Route 571 and Sherbrooke Drive crosswalk today (left) and with simulated addition of Hawk signal (right)
We’ve long advocated for the use of the HAWK (High Intensity Activated Crosswalk), or Pedestrian Hybrid Signal. Since “a pedestrian hybrid beacon may be considered for installation to facilitate pedestrian crossings at a location that does not meet traffic signal warrants…” (Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices), we suggest that the Township and the County consider the HAWK for Route 571 at Sherbrooke Drive.
Here’s what the Fall 2010 issue of the US DOT Federal Highway Administration’s Pedestrian Forum says:
The FHWA’s Office of Safety Research recently completed a report on the High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK)—also known as the Pedestrian Hybrid Signal in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). The HAWK is a pedestrian activated beacon located on the roadside and on mast arms over major approaches to an intersection.
The HAWK signal head consists of two red lenses over a single yellow lens. It displays a red indication to drivers when activated, which creates a gap for pedestrians to use to cross a major roadway. The HAWK is not illuminated until it is activated by a pedestrian, triggering the warning flashing yellow lens on the major street. After a set amount of time, the indication changes to a solid yellow light to inform drivers to prepare to stop. The beacon then displays a dual solid red light to drivers on the major street and a walking person symbol to pedestrians. At the conclusion of the walk phase, the beacon displays an alternating flashing red light to drivers, and pedestrians are shown an upraised hand symbol with a countdown display informing them of the time left to cross.
The crash types that were examined included total, severe, and pedestrian crashes. From the evaluation that considered data for 21 HAWK sites and 102 unsignalized intersections, the following changes in crashes were found after the HAWK was installed: a 29 percent reduction in total crashes, a 15 percent reduction in severe crashes, and a 69 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes. For more details, visit this website.
The HAWK is now an MUTCD approved device, so a request for experimentation is not necessary. Information on its use can by found in Chapter 4f of the MUTCD.
Jay Walljasper reports in Yes! Magazine on his September fact-finding trip with San Francisco traffic engineers, elected officials, businessmen to the Netherlands to see how American cities might encourage more bicycle use. He concludes that we can do it, but it will take a very serious effort.
We’ve got to start early, with bicycle education and use in the early school years.
We also need to make cyclists feel safe: “physical separation from motorized traffic on busy streets is the single most effective policy for getting more people to bike.”
Walljasper was encouraged to see progress in Rotterdam, where bicycling accounts for 22 percent of trips on the American-looking streets (created after World War II’s destruction). Simply adding color to bike lanes was, in some cases, helpful. (Cycling is even more popular in other big cities, such as Amsterdam.)
He notes that “it took the Dutch 35 years to construct the ambitious bicycle system we were enjoying. … While the country’s wealth, population, and levels of car ownership have continued to grow through the decades, the share of trips made by cars has not. We could accomplish something similar in the United States by enacting new plans to make urban cycling safer, easier, and more convenient… and ultimately, mainstream.”
Cyclist in New York City, courtesy of www.pedbikeimages.org / Laura Sandt
New York City is stepping up the ticketing of cyclists who break basic traffic rules, including those who run red lights. As the city’s transportation commissioner notes, the city has been friendly to cyclists by adding miles and miles of bike lanes. Now, she says, it’s time for cyclists to be friendlier to the city.
The law is simple: cyclists have the same rights AND responsibilities on the road as motorists. That means stopping for red lights and stop signs and riding with traffic, among other things.
New York also is focusing on getting motorists to obey the speed limit. (It’s 30 mph.) That makes the roads safer for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Here’s a sobering statistic from the transportation commissioner: “If you are a pedestrian and you are hit by a car at 40 miles per hour, there’s a 70 percent chance that you will die. If you’re a pedestrian hit by a car at 30 miles per hour, there’s an 80 percent chance that you will live.”
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The Canal Pointe Condominium Association and the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance boards participated in a West Windsor Walk during the evening rush hour on October 21. The half hour event, held at the crosswalk to Market Fair near Mayfair Drive, was meant to raise awareness of the new state law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
Participants, holding signs reminding drivers of the new law, observed conditions and traffic as pedestrians crossed, including commuters, joggers and shoppers, some with babies.
Since Canal Pointe Blvd is a 4 lane road, drivers in some cases didn’t know why cars in the adjacent lane stopped, since the pedestrian was blocked from view by the stopped cars. As a result, some did not stop, while others slammed on their brakes when they got close enough to see the pedestrian, very close to the edge of the crosswalk.
Also, people were not familiar with when it was OK to go again. According to the new law, a driver must stop whenever a pedestrian is anywhere in the roadway on the same side as as the vehicle is travelling, until the pedestrian has walked past one clear lane on the opposite side of the roadway. For Canal Pointe Blvd, that means stopping until the pedestrian is in the outside lane on the opposite side of the road.
In the picture at the top, it is OK for the vehicle to go, since the pedestrian is more than an opposite side lane away.
Join us as we take a videoed walk down Main Street in West Windsor, Rt 571, from the arboretum opposite the high school at Clarksville Road to the gateway to the Princeton Junction train station at Wallace Road. We’ll see just how close we are to having a sidewalk along the entire 0.7 mile stretch! It should be noted that we’re walking along the south side of 571, since the north side has almost no sidewalks. Only a few gaps exist, at:
a house just before the Professional Center
the Valero gas station
the Schlumberger building
Coldwell Banker building
Sovereign Bank building
A crosswalk and pedestrian signal is missing across Alexander Road between the Valero and Shell gas stations. The curb ramp is too steep at the Sunoco station, but they’re missing at:
the arboretum crossing 571 and Clarksville
Windsor Plaza (ex-Acme) shopping center, crossing 571 at Sherbrooke
Sidewalk repair is needed for broken or raised slabs at:
a house near Clarksville
Windsor Plaza (ex-Acme) shopping center
And that’s all! Please join the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance in encouraging the township to work with the responsible parties to complete our Main Street, making us a more pedestrian friendly community.
Maurice Hawk Elementary School joined with more than 3,300 schools across the U.S. to celebrate International Walk to School Day on October 6. Once again, Principal Denise Mengani and the Hawk, the school’s mascot, led parents and children from the West Windsor Municipal Center to the school. About 75 parents and children participated.
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance, which has been co-sponsoring this event since 2006, thanks the West Windsor Police for guiding the students at street crossings.
This was one of two Walk to School Day events held by the WWBPA. Members also were by High School South to promote the new pedestrian crosswalk law that requires motorists to stop (not just yield) when pedestrians are in the crosswalk. Let’s make it safe for kids to walk to school!
Walking to school shouldn’t be just a one-time event. When many of us were growing up, we walked or rode our bicycles to school. Now fewer kids do (13% by 201, compared to 41% in 1969, according to data from the National Household Travel Survey) and childhood obesity is on the rise. Walking to school helps kids get the exercise they need and it gives them a sense of responsibility and independence.
Bellingham, Washington did that but also tried some personalized conversations about bike safety and routes, including the offer of a “bike buddy”—a one-on-one meeting with an experienced cyclist whose review helped plan out bike routes near the person’s home. The cost of this marketing effort was much less than a bike lane and appears to have been successful: A 15% drop in vehicle miles traveled, as well as an 11% increase in bus trips, a 22% increase in walking trips and a 35% increase in bicycle trips. In the targeted area, 20% of trips are done on foot (compared to 12% citywide) and 11% by bike (versus 6% citywide).
But if communities are able to couple infrastructure projects with education, we will all benefit and have safer, more livable places to live. That’s why the WWBPA is at the Farmers’ Market twice a month talking to area residents about where to walk and bike. We believe our efforts have encouraged more people to ride their bikes in town.
That leads to another benefit: safety in numbers. The theory, which has been gaining credence since it was first proposed in 2003, is that as more people ride their bikes, drivers learn to expect cyclists, even inexperienced ones. Accidents don’t go up — they go down.
Are you looking for a bike buddy to help you find a safe route to work — or even ride with you to work a few times? Email the WWBPA.
Your helmet can save your life in a crash; see these pictures for a few close-ups of how it works. This helmet happily gave its life to save its wearer, who was involved in a bike/car collision on local roads this week.
Bike helmets are nearly always designed to be single-hit, after which you must buy a new helmet. This is because single-hit helmets are lighter and therefore more comfortable to wear.
When a hit occurs, the helmet absorbs the shock by compressing the foam, which doesn’t resume its original shape and therefore won’t be available for another hit.
According to New Jersey state law, bicyclists 16 and under must wear helmets, but all bicyclists should wear them. If you’d like to purchase a low-cost helmet, please visit the WWBPA booth at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market. Check our calendar to see which dates we’re there, or drop us a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preventing a crash is even better, Bicyclists, please ride on the right side of the roadway in the same direction as the cars, and follow traffic signs and signals. Motorists, please give bicyclists plenty of room when passing – half a lane is a good practice.
Commuters, take note! Electric bikes (e-bikes, sometimes called hybrid electric bikes) are increasing in popularity. Pedal-assist bikes turn on an electric motor to give the rider an extra boost when the riding gets tough. There are also some called “throttle-assist,” but these are closer to mopeds and might not give riders the thrill of pumping their own bikes or the added health benefit from pedaling. Both types are great for pulling loads, climbing hills, or simply not getting so sweaty when riding to work.
Matthew Zoll, Bicycle and Pedestrian Manager for the Pima County, Arizona Department of Transportation, converted to a hybrid electric bike (he calls it a hybrid, because he uses his own energy as well as electricity) a couple of years ago, using the electric bike from May through October each year, when the temperatures in the Tucson area soar. The rest of the year he uses traditional bikes (pedaled with only his own power), and he says that during the past two years he’s only used a car four times. He says he can travel 1,200 miles on just $4 of electricity, with a lot less sweat.
Saving The Planet… And Ourselves Is As Easy As Riding A Bike
Two thirds of America’s energy needs are tied up in transportation. How we get around shapes our communities, our health, and our future.
Americans dream big, but those dreams have gotten out of hand. The results: expanding waistlines, sprawling communities, vehicles so large and thirsty that wars are fought to keep them running, oil disasters, and an energy plan that heats everything up to maintain a way of life. Beyond the blame, America needs real solutions: lean, clean, game-changing answers that put people on the road to health and energy independence.
Joyride: Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet follows pioneering transportation leader Birk’s 20-year crusade to integrate bicycling into daily life. With just a table scrap of funding, Birk led a revolution that grew Portland, Oregon into a city where bicycling is a significant part of their transportation system. Birk then hit the road, helping make communities across the nation healthier, safer and more livable. While many books bemoan the pain of the world’s problems, Joyride offers hope and a blueprint for changing our world for the better.
Birk lives in Portland, OR, with her two children, ages 11 and 8. Bicycling is her main means of transportation, and a winning strategy for maintaining her family’s health, safety, budget, and community connection.
Book sales will support non-profit organizations working to creating a healthier, more sustainable world.
Joyride: Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet
By Mia Birk
With Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie
Cadence Press www.miabirk.com
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The WWBPA was back in Hightstown on Saturday for the borough’s annual fall festival that takes over downtown. Our table was next to the paddle-boat rides — a great location to talk with kids. So many took our bicycle safety quiz at a time that they were using the brick wall between us and Peddie Lake as a writing surface. And yes, kids will take a quiz outside of school! No grades, just the chance to win a prize. We gave away several front-and-rear bike-light sets each hour to some lucky participants.
Devoted member, past president, and correspondent Ken Carlson reports that his current hometown, Somerville, Massachusetts, has doubled the number of street-miles marked with bike lanes. An article in boston.com quotes a May 2010 study finding 5,000 bicyclists over a three-day period at 35 locations around Somerville. Counts will again be done this month to see if the added bike lanes lead to an increase in bicycle usage.
As well, an additional 100 bike racks have been installed around Somerville and the city plans to extend an off-road, paved multi-use path. Somerville’s mayor told boston.com that this is in part a public-safety issue: making sure that cyclists aren’t in danger as they bike through town.
Ken, thanks for sending us this inspiring report! Way to go, Somerville, MA!
A West Windsor teen offered this report after her first bike trip on New York City streets on a warm and sunny October afternoon:
“Biking in New York City is a unique experience. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just interesting. There are many bike lanes all over the city, and they are extremely nice–that is, except when people park their cars in them!
“The main downside to New York City bike lanes is that they’re erratically placed. Bike lanes will stretch on for blocks and be extremely easy to see and follow, and then they’re gone without warning, and bicyclists are forced to either bike in the left lane and oftentimes ignore ‘Left Turn Only’ lanes or bike on the sidewalks, neither of which is especially fantastic. However, more often than not, there are bike lanes. And on many smaller streets, if there is no bike lane, there are ‘Share the Road’ little painting things on the street itself (a bicyclist with two chevrons over top). My dad tells me they’re called ‘sharrows.’
“Anyway, biking through New York is extremely nice, especially on the waterfront. There are waterfront paths on the Hudson and on the East River that are both bicycle and pedestrian friendly.”
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New Jersey’s Department of Transportation has added three new bike routes, in Ocean, Bergen, and Essex counties. Existing route maps that can be downloaded from NJDOT’s website, including one for a ride along the D&R Canal, the Last Covered Bridge Ride that touches Princeton, and the Battle of Monmouth ride.
Among the new ones, the Double Trouble bike tour goes past Wells Mills Park, Albert Music Hall and Waretown Pier. The 54-mile tour begins and ends at Double Trouble State Park, off of Exit 77 of the Garden State Parkway. Read about it and the other routes here.
Princeton is extending the reach of its trail network along Quaker Road, which will get bicyclists, joggers and walkers closer to the D&R Canal towpath on a multi-use trail.
Now under construction in Princeton Township is a 6-foot-wide stone path that will “link [the Updike Farm property of] the Historical Society with the Princeton Battlefield parking, and from that parking lot area one can then continue along the existing path to Mercer Road and continue either to the borough or further out to the township. It’s part of an overall system that will link that area of the township to the rest of the township,” said Robert Kiser, Princeton Township engineer, quoted in the Princeton Packet on September 28, 2010.
It also will connect to the Stony Brook path that was dedicated on October 3.
Tickets are $50 and there is a registration limit of 40 riders. All proceeds go to the East Coast Greenway Alliance to help construct more of the trail from Maine to Florida. Pre-registered riders from central Jersey can join the group in Trenton (the train from Philly will arrive at 9:38 a.m.; find them in the lobby of the main entrance) and will need to make their own way home. Septa and the RiverLine in Camden are both options.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or simply ADA, turned 20 this past July. The ADA has had a huge impact on the lives not only of people living with a disability, but also on their families, friends and colleagues. However, the impact spreads wider still. An elderly person opening a heavy door by pushing a button, a passenger at the station pulling a heavy bag up a ramp, a parent with a stroller using a curb ramp at an intersection: all of these are examples of how changes mandated by the ADA benefit all of us, able-bodied and disabled alike.
But wait, there’s more! There are provisions in the ADA that require federal, state and local governments to provide “Accessible Routes” (as defined by the ADA Standards for Accessible Design) between government facilities, including parks, and transportation and commercial centers.
The sidewalk on North Post Road between the Municipal Complex and the station?
The sidewalk on 571 between Ron Rogers Arboretum and businesses on 571?
Curb ramps on the 571 and Clarksville Rd. Intersection?
These are all required by the ADA. This is why the WWBPA also advocates for the implementation of ADA requirements: issues of people with disabilities are also issues for pedestrians and vice versa.
For more information on the ADA and in particular the Standards for Accessible Design, visit ada.gov.
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On September 29, West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh joined West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance President Jerry Foster and Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA) Executive Director Kristopher Grudt to open the area’s newest bicycle racks at the Caspersen Rowing Center.
Six bicycle racks were provided by the WWBPA, and Carr & Duff Contractors donated the labor and materials to install the racks next to the boathouse. The Caspersen Rowing Center is the mid-Atlantic states’ only official U.S. Olympic Training Site and is located on the north side of Lake Mercer in Mercer County Park.
“This is a great addition to our facilities here at the Caspersen Rowing Center,” said Mr. Grudt. “In addition to Olympic and National team athletes training out of the facility, we have between 200 and 400 area high school athletes out here six days a week participating in rowing. A number of them were already riding bikes to practice, but I have seen that number increase since the bicycle racks were installed. Despite the rain on the first day the racks were open, they were already mostly full. PNRA is very appreciative of the work the WWBPA is doing in our community and thanks WWBPA and Carr & Duff for their valuable contributions to our facility.”
The WWBPA is committed to encouraging bicycling in our community. The organization previously provided bicycle racks for the West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market (together with BikeFest) and organized efforts to add more bicycle racks and lockers at the Princeton Junction train station. It also encourages businesses to add bicycle racks outside their stores. Many trips are two miles or less — a perfect distance to do by bicycle.
Some of the many rowers (and prospective cyclists)
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The WWBPA once again will be at Hightstown’s annual Harvest Fair, which takes over the borough’s downtown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. rain or shine on Saturday, October 9.
We will be bringing our message of bicycle safety and visibility, selling lights, helmets and safety vests and reminding people to ride WITH traffic but walk/jog AGAINST oncoming cars. Under New Jersey law, bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities as motorists. Plus, it’s just not safe to ride into oncoming traffic (the opposite is true for pedestrians).
Have you noticed the new look on parts of Clarksville and Washington Roads? It’s not just the smooth resurfaced roadways, but also those wide shoulders. Even though they haven’t been designated as bike lanes (yet?), they make these key roads more bicycle-friendly. Thanks!