Thursday, December 30 by sandy
Mark your calendars! Bike New York’s TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour is Sunday, May 1, 2011. Registration begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 1. If history is any guide, it will sell out within days.
Last year 32,000 people participated in this 42-mile tour of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island that lets you cross the Verrazano Bridge on a bike. There will be riders of all ages and abilities — and bike traffic jams. So if you sign up, be prepared to be extra attentive to what those around you are doing.
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Wednesday, December 29 by silvia
The WWBPA is slowly making progress on improving the accessibility of sidewalks and crosswalks. Some work has already started or is in the capital budget and should be completed this fiscal year, so by June 30. Such improvements, particularly those affecting access between township properties, such as the Municipal Complex and parks, transportation and businesses, are not only obvious but in many cases are required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. These improvements make a huge difference not only to people like Michael Ogg, a WWBPA trustee and a wheelchair user for several years, and other people with disabilities, but also to the general public: those pushing strollers, the elderly, young children on bicycles.
But what about a trail that goes nowhere? A trail whose purpose is simply to allow its users to enjoy the outdoors or to explore the woods? Yes, there are trails around Community Park and the Ron Rogers Arboretum, certainly the Trolley Line Trail, but not in the woods. West Windsor is fortunate to have so much open space, but shouldn’t people who use wheelchairs also be able to enjoy it? The WWBPA thinks so and is exploring with Friends of West Windsor Open Space the possibility of creating an accessible trail. A good candidate location is in the woods adjacent to the Ron Rogers Arboretum with a trailhead at the “hat” memorial.
A suitable surface is boardwalk or crushed stone: solid enough for wheels but still permeable and environmentally appropriate. Tell us what you think about this.
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Tuesday, December 28 by sandy
Freehold residents and shop owners this month discussed a plan to make the borough’s downtown friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians. Issues included adding a traffic signal, where to place bicycle racks, building more sidewalks, and police enforcement.
There’s still some apprehension among some people about some of the ideas put forth by some consultants, and the biking and walking community may be called on again to show their support. The borough will draft its own bicycle and pedestrian plan, due for release early in 2011. Councilman John Newman also noted the need for a Complete Streets policy.
Read more on the WalkBikeJersey blog.
Here’s some of what WalkBikeJersey had to say:
- The plan presented by the consultants from Michael Baker Jr. was well thought out and clearly showed an understanding of the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians…Similar to the plan they put together for Morristown, the suggestions for Freehold also included a liberal use of bicycle lanes and sharrows on major streets where appropriate, accompanied by a reduction in motor vehicle lane width and limited elimination of on-street parking (the one street that they recommended this last action, they never observed cars parked on the street). They also suggested extending the Henry Hudson Trail further into town using the old railroad right-of-way, which is currently not used.
- Despite general opposition from many downtown merchants, the proposed plan does call for bicycle parking be placed in select curbside locations on Main Street, which follows the bike parking standards detailed by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. However, if a curbside parking plan cannot be ratified by the Borough Council, the consultants did provide a “Plan B” bike parking proposal that would provide better parking options if bicycle parking is still not allowed along the Main Street storefronts.
- Probably the most unique part of the plan (and undoubtedly the coolest) was the bicycle map of the Borough that included a Bruce Springsteen bicycle tour. Freehold Borough has many historic sights due to its 300+ years of history and its close proximity to the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth… Still, Freehold is known the world over for being the birthplace of Bruce and there are many sights around town associated with “The Boss.” While there are eight other historic sights and places of interest in the Borough, there are nine sights uniquely associated with Springsteen and the proposed bike map points them all out.
Read our previous post about Freehold.
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Monday, December 27 by sandy
John Boyle of the WalkBikeJersey Blog analyzed the U.S. Census data from the American Community Survey for 2005-2009 (not data from Census 2010) to see how New Jerseyans get to work. Included on the blog is a spreadsheet listing all 522 New Jersey communities with the numbers and rankings for biking, walking, and taking transit.
The numbers don’t reflect those who use multiple ways to get to work, but only the mode used for the longest part of the trip or most frequently used. So if you ride your bike to the Princeton Junction station, take the train to New York City, then walk to your office, your commute would only be counted as “transit.”
Here’s how West Windsor ranks, out of 12,198 people counted:
- No. 144 of the 522 state municipalities for the percentage of people who bicycle (0.39%);
- No. 342 in the state for the percentage of those who walk to work (1.31%);
- No. 39 for those who take transit (17.97%).
Not surprisingly, that puts West Windsor commuters way ahead of those in the entire country who take transit (4.95%), but somewhat below those who walk (2.9%) or bike (0.5%).
To see the spreadsheet for all New Jersey municipalities, go to the WalkBikeJersey Blog.
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Thursday, December 23 by silvia
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is once again looking for student advisors to work with its trustees over the next 12 months.
Applicants must attend West Windsor-Plainsboro schools or live in West Windsor and attend other schools in the area or be home-schooled. Serving as a student advisor is an excellent way for students to make a difference in their community while developing organizational skills, helping to plan and publicize events, and learning to advocate before local government for improvements that will make our community friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians. This year’s student advisors played a big part in our community bike ride, but student advisors have considerable freedom to come up with a project that interests them. It’s a great way for any student considering a college major in environmental sciences, engineering or political science, among other areas, to gain some hands-on experience in their general area of interest.
Learn more about what’s involved here.
The application deadline for the next round of student advisors is February 21, 2011.
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Wednesday, December 22 by silvia
West Windsor is seeking one-year extensions on state funding for a number of bicycle, pedestrian and roadway improvements, including on Village Road West from Penn Lyle Road to Edinburg Road in Dutch Neck. The project is described on the township’s website as improved visual enhancements such as high-visibility crosswalks and in-street pedestrian signage for Village Road West at the intersections with Reed Drive, Oakwood Way, and South Mill Roads.
Other extensions are being sought for projects on Village Road West from about St. David’s Church to North Post Road; Wallace Road from Alexander Road to Route 571 (by the train station); the South Post Road bikeway from Village Road to the rowing center; and the next phase of the Penn Lyle Road improvements, which involves widening the road between Clarksville Road and Canoe Brook Drive.
Bob Hary, the township’s business administrator, said the intent is to put all the projects out for bid in the spring. He said at Monday’s council meeting that the extension is needed because the funding didn’t coincide with the township’s capital improvement plans.
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Tuesday, December 21 by sandy
The National Center for Safe Routes to School awarded Philadelphia’s South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Universal Institute Charter School (UICS) one of its 2010 mini-grants to encourage safe walking and bicycling to school.
Students and neighbors from SOSNA and UICS painted an intersection mural, “a low-cost way to alert and inform motorists of the school zone,” at 15th and Catharine Streets.
Leading up to the painting project, members of Safe Routes Philly taught bicycle safety to 5th and 6th graders in UICS.
Let us know if you have a creative idea for safe routes in West Windsor. Guidelines for mini-grants are listed on the Safe Routes website.
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Monday, December 20 by silvia
The September 11th National Memorial Trail is being established as a National Historic Trail on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 and will be a tribute to all those that perished in America’s single worse terrorist attack.
The route is to be a triangle that connects the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA, where Flight 93 went down. Much of it is on existing routes, including the D&R Canal/East Coast Greenway through West Windsor. Other parts still have to be determined, particularly the route from Shanksville to New York.
Organizers aim to have the trail segments planned by September 11, 2011, and many completed segments dedicated.
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Saturday, December 18 by silvia
Hamilton is in the middle of a review of its master plan, a long-term vision for planning and development. One goal is to add more bicycle and pedestrian paths.
The workshops on the master plan are continuing; this is the time for residents to make their views known. You can read more about what’s happened so far here.
It’s encouraging to see more New Jersey communities (Newark, Hoboken, Freehold …) are looking at infrastructure improvements for bicyclists. Here’s the latest on what we’ve read about Hoboken (and Jersey City).
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Friday, December 17 by sandy
photo by Thomas Boyd, The Oregonian
- Saylor, a guide dog, pulls trainer Sioux Strong out of the path of a Prius during a training session.
Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2010): The National Federation of the Blind today commended the United States Senate for passing the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (S. 841), which will protect the blind and other pedestrians from injury as a result of silent vehicle technology.
Because blind pedestrians cannot locate and evaluate traffic using their vision, they must listen to traffic to discern its speed, direction, and other attributes in order to travel safely and independently. Other people, including pedestrians who are not blind, bicyclists, runners, and small children, also benefit from hearing the sound of vehicle engines. New vehicles that employ hybrid or electric engine technology can be silent, rendering them extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other.
“The National Federation of the Blind commends the United States Senate for the wise and decisive action taken today to preserve the right to safe and independent travel for the blind,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities, and we must be able to hear vehicles in order to do so. This bill, which is the result of collaboration among blind Americans, automobile manufacturers, and legislators, will benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle technologies become more prevalent. We now call upon the House of Representatives to pass this legislation as quickly as possible so that it can be sent to the President’s desk for his signature before the close of the year.”
“I’m a major advocate of hybrids—I own one, I drive one, and I’ve seen firsthand their environmental and economic benefits,” said Senator John Kerry, the sponsor of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act. “This legislation will allow us to continue to promote our energy independence and technological innovation while safeguarding those who use senses other than sight to navigate the roads.”
“The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is proud of this legislation, which is the result of our cooperative relationship with advocates for blind pedestrians,” said Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “We believe that this legislation represents a common-sense approach to ensure that the blind and other pedestrians remain safe as new vehicle technologies emerge.”
The House of Representatives passed the legislation on December 16, 2010.
President Obama signed the legislation on January 4, 2011.
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Thursday, December 16 by silvia
The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee is asking Princeton Borough and Princeton Township to install “sharrows” along four streets:
- Harrison Street from Faculty Road to Mt. Lucas Road;
- Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Valley Road;
- Nassau Street from Harrison to Bayard Lane; and
- Paul Robeson Place/Wiggins Street/Hamilton Avenue from Bayard Lane to Snowden Lane.
Sharrows are shared lane markings that are being used in New York City, among other places, and were included for the first time this year in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a bible for transportation engineers. The markings depict a bicycle with directional arrows and are highly visible to motorists and help guide bicyclists to an appropriate place in traffic (and far enough from the risk of hitting an opening car door).
The advisory committee says sharrows are needed to fill the gap between sidewalks for novice cyclists and off-road trails for recreational cyclists. Those using their bikes for transportation (to Princeton University, the Dinky, downtown, and shopping centers, for example) and seeking direct routes currently are left out. Sharrows would work on Princeton’s narrow streets, where parking is a priority and there is no room left for bike lanes.
In its report, the committee wrote that “shared lane markings may be the only feasible and affordable intervention to improve the safety and comfort of cyclists on Princeton streets.” It noted that the four roadways it recommended for sharrows are where 60% of the bicycle accidents from 2008 through May 25, 2010 occurred and estimates that adding these markings to the road will cost $13,000 for every two miles of roadway.
The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee Sharrows Policy Paper was presented to the Princeton Borough Council last week, and it isn’t clear when the borough and township will decide whether to follow the recommendations. The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance hopes that both will evaluate these recommendations seriously.
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Wednesday, December 15 by JerryFoster
Township Council recently adopted the shared space concept as fundamental to the lawsuit settlement with InterCap over the new Princeton Junction Transit Village. Under this concept, motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians share the roadway as peers. But is it safe?
Four European experts reported results of their studies of the shared space experience in the Netherlands in 2007 at the Walk21 Conference held in Toronto. Shared space was implemented several locations between 1998 and 2001, with studies published between 2003 and 2007.
Overall, “reported accidents have decreased substantially.” In one location, however, minor injury collisions persisted, and “bicyclists were overrepresented”. Significantly, “police report only a (minor) part of the accidents. Particularly bicycle and pedestrian accidents are often not reported to the police. This means that reliable and valid conclusions regarding the safety of cyclists and pedestrians cannot be made.”
What makes shared space work? “At low speeds people have more time for communication and the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal utterances.”
What keeps it from working? “Children and people with a visual or mental handicap cannot be expected to comply. Also, the elderly are not always able to anticipate and react in time, especially not when it is crowded and many things happen in a short period. This group (in total 25% percent of the population!) runs a substantially raised risk.”
How do people feel about shared space? “Most respondents do not think the situations are safe. Both car drivers and bicyclists and pedestrians are critical about it. In Haren remarkably many people (90%) demand a clear choice regarding the position of the bicycle: either on a bicycle lane or on the carriageway. The experts prefer the bicyclist on the carriageway; the public prefers a separate recognizable lane.”
The WWBPA supports the shared space concept, but recognizes that to work, all roadway users must be provided with subtle guidance as to the preferred positioning within the space. Bicyclists must be encouraged to stay out of the way of opening car doors (the “door zone”), such as through the use of a special color or pattern of pavement to guide where they ride.
The current (pre-settlement) language in the redevelopment ordinance calls for buffered bike lanes to achieve this goal. This goal can be achieved in the shared space concept, but the language regarding bike lanes is proposed to be removed. Please contact our public officials with your questions or concerns regarding the safety of our proposed new shared space.
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Tuesday, December 14 by silvia
The revitalization of the Acme shopping center (really called Windsor Plaza) is crucial to the health of Downtown Princeton Junction. And all plans that call for a town center or village center there and have been endorsed by over the past couple of decades have included a path through the woods to serve as a safe, off-road route to the train station for pedestrians and bicyclists. The current plan for the path, contained in the Redevelopment Plan, is from the back of the shopping center to Borosko Place.
The new owner of site, Irv Cyzner, and the current Planning Board, don’t seem to want that path (read the Princeton Packet article, “Planners stay ruling on Czyner). But many residents support a trail.
Mr. Cyzner’s plans remain before the planning board, and a fourth public hearing on his proposals, this time to discuss a variance on the size of the shopping-center sign, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 12 at the Municipal Center.
This is our last chance before the planning board vote to voice our support for this vital bicycle and pedestrian link. Please come show your support.
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Sunday, December 12 by silvia
Freehold is about to release a study by the New Jersey Department of Transportation about how to make the borough friendlier for bicyclists. But turning the study into reality is hardly a slam-dunk. Its supporters need our vocal support to help businesses overcome fears about cyclists on the sidewalk and bikes that aren’t locked to bike racks, among other things. (We say cyclists can bring in extra business, particularly if downtown is on a safe route to the Shore.) The key meeting is Monday, Dec. 20.
Read this email that the WWBPA received from John F. Newman, a Freehold councilman for the Springsteen connection and more:
About one year ago, I was elected as a councilman in Freehold Borough. One issue that immediately reared its head was an ordinance that was passed (before I was sworn in) which required bikes to be parked at bike racks in town, despite a dearth of bike racks.
I railed against this issue, and soon thereafter secured a NJ DOT grant to have a bike-ped study of the town. That study is about to be unveiled to the public for their review and comment, but I am learning of some opposition to the study, namely how it could affect the downtown.
I am reaching out to bicycle advocates so that they can assist me in garnering support to ATTEND the meeting and bring their views of the benefits of a bike-friendly community. Being in Freehold Borough, some items in the DOT study were to link the Henry Hudson Trail to the downtown, link the rest of the 1.9 square mile borough to the downtown, and linking the borough to points outside its boundaries, such as the Monmouth Battlefield and other nearby parks. Also, within town is proposed a bike path/trail. This will map out places of historic interest and a tour of Springsteen’s Freehold. Of course, the study also takes into account safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
As noted, there is some resistance. I would appreciate it if you and your friends could help me by attending the December 20, 2010 meeting. The public portion starts at Freehold Borough Hall at 4:00 until 6:30; then the council meeting starts at 7:00 where a presentation will be made directly to the mayor and council.
Your support and input will be greatly appreciated as well as your comments on the beneficial aspects bike-friendly communities – the concept still has to be sold.
You can read more about what Freehold has been doing on WalkBikeJersey
. The state also has mapped a route that goes through Monmouth Battlefield.
And did you know this about Freehold’s role in bicycling history? Cycling champion Arthur Augustus Zimmerman resided in the town during his racing career in the 1880s and 1890s, and from 1896-1899 operated the Zimmerman Bicycle Co.; the company’s bicycles were known as the “Zimmy.” Today, Freehold Borough is home to the Metz Bicycle Museum, where the only extant “Zimmy” can be seen.
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Saturday, December 11 by silvia
A small number of bicycle lockers are available for rent at the Princeton Junction train station. These lockers are on the westbound side, along the Dinky tracks. Cost is $90 per year, payable every six months. The lockers are administered by Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, 609-452-1491.
Lockers and bike racks were added this year in a project jointly funded by the WWBPA, GMTMA, BikeFest and West Windsor Parking Authority, with racks and lockers supplied by New Jersey Transit and with installation assistance from West Windsor’s public works department.
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Friday, December 10 by sandy
In 2009, 27% of fatal crashes in New Jersey involved pedestrians.
Since 1999, New Jersey pedestrian fatalities have remained steady at about 150/year.
Since 2005, pedestrian injuries have ranged between about 5,000 and 6,000 statewide.
In Mercer County, 171 people were injured in 2009.
These are some statistics from a presentation by Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety, to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities in November 2010.
And here are more:
- Most pedestrian fatalities occur away from intersections, on roadways without crosswalks.
- Approximately 40% of fatalities occur between 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
- Most pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas.
- More than two-thirds of 2009 pedestrian fatalities were male.
Both pedestrians and motorists must do their part to keep pedestrians safe. NJ law now mandates that motor vehicles stop and stay stopped for pedestrians in the crosswalk and at intersections. As well, pedestrians must take “due care,” and yield the right of way when not in a crosswalk.
Read the presentation Pedestrian Safety: Shared Responsibility
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Thursday, December 9 by sandy
West Windsor Township has been awarded a Silver Certificate by Sustainable Jersey. SUSTAINABLE JERSEY ™ is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. So far, 67 New Jersey municipalities have been certified.
As part of the Sustainability Actions, West Windsor Township Council passed Resolution 2009-R060 and the Township created a Green Team on which WWBPA President Jerry Foster serves as an advisor. Read the complete Sustainable Jersey West Windsor Profile.
We think it’s also time for West Windsor to apply for Bicycle Friendly Community status from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Hoboken and Montclair were recently awarded honorable mentions.
And we’d like to see West Windsor work toward becoming a Walk Friendly Community, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Just applying can be helpful in making West Windsor more pedestrian-friendly:
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“By applying for a Walk Friendly Community designation, your community will receive specific suggestions and resources on how to make needed changes for pedestrian safety. Through the questions in the assessment tool, your communities will be able to identify the areas of needed improvements that can form the framework for your comprehensive pedestrian improvement plan.” (from Walk-Friendly FAQs)
Wednesday, December 8 by silvia
Andy Clarke, the president of the League of American Bicyclists, will be the guest speaker at the WWBPA’s annual meeting on March 17.
You may remember that Andy was supposed to speak at our annual meeting in February 2010, only to have it snowed out. So we’ve moved the annual meeting to March and Andy has agreed to come again, fresh from the League’s annual National Bike Summit in Washington D.C.
Save the date and tell your bicycle and/or advocacy buddies. All are welcome! More details closer to the date.
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Tuesday, December 7 by silvia
Two New Jersey towns are working on some big bicycle-friendly improvements.
New Brunswick is close to building a 1.9-mile bikeway. As WalkBikeJersey explains, it should help residents of Highland Park reach the train station and will connect Rutgers’ Douglas campus with downtown, among other things. The bikeway will go from the intersection of Lafayette Street and College Avenue near the Route 18 John Lynch Bridge at its western terminus, to George Street and Bishop Street at the edge of the Douglas Campus to the east. From Lafayette Street, the bikeway would run on College Avenue to Huntington Street, then down George St to Albany St (NJ Rt 27). At Albany, there will be a spur that will run south to the train station while the main route would head north to Neilson Street. Then the bikeway would head east along the entire length of Neilson Street to Bishop Street, where it will turn right for a few hundred feet back to George St. This is more than just paint on the road, and one feature will be on-street, contra-flow bike lanes. See BikeWalkJersey’s blog for more details.
Hoboken is developing a bicycle and pedestrian master plan that includes narrowing extra-wide car lanes as a way to calm traffic and adding bike boxes, which put cyclists in front of cars at a red light for safety reasons. There also would be more police enforcement of speed limits and of laws requiring motorists to yield to pedestrians. The plan is now open to public comment. Read more on Streetsblog.
The WWBPA will be watching developments in both communities with interest and to see what might work in West Windsor.
Finally, an idea from Pennsylvania that can be easily copied: writing to our elected officials in Trenton and Washington asking for effective legislation to ensure that those motorists who injure, maim or kill pedestrians and cyclists are properly punished. This letter notes that all too often, they don’t face criminal charges.
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Monday, December 6 by silvia
From the NJ Bikes & Walk Coalition:
Make your voice heard in Trenton by signing an online petition here for a 3-Foot Safe Passing Law for New Jersey cyclists, walkers, runner, joggers and other vulnerable users. Read about the bill here.
The coalition adds: The language isn’t perfect, but it is a beginning and a way to get the word out that all vulnerable users need to be protected. We also need to have a bill that will be passed and not continue to languish in committees. Please support the petition and your right to ride, walk, jog and run safely on New Jersey roadways.
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