‘Opening the possibilities of future connections’

Montgomery Township officials opened a new sidewalk and other pedestrian safety improvements connecting neighborhoods to the municipal center and library on Aug. 9. Photo courtesy of Montgomery Township

Orchard Road pedestrian safety improvements ready for public use

Montgomery Township has announced the creation of more walkable, bikeable connections to the Montgomery Municipal Center and the township’s Somerset County Library Branch.

The municipal center and library branch are located at 100 Community Dr.

Township Committee members and staff celebrated the completion of the main phase of the Orchard Road Improvement Project with a ribbon cutting at a new crosswalk on Aug. 9.

“Montgomery continues to build out safe linkages for our residents – here to our municipal center and state-of-the-art library,” Deputy Mayor Neena Singh said. “We are focused on pedestrian/bike safety and ease of access for our residents. My hope is that we will all enjoy the benefits of a more walkable community.”

The Montgomery Township Committee worked to set aside capital improvement funds and secured outside grants for pedestrian safety improvements.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) awarded Montgomery about $380,000, which is covering nearly 80% of the project costs.

Participating in the ribbon cutting were Singh, Committeepersons Vince Barragan and Patricia Todd, and township staff, including Township Engineer Mark Herrmann, and other key members of the engineering department and administration.

“It is important to encourage healthy habits and multimodal access to public facilities,” Herrmann said. “Building this pedestrian route and establishing initial bicycle accommodations will help us meet these goals.”

“These are some of the building blocks needed to open the possibilities of future connections to the public schools, Skillman Park, residential neighborhoods, surrounding businesses, and other local attractions.”

The sidewalk starts at Community Drive and connects to the sidewalk on Bridgepoint Road. Upon completion of the NJDOT work, it will connect 175 households within neighborhoods to the east, officials said.

The new sidewalk also has a crosswalk to Autumn Lane and extends to the bus stop on Route 206 just south of Orchard Road.

A resident who walked by the ribbon cutting said, “The new walkway and sidewalk on Orchard Road looks really nice. Adults and kids can go to the municipal building and library safely, instead of walking on the road. Great job.”

The roadway section of Orchard Road from Route 206 past the municipal center up to 88 Orchard has also been repaired and resurfaced. Striping has been painted to add bicycle lane segments.

The Montgomery Engineering Department is actively working with NJDOT to modify the Route 206 and Orchard Road traffic signal and to add needed ramps, crosswalks, and other pedestrian provisions in order to be able to open the final leg of the project – a safe Route 206 crossing point for those on bike or foot.