Sustainability in the Suburbs

Cherry Hill adopts a Complete Streets policy

Last monday at its bimonthly township council meeting, Cherry Hill did something pretty awesome. The council voted to take a step toward 21st century planning that puts it at the forefront of a national trend. They adopted a Complete Streets policy, which basically means rethinking roadways as not only streets for cars, but also pedestrians and bicycles. As Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn put it, “Complete Streets is a holistic approach to promoting joint use of our roadways by all users, including pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists, seniors, children, and those with limited mobility,”

This is a huge step for the suburbs. South Jersey has basically been dominated by car-dependent sprawl more than anything else over the past fifty years, a sprawl I’m very familiar with having spent my entire childhood living in it. To see the township, which covers just over 24 square miles very close to the region’s core, adopt a complete streets policy is a huge step toward turning suburban roads into more than just speedways for cars.

The full report can be found on Sustainable Cherry Hill’s website.

Example of a complete street that accommodates cars, bikers, and pedestrians. Could this be the future of the busy, wide roads of Cherry Hill like Route 70?


Camden County releases a long-range sustainability plan

Also within the past week was Camden County’s release of its 5-year sustainability plan, its first ever plan of this type. What’s that mean exactly? As the official report puts it, “Having a sound sustainability program provides a road map to conserving resources, promoting innovation and saving money. In addition, as the possibility of having to deal with events like Superstorm Sandy on a more regular basis seems likely, it’s critical to include resiliency and sustainability into all of our projects and planning.”

Basically this means formalizing a county-wide plan for things like water conservation, waste recycling, environmentally-friendly building design, alternative transportation, and energy efficiency. I look at all this as doing more with less, not wasting natural resources when you don’t have to, and giving county residents ways to engage in environmentally-friendly practices. Examples of initiatives already undertaken in the county include a bike sharing program that Collingswood started up and single-stream recycling paying dividends in Gloucester Township.

Overall it’s great to see the county committing to a sustainable future. People are obviously moving in this direction themselves, and it’s nice to see Camden County formally adopt these practices for itself. If you’re a sustainability nerd and environmentalist like I am, you can read the entire report here. Otherwise, you can find practical information about the plan on county’s new sustainability website,


3 thoughts on “Sustainability in the Suburbs

  1. Pingback: The New Whole Foods in Cherry Hill has a bike rack, but will anyone use it? | South Jerseyist

  2. Pingback: Watching the suburbs become more unwalkable before your very eyes | South Jerseyist

  3. Pingback: Watching the suburbs become more unwalkable before your very eyes | South Jerseyist

Let me know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s