context of the community. 

New Jersey has 159 municipalities and eight counties with Complete Streets policies, which shows a state-wide commitment to improving safety for ALL who use the roadways. The 2019 award recipients have gone above and beyond in implementing Complete Streets programs that have affected real change in their communities. The summit was opened by NJDOT Assistant Commissioner Michael Russo, who highlighted how far New Jersey's Complete Streets efforts have come, and by Vinn White, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Murphy, who applauded the grassroots efforts that led to the new NJDOT Model Complete Streets Policy.

The 2019 Complete Street Champion Awards were given to three individuals/groups/teams that have demonstrated commitment to advancing Complete Streets in their communities. This year’s recipients were Cyndi Steiner (former Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition), the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.  The Safe Routes to School Champion Award was presented to the students of the Bound Brook and South Bound Brook Student Ambassadors for Community Health, Somerset County 4-H and Middle Earth.