Lenape 34 Trail Walk

Tuesday, August 31 by sandy

Lenape Trail

Pete Avelar painting a yellow Lenape Trail blaze in Branch Brook Park, Newark, with Sacred Heart Cathedral in background. Photo by Paul Kiczek.

Want to see more of New Jersey? The best way to see a state or country is on foot. Here’s a Columbus Day walk through Essex County, from preserved woodland through suburbs and ending in New Jersey’s largest city, Newark.

FreeWalkers, a social network for people interested in distance walking, is sponsoring The Lenape 34. Scheduled for Columbus Day, October 11, 2010, the 34-mile walk will begin at the Millburn, NJ train station and proceed along the Lenape Trail though South Mountain, Eagle Rock, and Mills Reservations, as well as through Montclair, West Orange, Nutley, and Belleville, ending in Newark.

The trail walk will begin at the Millburn train station at 7 AM and conclude at Penn Station in Newark. If you’re not up for the entire trek, you can do a portion. More details are at the Lenape34 Web site.

The Lenape Trail is part of the Liberty Water Gap Trail, which goes across the entire state of New Jersey (130 miles) from the Delaware Water Gap to the Statue of Liberty, through Essex, Morris, Warren, and Sussex Counties.

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Cyclists, Test Yourselves

Sunday, August 29 by silvia

BikeFest CheckWhether you prefer taking off-road trails or traveling via the street, check your knowledge of safe and responsible riding with these quick interactive tests.

Sorry! As of May 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has removed these tests from its website.

Now pass it on to a friend.

For more on bike safety, click here.

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Progress on Route 571/Cranbury Road

Saturday, August 28 by silvia

571-Cranbury-Wallace Countdown SignalHave you noticed the pedestrian countdown signals at all corners of Route 571/Princeton-Hightstown Road, Cranbury Road and Wallace Road? Crosswalks and ADA-compliant ramps have yet to go in, but this is a big safety improvement for one of West Windsor’s busiest intersections. Getting it made safer for pedestrians, many of whom are headed to and from the Princeton Junction train station, has long been a top priority for the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance, and we applaud West Windsor Township, Mercer County and the New Jersey Department of Transportation for making it happen.

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What’s Behind Pedestrian Accidents in New York?

Friday, August 27 by silvia

courtesy of www.pedbikeimages.org/Laura Sandt

New York City has just done a big study on 7,000 pedestrian-motorist crashes that have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities and their causes. As the New York Times put it, male drivers and left turns were the biggest culprits. Cabs,  buses and trucks account for fewer collisions than private cars. The city already is planning a series of changes, including eliminating some parking spots so that pedestrians and left-turning motorists can more easily see each other.

Other findings, according to Streetsblog: Driver inattention is the most common cause of crashes that seriously injure or kill pedestrians; failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk is responsible for 27% of such crashes; speeding is a factor in more than 20% of such crashes, but most New Yorkers don’t know the citywide speed limit is 30 mph.

And a lesson that is applicable to West Windsor: Not surprisingly, more crashes occur when visibility is poor. With daylight hours shrinking, think about how to make yourself more visible (such as with reflective vests, hand-held flashing lights).

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Walkway Over the Hudson

Wednesday, August 25 by sandy

view down hudsonOn a clear summer day, driving back to West Windsor from a bicycling weekend in New York State and Vermont, we took a break to stretch our legs along the Walkway Over the Hudson. What a treat! The walkway offers excellent views north and south along the Hudson, across to Poughkeepsie, down to the trains traveling along the riverbanks and to boats along the river. Lots of people use the walkway for exercise and sun, though there aren’t yet any benches along the span.

Walkway Over the HudsonTwenty years after a 1974 fire ruined the tracks of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, built in 1888, Poughkeepsie’s Bill Sepe began advocating to convert the rail bridge to a pedestrian and bicycle trail. The dream became a reality when the walkway opened in October 2009, celebrating the  400th anniversary of the voyage of Henry Hudson in his ship, the Half Moon, from New York harbor to the site of Albany, NY.

Walkway Over the HudsonPeople of all ages and abilities use the walkway, and it’s is a terrific asset for area residents or workers, who can stroll/jog/bike across and back before or after work or at lunch. Developers might not have thought there would be many people coming from the Highland side, since there were only about a dozen metered (2-hour limit) parking spaces, though we and others parked on the road without fees. As we approached Highland from the Thruway, there were a few signs for the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, which will eventually connect the Walkway Over the Hudson to the trail systems in the Shawangunks and the Catskills.

Walkway Over the HudsonWarnings on the walkway Web site note that the temperature of the concrete can be up to 20 degrees hotter than the air, so people are advised to carry water, especially for pets, and to be careful of the dogs’ paws on the hot surface.

To learn more, go to
Walkway Over the Hudson Park Web site and Rails-toTrails Conservancy article.

Walkway over the Hudson

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ADA Turns 20

Monday, August 23 by sandy

Wheelchair user, www.pedbikeimages.org / Dan BurdenThe University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has released Professor Lex Frieden’s study (an online survey of disability leaders), Impact of the ADA on Communities, a report of the status of improvements for the disabled 20 years after adoption of the American with Disabilities Act in July 1990.

The report indicates that there have been significant improvements for the disabled population. As well, the report highlights areas where more work is needed to fully implement the ADA and to enable people with disabilities to reach their goals of independence, self determination, and full participation in society.

Highlights of the report:

Achievements:

  • Two-thirds of people with disabilities who were polled in the study believe that ADA has been the most significant social, cultural or legislative influence on their lives in the past 20 years.
  • The ADA’s greatest impact has been improvements in access to public accommodations.
  • Other areas of significant agreement regarding improvement are employment, transportation, and public awareness.
  • Overall, more than 90% of the survey respondents believe that quality of life for people with disabilities in communities across America has improved greatly since passage of the ADA.

Progress still needed:

  • The biggest disappointment of the disability leaders who were surveyed is the lack of progress by people with disabilities toward reaching goals of economic independence.
  • Respondents were also disappointed in the impact of the ADA on healthcare, housing, and employment.
  • Improvements in access to public accommodations, transportation and public awareness are consistently acknowledged, but the need for further compliance is evident.

Lex Frieden is Professor of Biomedical Informatics and of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. Frieden, who uses a wheelchair following a 1967 traffic accident in which his spinal cord was severed, helped craft the ADA, which was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990.

Click to read the complete report, Impact of the ADA on Communities.

The WWBPA continues to advocate for ADA compliance in the township and issued a assessment of compliance in February 2010, concluding:

… with the notable exception of intersections and crosswalks, which have a large scope and must be addressed, despite a fairly long list, the work required to bring the Township’s facilities into ADA compliance is fairly modest. We suggest that by aggressively pursuing its statutory requirements, the Township could gain statewide prominence as a community friendly to the needs of its many disabled residents and visitors. Such action would certainly be recognized at least at the state level by government and the many organizations representing the disabled.

Click to read  the February 2010 WWBPA report.

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Walking to School Can Reduce Stress

Friday, August 20 by sandy

Walk to Halk

Researchers at the University of Buffalo report that a morning walk to school could reduce the amount of stress children feel later in the day. Heart rate and blood pressure levels remain lower, which can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease later in life.

The researchers note, “Cardiovascular reactivity — including changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress — is associated with the beginnings of cardiovascular disease in children, and atherosclerosis — the dangerous build-up of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances in artery walls — in adults.”

Think kids don’t get stressed? Remember how you felt taking a test, speaking in front of classmates and just trying to fit in.

The researchers go on: ” Because it’s not known how long the protective effect of a bout of exercise lasts, parents and educators should promote active play time throughout the day. If it only lasts a couple of hours, then it would be most beneficial if a child walked or biked to school, then had recess during school, as well as a break at lunch, so they had opportunities for physical activity throughout the day. This would put them in a constantly protective state against stressors that they’re incurring during the school day.”

Other studies suggest that being fitter helps make kids smarter.

Encourage your children (and yourselves) to get more exercise! Form a walking school bus or bicycle train, both of which promote safe routes to school.

Read more about our Walk to Hawk program. Let us know if you’d like to start a similar program in your child’s school.

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Johnson Trolley Line Trail Work

Wednesday, August 18 by silvia

Johnson Trolley Bridge

Johnson Trolley Line Bridge on the Ewing-Lawrenceville Boundary looking south into Ewing. Jim Castelize working to clear brush, June 2010.

Another trail to discover in Mercer County: the just-renovated section of the Johnson Trolley Line connecting Whitehead Road Extension in Ewing with the portion of the Johnson Trolley Line in Lawrenceville. WWBPA member Van Cotter, a member of the Ewing Environmental Commission, reports that it is now walkable and bikeable with mountain and touring bicycles.

The trail surface is hard-packed dirt/cinders with some rocks and a few old rail ties.  In wet weather, there are some puddles.  The trail passes through pleasant mixed deciduous forest including many native tree species: ash, oak, maple, sassafras, etc.

Biking/walking north, the trail crosses a bridge into Lawrenceville and picks up the Johnson Trolley Line in Lawrenceville. The trail there is broken by I-95, and there is talk of creating an overpass over the interstate to reconnect the Johnson Trolley Line, similar to what was done for the D&R Canal over Route 1.

The trolley line that ran along this route once connected Princeton and Trenton. The trail renovation was a joint effort of the Ewing Environmental Commission, Ewing Township Department of Public Works, and local Boy Scout Troop 15. Future work could include extending the renovation south to Spruce Street in Ewing.  This section is privately owned and thus will require securing permission from the owner(s). Other work could include painting the bridge at the Ewing Township-Lawrenceville line and adding signs identifying the trail.

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Celebrating the D&R

Tuesday, August 17 by silvia

Battle Monument, Trenton

On a perfect day for a bike ride, 75 people came out on Saturday, August 14 to celebrate the completion of the missing segment of the D&R Canal towpath between Trenton and New Brunswick – representing New Jersey’s longest segment of the East Coast Greenway.   Many members of the WWBPA rode, as did West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh and Council President Diane Ciccione as well as New Jersey Assemblywoman Grace Spencer. Lawrence Mayor Pam Mount was there for the start, and Congressman Rush Holt spoke (but didn’t ride), noting that he began championing this project when he first went to Washington 12 years ago. The 1.5 mile stretch of macadam belies the obstacles. Not only were there negotiations with Conrail but a number of other surprising obstacles came into play – such as issues with billboards. But all of that is now dust under the wheels.

Riders took it slow, taking nearly an hour to ride the seven miles  to reach the Battle Monument in Trenton. After a  40-minute rest break hosted by the Trenton Cycling Revolution, the group returned along the same seven-mile route. The ride was capped off with sandwiches, salads and sodas at the Brearley House in Lawrence Township, provided by the East Coast Greenway and New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition.

The WWBPA thanks Don Pillsbury from the Lawrence Sustainable Transportation Committee for this report.

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More HAWKs Light Up Across the U.S.

Tuesday, August 17 by silvia

HAWKs are High-intensity Activated Cross Walk lighting systems and are a way to let pedestrians cross busy roads without a standard traffic light. The signal stays dark until pedestrians or bicyclists want to cross. They press a button, and the overhead signals flash yellow lights, followed by a solid yellow and a solid red, stopping traffic so the people can cross.

Researchers with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University last year compared before-and-after accident data at 21 HAWK sites in Tucson, Arizona and found a 13% to 29% reduction in all crashes and a 50% drop in pedestrian accidents.

More states are installing them, as USA Today recently reported. The WWBPA thinks one place it could work in West Windsor is at Sherbrooke Drive and Princeton-Hightstown Road so that pedestrians can cross from the Sherbrooke development to the Acme shopping Center.

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Bike Ride History Tour

Sunday, August 15 by sandy

Griggstown Bridgetender's HouseD&R CANAL WATCH BIKE RIDE HISTORY TOUR
Saturday, September 4 – 10:00 a.m. – Griggstown
History bike rides on the D&R

Join canal enthusiast Bob Barth for a leisurely bike ride on the historic Delaware & Raritan Canal towpath. We will stop at historic villages and canal structures, such as locks and swing bridges, and talk about why the D&R was one of the most successful canals in the United States.

Helmets required. Bring water and snack. The ride will last approximately three hours.
Meet at the Griggstown Causeway parking lot.
Questions? Call Bob at 201-401-3121.

For independent rides along the towpath in the Millstone Valley,
see the National Scenic Byways suggested route:
Bicycle Ramble along the D&R Canal Towpath.

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WWBPA Bike Clinic

Friday, August 13 by sandy

Farmers' Market 8-7-10

The WWBPA provided a free Bike Clinic at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, August 7.  We offered people an opportunity to learn how to fix a flat, change a tire, check their ABC’s (air pressure, brakes, cassette/chain/crank), and fit their bike. First Vice-President Chris Scherer brought his bike for demonstrations, and he reported that one woman went home and then rode her bike back to the market. Chris and WWBPA Trustee Dave Robinson showed her how to fix a flat and change a tire, and went through the ABC’s with her, plus fit her with a helmet. She got some hands-on experience and seemed to learn a lot. Several others expressed interest in the clinic and may bring their bikes to the Farmers’ Market on August 21 for another clinic. Stop by at any time between 10.m. and noon. We’ll also do demonstrations at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon on September 4.

In addition to the Bike Clinic, we spoke with many people about bicycle and pedestrian matters. Many were interested in connections, such as between Princeton and West Windsor or  Plainsboro and West Windsor, and finding routes to destinations, such as Whole Foods from Plainsboro or Hightstown or Mercer County Park from Cranbury Road. Washington Road and the intersection at Cranbury/Wallace and Route 571 were mentioned many times.

If you, too, are interested in attending a Bike Clinic at the Farmers’ Market, send us an e-mail or leave a comment here and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Farmers' Market 8-7-10

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World’s Top 10 Cycle Routes

Thursday, August 12 by sandy

Cycling Group in Quebec

Cycling Group in Quebec

Traveling the world? National Geographic lists its Top Ten Cycle Routes:

Interested in more routes in the U.S.? Click for the Top 10 American Bicycle Routes.
Want rides closer to home? Click for Regional Biking and Walking Routes.

What would make your list?

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Top 10 American Bicycle Destinations

Wednesday, August 11 by sandy

Acadia 2009

Cycling along the carriage roads in Acadia National Park

Traveling to a different part of the country? Want to bicycle when you’re there? HotelsCombined.com has released its Top Ten American Bicycle Destinations, with trails for various ability levels, throughout the country.

Or go to Trails.com and search for a trail (hiking, biking, or backpacking) where you’re heading.
Want rides closer to home? Click for Regional Biking and Walking Routes.
Interested in cycling the world? Check out National Geographic’s Top 10 Cycle Routes.

What trail would you recommend?

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Art of the Bicycle Show

Tuesday, August 10 by sandy

Bike Rack ArtOn Friday, September 25, Marty’s Reliable Cycle is hosting its 3rd Annual Art of the Bicycle Show at the Morristown store, 173 Speedwell. You may enter any sort of art, movie, or performance. All art needs to be bicycle related/oriented. If you have examples of your portfolio available, please e-mail ryan@martysreliable.com. Friday, August 13, is the last day to enter and be included in printed advertising, but entries are welcome after this deadlline. This is a really fun event and in the past years has attracted a couple hundred people in the one night. All artists keep 100% of what they sell.

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Walking the New Meadow Road Sidewalk

Monday, August 9 by sandy

WWBPA president Jerry Foster took a walk along the new Meadow Road sidewalk to assess its walkability. Here’s the video of his walk:

While we are pleased that a sidewalk and a bike lane were included in the realignment of the road, there are still issues to be resolved, such as:

  • How walkers and those with disabilities will be able to pass one another along the sidewalk;
  • How walkers can safely get to Old Meadow Road, now a path with no motor vehicles permitted;
  • How walkers will be able to cross at the intersection with Carnegie Center Boulevard.

Read the WWBPA letter suggesting fixes for both the bike lanes and the sidewalk.

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Quiz Time in Hightstown

Saturday, August 7 by silvia

Hightstown Bike Safety Quiz

These kids know their bike safety!

The WWBPA joined the crowds at Hightstown’s National Night Out. Dozens of kids took our bike safety quiz. How would you do?

We also sold safety gear and gave away a few helmets–all part of educating the next generation of bicyclists.

Other scenes from National Night Out:
Hightstown Husky
Hightstown Great DaneHightstown Night Out Crowd

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Thanks, Mercer County

Thursday, August 5 by silvia

Washington Road Tree Planting

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes has come out in favor of a more bicycle-friendly county and appears ready to back his words with deeds.

Some of his words: “In past generations, many County roads were built to be four-lane highways.  Because traffic volumes never justified using all four lanes, we can stripe shoulders to accommodate bicyclists in many locations. Where County highways are not wide enough to accommodate bicycle lanes, further analysis and more extensive projects may be required.  Possibilities include “road diets” that reduce the number of  through-travel lanes, narrowing wide travel lanes, and selective roadway widening.”

And some of the deeds, contained in the county’s press release: In Princeton, when Washington Road (Route 571) between U.S. Route 1 and Faculty Road is restriped, edge lines will be placed to accommodate future bicycle lanes from Faculty Road to the Princeton Junction Train Station.  And a feasibility study for the County’s first designated bicycle route on CR 546 (Washington Crossing – Pennington-Lawrenceville Road) has  just been completed.”

The WWBPA is delighted with the county’s bike-friendly philosophy. The comment period for the mobility element of its master plan ends Aug. 15. A bike-friendly master plan makes it easier to turn our vision into reality. Let officials know what’s important to you!

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Two-Second Turnoff

Tuesday, August 3 by sandy

distracted cyclist www.pedbikeimages.org / Laura Sandt Eighty-six percent of teens admit to driving while distracted (AAA and Seventeen Magazine Survey).

Two seconds is all it takes to take your eyes off the road and get into a crash. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says, “Instead, you can take two seconds to turn off your phone before you get in the car so the crash never happens.”

Bicyclists and pedestrians also become distracted when they use cell phones and text. They need to be fully alert when cycling or walking so they can see and hear everything around them.

Seventeen Magazine’s national Two-Second Turnoff Day is September 17, 2010, and you can put your video skills to use and help to spread the message. The best video wins a $2,000 prize. To take part:

  • Go to Seventeen to learn more.
  • Upload your anti-distracted driving video to YouTube by September 10.
  • Then tell all your friends to view it.
  • And let Seventeen know, too–you could win $2,000. Click here for the rules.

Sponsored by Seventeen.com, Exchange.aaa.com, and Distraction.gov.

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Celebrate Bicycling and Walking

Monday, August 2 by silvia

D&R Canal Biking and Walking
East Coast Greenway logo

The WWBPA joins the East Coast Greenway, the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition, and the Trenton Cycling Revolution on Saturday August 14 for a 14-mile family-friendly ride on a newly constructed section of the D&R Canal/East Coast Greenway.

The ride starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Brearly House in Lawrenceville along Princeton Pike/Route 206 (also a link to the Lawrence Hopewell Trail). Because the route is partially unpaved, hybrids or mountain bikes will work best.

Elected officials and their staff are invited, so this is a great chance to show how popular bicycling is in the Garden State (ranked the eighth most bicycle-friendly state in the nation by the League of American Bicyclists) and to encourage them to support bicycle-friendly projects.

More details: “Ride with Us” flyer

History and Nature along the D&R Canal
New York Times, July 30, 2010

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Upcoming Events

March 9   ******* Annual Membership Meeting ******* 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Main Mtg Rm A). Guest Speaker TBA.

March      Membership Drive. Become a member/Renew your membership today and support our local community.

March 12  WWBPA participating at the St Anthony’s Health Fair 1:30-2:30pm in the gym at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hightstown.

April 13     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

April 15     Scholarship applications due for Graduating High School Seniors

May          Look for opening Season of WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

May 11     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Jun 8       Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

July 13     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Dept for Free

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Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

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