As a reminder, Cross County Connection staff is continuing to work remotely during the COVID-19 shutdown. If you need assistance, you can contact us via voicemail at (856)-596-8228 or email at

We have created information guides to keep the traveling public up to date 
on the status of transportation services and bike shops in the region. 
Please visit Cross County Connection’s Transit Guide and Bike Shop Guide
Information in these guides is subject to change as events progress.  
Cross County Connection’s COVID-19 Newsletter Series 
The Impact of Complete Streets on Economic Recovery

This summer, you may have noticed more outdoor seating and pedestrian space on your local streets to allow for social distancing. This inviting environment may have convinced you to get out of the house and take a walk or visit your local downtown. In the planning and street design profession, these types of streets are known as Complete Streets and they have been around long before the pandemic. Cross County Connection has been helping communities explore Complete Streets for almost a decade!

When limiting the focus of transportation to mobility, Complete Streets are designed to be comfortable for all road users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. But Complete Streets can be designed to be much more than that. The idea of what makes a street “complete” can also lead to rethinking what sorts of activities we want to see there. Can there be space allocated to make a street a safe place to gather, eat, exercise or conduct business? During the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen many examples demonstrating that all of this is possible.

A shift toward more Complete Streets can have a lasting impact on a community. With more people discovering the benefit of Complete Streets, and enjoying them in more ways than they did before, will the changes we see on our roadways be here to stay? If they have been used to keep businesses afloat during a difficult time, can they still have a positive economic impact when things are back to being somewhat normal?

The research prior to the pandemic would say yes, finding that Complete Streets improvements increase foot traffic in downtowns and spur economic development on a larger scale. A Rutgers Voorhees Transportation Center study found that infrastructure supporting walking and biking added $497 million to the New Jersey economy in 2011. A New York City Department of Transportation study showed streets redesigned to be more pedestrian friendly and to accommodate more public uses, saw a boost in sales and tax revenues. The pandemic is the latest evidence to show that retrofitting roadways for all users and more activities can improve economic vitality.

Municipalities across New Jersey are realizing the importance of a street with more pedestrian activity to their economic recovery. Asbury Park’s ReOpen Asbury Park Business and Economic Recovery Strategy highlights street closures and pedestrian activity as a centerpiece of their plan. One of the goals of this plan is to provide opportunities for residents to safely enjoy their neighborhoods. The city has accomplished this by quickly implementing an open streets pilot program, enabling the use of roadways for seating and retail shopping as well as recreation. After the pilot program is launched, the city will look to measure the success based on the impacts on local businesses and the community.
Some municipalities in South Jersey are also implementing Complete Streets strategies to increase opportunities for businesses. In June, Evesham Township passed a resolution that allowed for a relaxed permitting process for outdoor dining this summer. Using a simplified outdoor dining permit application, local businesses were able to set up seating areas quickly and efficiently. Glassboro has closed a portion of Rowan Boulevard to expand outdoor dining opportunities. The Borough has also used the closure as an opportunity to hold an outdoor festival on the street!

With fall quickly approaching, some municipalities are looking ahead to the colder months. Since many local businesses would like to continue to offer outdoor dining options, the city of Hoboken released guidance on winter outdoor dining and recreation. The guidance includes information on permit extensions, heating infrastructure that would require permits from the fire department and information on the need for snow removal plans. Sharing this information with businesses now can help them prepare and keep Complete Streets opportunities open through the winter.

South Jersey municipalities can start to develop guidance similar to Hoboken’s to help local businesses continue outdoor activities into the colder months and keep people safe. A good starting point for general guidance on how to add amenities such as parklets and spaces for more people-centric activity is NJDOT’s Complete Streets Design Guide.

Now that New Jersey residents, visitors and businesses have had the chance to experience more Complete Streets in downtowns throughout the state, they may never want to go back! Businesses, residents and local government officials alike are all seeing positive changes, along with an economic boost, from Complete Streets strategies. Going forward, the positive changes we see now may be here to stay. Cross County Connection is available to assist local governments in crafting Complete Streets policies and projects. Contact Patrick Farley, Program Director, by email for more information.

Ronda R. Urkowitz P.P., AICP
Executive Director
(856) 596-8228

Patrick C. Farley, AICP, PP
Program Director
(856) 596-8228 

Cross County Connection's Mission: To improve the quality of
life in southern New Jersey through transportation solutions.
About Us: Cross County Connection, a nonprofit organization, partners with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), NJ TRANSIT, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO), member organizations and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, to provide solutions to complex transportation problems for counties, municipalities and employers in the southern New Jersey region encompassing Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. 
This Cross County Connection Transportation Management Association publication is funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. The U.S. Government and NJTPA assume no liability for the contents.