Did you know that on average, 40% of our trips are two miles or less?
Take part in National Bike Month by resolving to ride your bike more often, whether to work, the store, the library, the train station or to a friend’s house. We don’t need to remind you of the $4 a gallon gas you’ll be saving. Need another reason? The week of May 15 is National Bike to Work Week, and May 20 is Bike to Work Day. Stop at the Princeton Junction train station on May 16 for a bikers breakfast courtesy of the WWBPA and the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.
West Windsor has added many bike lanes in recent years, and the WWBPA can help you find safe routes using them and quiet roads as much as possible. (Google maps and Mapquest also have bike-route-mapping features.)
Don’t forget some of the rules of the road: Always ride WITH traffic, obey all traffic rules (red lights, stop signs) and be visible and predictable at all times. The WWBPA sells reflective ankle bands, safety vests, helmets and entry-level lights; see us at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WWBPA also is participating or promoting many bike events in May. See our newsletter for the list!
Why bike with traffic? There are lots of good reasons to bike to the grocery store, school, or the post office: better health, less pollution, save some money, among others. But it’s not as easy as a quick drive to and then bike on the D&R Canal path; you have to know how to successfully navigate with the other, larger vehicles on the road. There’s a training course just for that, and it’s being held in nearby North Brunswick!
The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash-avoidance techniques and includes a student manual. Recommended for adults and children above age 14, this fast-paced, nine-hour course prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling.The class will be limited to 15 students and will only be held if more than 5 students are registered.
Date: Saturday, May 7, 2011, 9 AM until 5 PM
Place: North Brunswick Township Municipal Building
Join the WWBPA for its second annual walk to the West Windsor Farmers’ Market on opening day, May 7.
We’ll gather in the parking lot of Maurice Hawk Elementary School on Clarksville Road by 9:30 a.m. and take a leisurely walk of just over a mile to the market. We’ll stop at the GroWW Herb Sale at the Arts Center and see where some gaps in the sidewalk network will be filled, making it safer to walk between the Arts Center and the train station.
All participants get a WWBPA walking and biking map of West Windsor, and there will be some other goodies to win.
Bring your friends and chat away as you walk along. A group walk back to Hawk will be provided if desired.
May is turning out to be a bicycling extravaganza! And that’s before West Windsor’s own BikeFest. These are some “event” rides that have caught our eye:
May 7 brings the 27th annual Farmlands Flat Tour (yes, flat!), organized by the Central Jersey Bicycle Club. Routes range from 15 to 100 miles and depart from Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, off exit 109 on the Parkway. Register by April 28 if you want the T-shirt.
If you’re missing (or are opting out) of Bike New York’s Five Boro Tour on May 1, there’s what we’ll call Tour de Manhattan, sponsored by the East Coast Greenway, on May 14. This is a 32-mile ride around the perimeter of Manhattan, starting at 10 a.m. from the East River Greenway and 61st Street (just south of the 61st St. Dog Run at the bottom of the ramp). The ride will be at a 10-12 mph pace and include the 13 miles of the Hudson River Greenway from Northern Manhattan all the way down to Battery Park. It also will highlight some of the gaps on the East River Greenway. The ride will finish at Glick Park at 37th Street around 2 PM.
Or head to Pennsylvania the same day for the Route 113 Heritage Corridor Ride (the revamped, rebranded River to River Ride). Routes through through Bucks and Montgomery counties range from 10 to 65 miles. Starting point is Souderton, PA, west of Doylestown.
A day later, it’s Tour de Montclair (and that’s its real name). The ninth edition of this annual ride starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday May 15 in Essex County’s Brookdale Park.
Finally, tour historic Trenton with the Trenton Cycling Revolution on May 21. The leisurely 15-mile police-escorted ride through Trenton’s historic streets and sights, diverse neighborhoods and community gardens leaves Cadwalader Park at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.
The Nutley Museum
65 Church St., Nutley, NJ 07110
The book (128 pages; 70 photos) provides an extensive narrative on the history of cycling in the Garden State–beginning with the formation of clubs in the 1880s; to regional cycling activity in Trenton, Asbury Park and Plainfield; to the era of grand velodromes in Newark and Nutley; and concluding with the current Tour of Somerville. It also features details on the careers of golden-age cycling heroes such as Frank Kramer, Alf Goullet, A.A. Zimmerman and Willie Honeman.
For more bicycling history, join us for a ride along the Henry Hudson Trail, with a stop at the Metz Bicycle Museum on Sunday, June 5. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
Armed with some great training from Bike New York (a wonderful nonprofit group out of NYC), the WWBPA will hold a “learn to ride” class at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market (Vaughn Drive parking lot, off Alexander Road) on May 21 as part of our National Bike Month festivities. This class is aimed at children, but the same techniques work for adults.
Step two: Learn to balance
We will teach your child how to balance on a bike without pedals or training wheels. Then the pedals go back on and we demonstrate how to start and stop.
Step three: Start pedaling
Not all children will learn right away, but parents will go away with skills to teach their child — without breaking their back holding on to the back of the seat. We had great success using this method on our “test cases” during training. Some learned that day, and just about all were cycling within two days. See the approach in action on this Bike New York video.
This class is free and will run continuously. Space is limited so we recommend pre-registering. Please arrive before noon (the farmers’ market starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m.). Minimum age is 5.
Bring a bike in good working order. A helmet is required. Don’t have one? The WWBPA sells them for just $10.
Ride of Silence is an international event to raise awareness among motorists that we are here and to honor those who have been injured or killed while cycling on the roads. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn’t aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.
At 7 p.m. local time around the world on May 18, the Ride of Silence will begin and roll across the globe in a silent procession. Each ride lasts just one hour and covers 10 to 12 miles. Cyclists ride in a group no faster than 12 mph and will remain silent during the ride. The event is free and is part of the WWBPA’s events for National Bike Month.
West Windsor’s Ride of Silence will start at the West Windsor Municipal Center on Clarksville Road. All you need to bring is a bike in good riding condition, helmet, squirt water bottle, spare tube, ID, cell phone and any other necessities you require. It will be dusk when we finish so don’t forget lights and, if you have one, a reflective vest to make you even more visible. Please arrive at 6:45 p.m.
A second Ride of Silence will roll from Van Horne Park (behind Princeton Fitness and Wellness Center) in Skillman.
Questions? Kyle is leading the West Windsor ride and is reachable at Advisor500@Gmail.com. Heather is leading the Skillman ride and is reachable at email@example.com.
The Association of American State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently published a letter to the US Department of Transportation recommending weakening the federal requirement for adding bicycle and pedestrian facilities to roadway projects. This recommendation is understandable, given the fierce fight for resources in today’s tight budget climate, but extremely short-sighted.
Some background: the Highway Trust Fund, established in the 1950s to finance the interstate highway system, has suffered from starvation due to flat fuel taxes (since 1997), reduced buying power of those taxes through inflation, and fewer miles driven since 2007 (i.e. reduced demand for gas) due to the economy, more fuel-efficient cars and higher gas prices. Intended as a way for motorists to pay for highways, it has been bailed out by general taxes to the tune of $8 billion in 2008, $7 billion in 2009, $19.5 billion in 2010, and is projected to be insolvent again by the end of fiscal year 2012.
However, the percentage of federal roadway money spent on bicycle and pedestrian facilities is minuscule (about 2% in FY 2010), and a sustained commitment is necessary to build our transportation network to offer a true choice of modes – walking, biking, transit and/or driving. It’s a win-win in any case: better walking and biking facilities are usually incidental to the cost of building roads or bridges, they’re healthier for the participants, plus they reduce congestion and pollution for everyone.
Consider this picture, which I took while walking the 1.5 miles from the commuter train station near Frederick, MD to pick up my car at the dealer (don’t ask). This bridge, MD 85 under I-270, appeared to be recently constructed and had a number of nice features, such as the stone work shown, and should have been built with room to walk, but wasn’t.
Please use this link to express your opinion of whether bicycle and pedestrian facilities should be required, or just considered.
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It’s official: 14 West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance members are participating in the annual Anchor House Ride for Runaways, which benefits the Anchor House teen shelter in Trenton, among their other programs. This year, the week-long 500 mile ride starts in Jamestown, NY, not too far from Lake Erie, and finishes as always at Quaker Bridge Mall.
After clicking to the Anchor House site, just choose among our members by clicking the dropdown list and scrolling down to find your favorite member rider, then click Donate in This Participant’s Name and follow the instructions. Thank you!
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Join us for a bike ride along part of the Henry Hudson Trail, beginning and ending in Marlboro, with a stop in Freehold for lunch and a tour of the unique Metz Bike Museum, housing more than 2,000 items, including 125 of the rarest bicycles, childrens’ antique toys, gadgets, and mousetraps! If there’s time, we may check out some Springsteen sites in town.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
11 a.m. to about 3 p.m.
Cost: $10 adult (children under 12, $5) for admission to the museum. We’ll collect cash on the day.
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org. We must know how many people will join us, as the Metz Bicycle Museum tour requires at least six people and can only handle a maximum of 30 people at a time.
Meet at 11 a.m. at the Bicycle Hub bike shop in Marlboro, where you can park you car. We estimate the route is about 8 miles each way.
The Bicycle Hub of Marlboro is located on State Highway 79, one mile north of County Road 520 (toward Matawan) in Marlboro township. When using a GPS type navigation system use “239 State Highway 79, Morganville, NJ 07751.
Hats off to all 50 or so people who took part in TR2NB40 — a 40-mile walk from Trenton to New Brunswick along the D&R Canal on Saturday. Not all walked the entire route, but it sounds like everyone had a good time. We received two reports, one from WWBPA trustee Michael Ogg and another from WWBPA member Loretta Rice.
Michael did a five-mile roll, as he called it, in is battery-powered wheelchair from the D&R bridge bridge over Route 1 in Lawrence to Alexander Road.
“It was fun talking with others and learning about other walks such as The Great Saunter on May 7, a walk round Manhattan. The first section from the footbridge to Port Mercer can be a bit difficult in a wheelchair: the center of the path is grassy, which today was very muddy, and the gravel and sandy strips on either side aren’t quite wide enough for a wheelchair so one drive wheel was always on soft ground. But Port Mercer still appeared quite quickly. Here was the only big problem: there’s a guard rail on the bend but cars are always hitting it and it was impossible to get back onto the towpath (I’ve written to the Park Superintendent about this). I had to go about 600 yards down Quaker Rd which was not fun as there’s no shoulder and cars go quite fast. Two brave walkers accompanied me. At the bend it was sort of possible to get back onto the towpath. I wouldn’t have done it by myself as the short stretch was dangerously steep but two more walkers made sure I didn’t tip backward.
The towpath from here was better – except where it wasn’t. It was all fine gravel, which was good, but in some places was 2″ of mud, which wasn’t good. The only way to get through these sections was at full speed. (My wheelchair badly needs a car wash.) When I arrived at Turning Basin, the extra resistance from the mud had drained my batteries too much and continuing was out of the question. I bade my farewells and went up Alexander Road to the station.”
Loretta picked up where Michael left off:
“The day started off well, at 10 a.m. when I left my house to pick up walkers at the Princeton Junction train station, and it was clear that the weather was going to be perfect for walking and the train was on time. I picked up four walkers who came in from various points on the Northeast Corridor line and drove to Turning Basin/Alexander to join the Freewalkers on the 40 mile D&R walk. Those walkers who started in Trenton were at Turning Basin in good time, most of them arriving before 11 a.m. A few walkers broke off their walk at this point. After a 15-minute break for water and snacks provided by cheerful volunteers from the East Coast Greenway, I joined the group and started walking. This was only my second time crossing at Alexander since the crossing lights were installed and when I happily activated them, one of the walkers commented, “Hey, they actually work!” as cars stopped and allowed us to cross. As someone who drives across this bridge every day on the way to work, it’s a very different perspective from a pedestrian view; when walking, it’s difficult to tell if the lights have actually begun to flash. I was surprised by this as when viewed from inside a car, the lights are amazingly bright.
Walking on the canal trails is always such a joy, the scenery is beautiful and the clay path makes walking easy on the joints, the only minor negative on this day being the previous day and night of rain created quite a few puddles to be navigated on the sections between Alexander and Kingston. Most walkers kept up a pace between 3 and 4 miles an hour, a comfortable pace that made it easy to carry on a conversation. The not-quite-six miles to Kingston flew by as I chatted with various walkers along the way. On reaching Kingston, the walkers took a break for lunch at the parking lot near the Lock Keeper’s house. The East Coast Greenway volunteers again provided snacks, water and information on the Greenway. Walkers shared stories, ate their lunches, changed socks, a few tended to a blister or two and others sat on the stone wall soaking up the sun. I walked the next section to Rocky Hill for a total of 7.5 miles and broke off my walk there; I am recuperating from a foot injury and am easing myself back into to long-distance walking and got a ride to back to the Turning Basin parking lot.
This was a truly enjoyable event and I’m looking forward to challenging myself further by participating in the 50-mile walk in May. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to complete 20 miles of that walk.”
Yes, there are more walks planned. This walk and others are organized by Freewalkers, who are challenging all to walk 100 miles across New Jersey using the East Coast Greenway.
May is National Bike Month, and start it with a deep stretch: Nancy Sheehan, a cyclist and yoga instructor, will be teaching two free yoga classes aimed at cyclists at the Cranbury library, 23 N. Main St. in Cranbury, on May 5 and June 2.
Yoga can build a cyclist’s strength and endurance and introduce flexibility to chronically tight muscles.
Classes begin at 7 p.m. and will end at 8:30 p.m. The WWBPA will be there both evenings. We’ll talk about skills and etiquette for streets and trails, including the do’s and don’ts that promote peaceful coexistence with other users, on May 5 and fun places to ride, including some cool events, on June 2. But most of the evening will be devoted to stretching, so dress appropriately. Bring a yoga mat if you have one.
No pre-registration is necessary.
Not sure what to expect? Here’s a video we found that shows some stretching techniques for cyclists.
West Windsor has a number of bicycle and pedestrian-friendly plans that will be funded during the fiscal year that begins July 1. The budget (including the capital budget) is to be introduce at the April 11 Township Council meeting, followed by a public hearing and adoption later this month.
This is what’s been proposed (but items still could be cut). Please let officials know that you support these plans!
An extension of the Dinky Line trail, filling in missing pedestrian connections on a route parallel to the Dinky Line between Vaughn Drive and Route 1. This would be funded through the township’s sidewalk extension program, but the WWBPA hopes it will be treated as a multi-use trail, providing cyclists with a safe alternative to Alexander Road (and eventually extended over Route 1).
An extension of the bike lanes on Edinburg Road, from Village Road East to the entrance of Mercer County Park. This would mean a continuous bike lane from the intersection of South Mill Road and Route 571 (close to a crossing of the Trolley Line Trail) down to the park entrance and almost to Old Trenton Road. According to the capital improvement budget, design work would be done in August and September, followed by engineering work and the preparation of bid documents, and then the actual bidding. Construction is anticipated for August to November 2012.
A traffic light at Canal Pointe Boulevard and Meadow Road. The WWBPA last year supported a letter from a Canal Pointe resident calling for traffic lights (both letters are here) and called for a road diet to help make the road safer. This traffic light is a step in the right direction, but we would like to see other recommendations made in a recent study. Design and engineering work for this was funded two years ago, and the budget would provide the second $75,000 for construction. Construction is planned for between August and October of this year. The budget also calls for funding engineering work for a traffic light at Canal Pointe and Carnegie Center Boulevard that would be installed in another year.
More bicycle and pedestrian improvements are planned in the following five years of township’s six-year capital program.
The bike-lane extension program through 2016 calls for adding bike lanes along North Post Road between Woodmeadow Lane and Village Road West; Village Road West between the Windsor Ponds Development and Quakerbridge Road; Village Road East between Old Trenton Road and South Lane; Alexander Road between Wallace Road and Route 571/Princeton-Hightstown Road; and Harris Road between Alexander Road and Clarksville Road.
The sidewalk-extension program through 2016 calls for sidewalks on Cranbury Road between Sunnydale Way and Route 571; South Mill Road between Village Road East and Edinburg Road; Millstone Road between Cranbury Road and Plainsboro Township border; Cranbury Road between Clarksville Road and Van Nest Park; Clarksville Road between Cranbury Road and Princeton Hightstown Road; Rabbit Hill Road between Route 571 and Bennington Drive; North Post Road between Clarksville Road and Village Road West; Conover Road between Ginnie Lane and Aldrich Way; North Mill Road between Clarksville Road and Route 571.
What’s missing, in the WWBPA’s opinion, is any mention of completing the sidewalk on Route 571 between Clarksville and Wallace roads. This should be a priority for our downtown and should be done as soon as possible. Watch our video to see just how few gaps there are!
We encourage the township to use money for sidewalk repairs and intersection upgrades to fix a couple of the problem spots in the next 12 months and to consider installing the missing sidewalks for our downtown without waiting for the yet-to-be approved and financed overhaul of Route 571.We know this is an “interim” measure until Mercer County reconstructs the road, but “interim” can be a very long time. It’s also unlikely that the sidewalks would move if the road is reconfigured.
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Paul Ligeti of Troop 66, sponsored by Dutch Neck Presbyterian Church, is creating a bike route for his Eagle Scout project. The trail will pass by many of West Windsor’s historic sites, which are described on his project website. Please support Paul’s effort!
Please remember that when riding on the roadway, a bicyclist has all the rights and responsibilities of a motorist, including following traffic signals and stop signs, etc. Do not ride against traffic! Besides being the law, following the rules of the road has been shown to be safest for everyone, since motorists and bicyclists behave in a common predictable way. Enjoy your ride!
Coming soon: a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Schalks Crossing bridge
Gov. Christie’s proposed NJDOT transportation capital program for the fiscal year that begins in July includes $8.7 million to replace the bridge deck over the railroad tracks on Schalks Crossing Road, heading north in Plainsboro toward South Brunswick.
A shared bicycle/pedestrian sidewalk lane will be provided through cantilever additions along both the east and west sides. (As the WWBPA noted in a letter to the Princeton Packet in 2009, the bridge on Clarksville Road could use this too.)
Roadway improvements would include milling and resurfacing the existing roadway approaches for tie-ins to the bridge.
The state’s capital program also includes funds for a New Brunswick Bikeway (which would link the various Rutgers campuses), various intersection treatments, and grade-separation crossings at locations in Middlesex and Union counties that intersect with the state highway system and will allow for a safe crossing along the East Coast Greenway route.
We’re also intrigued by a Lawrence Township project that is receiving $30,000 as part of an effort to turn a stretch of Business U.S. 1 into a pedestrian-friendly roadway that slows speeds and promotes business development. It’s described this way: “The roadway cross section (traveled way) will be reduced to provide 11-foot travel lanes, on-street parking along the northbound side of Route 1B, pedestrian “bulb-outs,” crosswalk enhancements and a 16-foot-wide center median, which can be planted with suitable low ground cover, flowers, etc.” The state’s five-year transportation capital plan calls for $4.3 million in the fiscal year that begins in July 2012 to cover construction costs. Sounds like a Complete Street!
Other projects include $3.5 million for right-of-way acquisitions as part of proposed safety improvements along Route 1 between Nassau Park and I-95. The five-year plan calls for spending nearly $9 million two years later for the actual construction. You can read more about these projects here.
Check out the innovative pedestrian crossing in New Brunswick: Not only does it blink when a pedestrian is crossing, it shows the speed of approaching traffic. It’s even solar-powered. A possible solution for Sherbrooke and Route 571?