The League of American Bicyclists announced the 2010 Bicycle Friendly States rankings, based on a 95-item questionnaire that evaluates a state’s commitment to bicycling and covers six key areas: legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education and encouragement, evaluation and planning, and enforcement.
New Jersey advanced to 8th place among the states and won Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly State designation. New Jersey was one of only three states that received a Bicycle Friendly Award, with Oregon receiving a Silver designation and Delaware, a Bronze.
For some, Bike to Work Week meant Bike to School Week. Sonya Legg decided it was time to teach her 10-year old daughter, Amelia, how to ride on the road.
Here’s her inspirational story: “We live in West Windsor and I work on the Princeton Forrestal Campus and my daughter is at Millstone River School. I try to bike to work rather intermittently, so I thought I would use bike-to-work week as the motivation to get started again this year after a long winter break. My daughter has been getting much more confident with her biking, so I thought she was ready to try going on roads, and not just around WW Community Park. She thought it would be fun to bike with me, since her school is on my way to work. So we tried the route a few times at weekends, found out where the bike racks are at the adjacent middle school (thanks to WWBPA people at the WW farmers’ market), checked that her teacher was ok with her bringing her helmet to class, and decided we’d go for it…She’s really enjoying the ride (I’m the one who gets worried by all the cars turning left without noticing us etc.) and would like to continue biking to school a few days a week until school ends in June. With her to keep motivating me, I should be able to keep this up beyond bike-to-work week! I like the idea of biking with her regularly so that she learns road rules while under my supervision. Then when she’s older she’ll be able to use those skills to have an independent means of transport.”
Amelia’s 1.5-mile route takes her across Cranbury Road and up Millstone Road to Plainsboro. She did it three times last week (skipped the days when she had to bring her viola to school), for 9 miles roundtrip, and mom rode 24 miles to work roundtrip.
Sonya notes a few things she’s teaching her daughter: Assume cars will not stop for you at yield signs; assume parked car doors will open in front of you; assume cars will pull in front of you to turn right. Sound familiar?
A few more kids riding to school: Emily Tufford to Pond Road Middle School in Robbinsville (12 miles so far this month) and WWBPA student advisor Kim Meersma to WW-P High School South (3 miles). Can we add anyone else to the list?
Other mileage totals for Week 3 of National Bike Month: Ben Tufford’s 120 miles, Bill Garrett’s 73 miles, Van Cotter’s 29 miles, Silvia Ascarelli’s 17 miles and Juan Cardenas’ 12 miles. That’s 258.5 miles (and many haven’t reported miles yet), bringing the total to 1,189.9 commuting and errand-running miles, plus lots more “fun” miles.
Let’s Move is a new federal initiative, promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama, to combat childhood obesity by promoting healthy foods and increased physical activity. Walking and bicycling to and from school or around the neighborhood, along sidewalks and marked paths, are fun and easy ways to start.
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake,” said Mrs. Obama. “This isn’t the kind of problem that can be solved overnight, but with everyone working together, it can be solved. So, let’s move.”
According to a May 11, 2010 White House press release, federal agencies are acting to translate recommendations to actions. The Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency will promote walking and biking to school. Want some local help doing that? Turn to the WWBPA!
Children and adolescents should get 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity daily.
Moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (such as running, hopping, skipping, jump- ing rope, swimming, dancing, and bicycling) should comprise most of the 60 or more minutes a day Vigorous-intensity physical activity should be included at least 3 days a week.
Muscle-strengthening physical activity (such as playing on playground equipment, climbing trees, playing tug-of-war, lifting weights, or working with resistance bands) should be included at least 3 days of the week.
Bone-strengthening physical activity (such as running, jumping rope, basketball, tennis, and hop- scotch) should be included at least 3 days of the week.
Young people should be encouraged to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety. For more information, see Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Apologies for being so late with the Week 2 mileage report. But because I am so late, I can include a quick mention of Arnold Kelly, a West Windsor resident who has been bike-commuting since the 1973 energy crisis. How’s that for impressive?
Back then, New Jersey Transit knew they didn’t allow bikes but there was no policy about fold-up bikes. So he got one of those, took it on the train to Linden and rode the rest of the way to work. He says he never got booted off, even when trains were packed. He definitely has earned his more civilized commute to Princeton. Arnold, join our National Bike Month mileage tally! And thanks for stopping by at the Bikers Breakfast at the station!
We’ve got another 611.4 miles to add, which puts us at 931.4 miles halfway through National Bike Month. Add some “for fun” miles from three people (shall we include them?) and we’re at 1,014.5 miles.
Ben Tufford rode 270 miles in nine days over the first two weeks. “I commute by bike through West Windsor and enjoy it. I’ve noticed new striping and signage along my commute. Thanks for all of your efforts.” We like the new bike lanes too!
Bill Garrett reports seeing a fox one morning as he rode through Mercer County Park, part of his 98-mile week. Two other big bikers, Deniz and Jessica Dagci, rode 53.4 miles and 45 miles, respectively.
Bruce Ellsworth got in one day of commuting for 22 miles and it was a cold day. He reports: “It was on Wednesday, and the weather was dicey. Surprisingly, it was colder on the ride home in the evening than in the morning (around 48 degrees). I had to wear my rain gear and my cold weather gloves, and I rode my hybrid to spare the road bike. A driver surprised me by NOT passing me and making a right-hand turn right in front of me. Instead, they slowed down and waited until I passed their turn. I was pleasantly surprised, and it made me smile on that cold day.” Thumbs up for that driver!
Another former WWBPA trustee (and now advisor), Ken Carlson, is enjoying the commuting life in the Boston area. He reports 26 miles in Week 1 and 33 in Week 2. And get this: “Just hit 98% this week of percent commutes to work by bike since January 1. Only missed two so far this year. Starting to ramp up my mileage in preparation for the Anchor House Ride. Broke 1000 miles in overall biking for the year and really looking forward to riding with all of my WestWwindsor and local NJ area buds during Anchor House week. Cheers!” Cheers to you, Ken. Guess Boston didn’t get the snow we did! (Or they are really good at clearing the roads.)
WWBPA trustee Chris Scherer logged 45 miles.
And then there are those of us with short rides to the train station. Juan Cardenas and Silvia Ascarelli (one who also has some “for fun” miles) each rode nine commuter miles.
Send in your latest reports. Next week, I’ll tell you about a couple of 10-year olds who ride to school. Anyone else know kids who ride to school?
Until then, keep pedaling and enjoy National Bike Month!
National Bike to Work Week was the right time to celebrate the installation of new bicycle racks and lockers at the Princeton Junction train station. From left, West Windsor Councilwoman Linda Geevers, Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh and West Windsor Parking Authority board member Alison Miller cut the ceremonial ribbon while Dave Brown of the West Windsor Public Works Department, Cheryl Kastrenakes from Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, Mike Viscardi from New Jersey Transit and Silvia Ascarelli of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance look on.
This project, which created more than 40 additional bike spots, could not have been done without the cooperation of many groups. It was jointly funded by the WWBPA, GMTA, West Windsor Parking Authority and West Windsor BikeFest. New Jersey Transit provided bicycle racks and lockers, and West Windsor Public Works handled the installation. GMTMA handles the locker-rental program.
The mayor and West Windsor Council applauded the project with a Special Proclamation. Thank you for that and thank you to all who made this happen.
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Tuesday’s weather forecast looks dicey so we are postponing the ribbon-cutting and bikers breakfast until Thursday. (What is it with the WWBPA and the weather?) Both events take place at the bike racks between the Dinky and the Trenton-bound tracks. The bikers breakfast (coffee, something to eat, a WWBPA map) will start by 6:30 a.m., and the ribbon cutting for new bike racks and lockers is set for 8:30 a.m.
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A West Windsor resident emailed the WWBPA about a broken button to activate the pedestrian walk signal at the intersection of Alexander Road with Bear Brook Drive and Vaughn Drive as well as two street lights that were out at the intersection.
The WWBPA forwarded his concerns to the mayor, who quickly ensured that the needed repairs were made by Mercer County and PSE&G, respectively.
Thanks for the quick work!
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“The streets of our cities and towns are an important part of the livability of our communities. They ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams.
Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets. States, cities and towns are asking their planners and engineers to build road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone.
Instituting a complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind – including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.”
The federal Department of Transportation recently adopted a policy to support “the development of fully integrated active transportation networks. The establishment of well-connected walking and bicycling networks is an important component for livable communities, and their design should be a part of Federal-aid project developments.”
Here are some rides to help you get ready for BikeFest:
Trenton Cycling Revolution, another area advocacy group, is helping with the annual 15-mile Trenton Bike Tour on May 22. One rider calls it “the coolest way to see the city.” The police-escorted ride starts at 8:30 a.m. at Cadwalader Park. Cost is $10.
Bill Garrett is the WWBPA’s bike-commuting champ for Week One of National Bike Month: an impressive 105 miles. “Great weather this first week!” he says. (I say too bad the weather forecast doesn’t look quite as good for Week Two.)
Runner-up is Deniz Dagci. Wife Jessica reports he rode 74 miles since May 1, including errands and such. “For both of us, commuting is 35 miles a week. My total since May 1 is not as impressive, just 48 miles (it was concert week, poor Deniz was left with most of the errands),” she says. The Dagci household is car-free and the two commute to Princeton University.
Yes, Jessica got caught in Monday’s rain. “Three cheers for the gym and shower that followed before a long day at work,” she added. But there was good news during the week too — the monster brush pile on Washington Road disappeared mid week. (Yes, the shoulder on Washington Road isn’t an official bike lane, but cyclists appreciate it being kept free of debris anyway.)
Former WWBPA trustee Bruce Ellsworth described a 33-mile day this way: “Friday’s weather was so perfect, I wanted to keep riding. So, I doubled up my commute to work to make 22 miles in the morning. I would have gone longer, but I had an early morning meeting at work. I rode a circuitous route around Hopewell township. It was quite nice to get out of Princeton Borough where, especially on Fridays, automobile traffic can be rather aggressive. After work, I rode directly home, since I was due to watch my daughter in the evening so my wife could go out with a friend. Even so, I was happy to be on my bike without all the cold weather gear on, making it the most memorable bike commute so far this year.” (Unfortunately, he says, it was his only commute ride of the week.)
John Kuhn reports riding to work 2 ½ times for a total of 25 miles. Unfortunately, he got a flat tire on the way home Wednesday and got his wife to pick him up.
Van Cotter racked up seven commuting miles and an eighth for errands (plus 35 for fun).
WWBPA trustee Silvia Ascarelli rode just 15 miles, but then she has a quick ride along Cranbury Road to the train station. She did cycle to Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association to pick up the key to a bike locker at the station. (A 1 ½-year wait! But the WWBPA is working to eliminate the backlog. Hopefully we are in the middle of the last hiccup before 10 locker spots are installed.)
Another train commuter, Juan Cardenas, rode 12 miles over four round-trips to the station.
Total so far: 320 miles. Keep pedaling!
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The WWBPA is partnering with the Boys & Girls Club Bike Exchange to collect used bikes at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market Saturday, June 12. Established in 2009, Bike Exchange New Jersey benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton’s after-school program.
Let’s do our part! If you have old bikes that can be refurbished, bring them to the West Windsor Farmers’ Market on June 12, or visit the Boys & Girls Club of Trenton and Mercer County website to find a drop-off location — there are several in the area that will take bikes any time.
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Did you know that Dutch schoolkids have to pass an exam demonstrating their cycling skill when they’re about 12 years old? Think of it as a form of drivers’ ed for bicyclists. Most will then ride to school, sometimes nearly 10 miles one way. This blog post, which includes a video, explains the system. (Of course, we’d like it even more if the kids wore helmets.)
What do you think? Would you like to see something like this in the community?
We also like this video of high school kids in the U.S. creating a “bike bus” — riding as a group to get to school — though, again, we think they should wear helmets (and maybe add some lights).
Kyle Nylander, an experienced group ride leader with the a local bicycle club, will lead a Ride of Silence on Wednesday May 19 at 7 pm from Mercer County Park marina.
At the same time, Heather Haggan will be offering a Ride of Silence from Van Horne Park behind Princeton Fitness, Skillman/Montgomery.
Part of a growing international event, the intention of the Ride of Silence is to promote bicycle safety and driver awareness of cyclists on the road.
The West Windsor ride length is 12 miles. Please arrive by 6:45 p.m. and bring water, spare tube, helmet, and wear some form of a black band on your arm such as a black ribbon, piece of clothing or wide black tape. There is no charge for this ride.
Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.
Why Does Ride of Silence Exist?
To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD
“Through a program called “Smart Transportation,” Pennsylvania has been working to find innovative solutions to the challenges of constrained resources, aging highways and bridges, and congestion by reexamining the relationship between land use and transportation. One example is PennDOT’s U.S. Route 202 Parkway project in suburban Philadelphia. First envisioned as a new four-lane expressway between Doylestown and Montgomeryville, the project’s cost was simply not affordable. After an extensive consensus-building process, a lower-cost option to build a parkway-type design was approved at roughly half the original cost. The new Parkway included a 12-foot wide bicycle and walking path along its entire 8.4-mile length; concrete stamped , and painted to simulate the appearance of stone on all bridges, culverts, and retaining walls; and landscaped median strips and other aesthetic enhancements.
The Parkway will be built as four lanes for two miles and two lanes for six miles and speed limits will be lowered. Nine signalized intersections will replace three interchanges and slower speeds will help increase safety.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood would like to create bicycle and pedestrian networks throughout the country. Though 90% of Americans will still use their cars, 59% would like to add more alternatives, including mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian routes (Transportation for America 2010 survey).
Listen to an April 25, 2010 NPR story, “A National Network of Bike Trails? It Could Happen,” including an interview with Secretary LaHood.
The Mets’ bullpen catcher, Dave Racaniello, dreamed of riding his bicycle cross-country. Instead, with some encouragement from Mets star David Wright, he rode his bike from Newark to spring training in Florida. That’s one way to get in shape for the season! (If CC Sabathia had joined him, maybe he wouldn’t have started the season with such a big tire around his middle.) Read more here.
May is National Bike Month. How are you taking part?