Thursday, September 29 by silvia
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance taught another 17 kids to bike without training wheels on Saturday by using a low-stress technique taught to us by Bike New York: take off the pedals and training wheels, lower the seat, learn to glide (and balance) and then put the pedals back on. It’s amazing to see how quickly some kids get it! And others just need a bit more time and encouragement. We think it helps that they see so many others doing the same thing.
Did you see us at the farmers’ market? Check out our photos to see what it’s all about.
Many thanks to all our volunteers! Want to join our crew next year?
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Tuesday, September 27 by silvia
photo courtesy of www.pedbikeimages.org / Diana Redwood
It’s no longer light when many of us head off or come home from work, or go jogging or walking, and it will soon be darker for many more of us. The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance strongly urges pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists to be bright at night.
The dark coats and jackets most of us favor make it hard for motorists to see us; the Federal Highway Administration says a driver will first see someone wearing blue 55 feet away and someone in white from 180 feet – but won’t be able to stop in time for either if he’s going 40 mph.
Even when walking in our neighborhoods, where traffic is slower, being visible helps everyone stay safe.
The WWBPA will demonstrate and sell a wide range of items at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market on Sat., Oct. 1 that will make you more visible: vests, belts and briefcase straps with reflective materials, small lights to hang off the end of purses and backpacks and of course lights and reflective tape for bikes. Come see us between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Vaughn Drive commuter parking lot off Alexander Road.
You can’t be too visible.
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Sunday, September 25 by sandy
Dan Rappoport leads a tour through the Pine Barrens
The 2011 Tour de Pines, sponsored by Pinelands Preservation Alliance, celebrates Pinelands Month in October with five consecutive single-day bicycle tours of the New Jersey Pinelands. The aims are to highlight the natural and historic features of the one million acres of the Pinelands and to encourage New Jersey residents to get out and explore this unique environment. The Pinelands, an area of 1.1 million acres in our densely populated state, is the largest surviving open space on the eastern seaboard between the northern forests of Maine and the Everglades of Florida. Ghost towns, historic sites and legends such as the Jersey Devil preserve the Pinelands’ unique culture, telling the many stories of how humans have used and depended on the natural world around them.
The 2011 Tour de Pines will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at PPA’s Bishop Farmstead in Southampton Township, traverse the length and breadth of the Pinelands National Reserve, and culminate at Whitesbog Village on Sunday, Oct. 9.
Each day’s tour will range from approximately 40 to 55 miles per day, with average speeds of 11-13 mph, and begin and end at the same location. Registration deadline is Oct. 1. You don’t need to do all the rides. Plus it’s free! Just provide your own transportation, food and lodging as needed.
For more information, look here.
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Saturday, September 24 by silvia
If you want something more on Sunday, Oct. 2 than riding the sharrows in Princeton, consider this from our friends at the East Coast Greenway:
4th Annual Hudson River Loop Tour, Sunday Oct. 2
Join us for a guided bicycle ride on the East Coast Greenway along the Hudson River waterfront in New Jersey and New York, Sunday, Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. This 25-mile bike ride (easy-going pace of 9-10 mph) will travel along greenways (and a short on-road stretch), enjoying newly completed segments of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. At the Hoboken/14 Street dock, we will take the New York Waterway ferry to Manhattan, then return north along the Hudson River Greenway to and over the George Washington Bridge.
We’ll enjoy lunch at beautiful West Harlem Piers Park, just opposite Fairway Market where food and drinks can be bought. We will return to Fort Lee Park at about 2 pm. Cue sheets provided. Bring snacks and water, wear helmet. Rain or shine. Start and end at Fort Lee Historic Park, Fort Lee NJ.
Pre-registration: ECGA member $10 / non-member, $20
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(New Members can join the ECGA at a special $25 rate – this event only!)
Day-of registration: member $15 / non-member, $25
Price includes cost of ferry (rider + bicycle) – Children under 13 – $10 (for ferry)
To pre-register: http://hudsonloopride.eventbrite.com
Thursday, September 22 by silvia
Sustainble Princeton invites everyone to experience the new sharrows on its “Be Green, Be Seen” mass bike and skate ride on Sunday, Oct. 2. The group will set off from Hinds Plaza (by the Princeton library) at 3 p.m. for a two-mile ride. (“Be Green, Be Seen” will run until 5 p.m.) Sharrows have been installed on a number of local roads, including Nassau, Harrison and Witherspoon streets. The route will cover parts of those streets plus Hamilton Avenue.l
What’s a sharrow? A shared-lane marking when it’s just not feasible to install a full bicycle lane. You can read about their success elsewhere here.
Here’s the full message from Sustainable Princeton:
Unlock those bikes and come ride on the bike sharrows!
Cyclists and skateboarders, all ages, all skill levels are invited to take part in a short ride along the newly marked sharrows along Princeton’s streets.
Bike for the environment, bike to support the BYOBag campaign or just bike for fun… but please join us to show that we love the new Sharrows and look forward to more support for healthy, sustainable, fun-loving bikers and skaters.
Remember your helmets!
The more people who attend the ride, the bigger the statement.
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Tuesday, September 20 by JerryFoster
On Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., WWBPA volunteers participated in the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, an effort to accurately and consistently measure usage and demand for bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.
We covered four locations around the train station, only missing the intersection of Wallace and Alexander roads. We also stopped before the end of the evening rush hour for New York commuters.
1. Cranbury/Wallace/571 (Rite Aid) – 20 bike, 38 walk
2. Scott/Alexander (Arts Center) – 31 bike, 56 walk
3. Vaughn/Alexander (bus stop) – 9 bike, 31 walk
4. Station/571 (Rep. Holt Headquarters) – 14 bike, 6 walk
Total: 205 people, 74 who bike and 131 who walk
Thanks to our volunteers!
I also noted at our Main Street Cranbury/Wallace/571 location:
- 8 car horn beepings, including 1 of a cab at a walker and a biker along Route 571 by Sovereign Bank, where there is no sidewalk. Another volunteer reported most of the beeps he witnessed were by cabs; this might need looking into.
- 3 tractor trailers – there were also some delivery trucks but nearly all cars.
- 2 runs of a shuttle bus – Stoudt’s East Windsor to Princeton Junction train station.
- Eastbound congestion on Route 571 existed from a little after 5 p.m. until 5:20 p.m., to the extent that cars waited on the bridge and had no room to cross the intersection at Cranbury and Wallace roads. During this time, people turned left from westbound Route 571 onto Wallace Road in front of the waiting cars, and most of the beeps were because of this, since it took two lanes to agree to stop to let left-turning traffic go in front. It would be calmer if the eastbound Route 571 right lane was right turn only onto Wallace Road, and only the center lane was straight through.
- 1 pedestrian was verbally harassed by a motorist waiting to turn (I couldn’t make out the exact words) as the pedestrian crossed Route 571 from Wallace Road to Cranbury Road. He responded with a loud expletive.
- 17 people crossed Route 571 mid-block, most at the driveway intersection of PNC Bank and Rite Aid. Some were going to Rite Aid, but most were going to the neighborhood behind Rite Aid, where there is a connecting sidewalk.
How does this compare to past data? The township bicycle plan also studied some of these or nearby intersections at somewhat similar times:
- Cranbury/Wallace/571 – Wed. July 21, 2004, 5-8pm – 9 bike, 43 walk
- Scott/Alexander – Fri. Apr. 16, 2004, 3:15 – 4:30pm – 2 bike, 13 walk
- Scott/Wallace – Fri. Apr. 16, 2004, 4:30 – 7pm – 5 bike, 63 walk
- Wallace/Alexander – Wed. June 23, 2004, 5-8pm – 5 bike, 16 walk
We hope to do the count again on one of the nationally designated days. Maybe we’ll see you walking and biking to the station!
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Sunday, September 18 by silvia
From our friends at Freeewalkers, a social group of long-distance walkers who were joined by some WWBPA supporters as they passed through West Windsor earlier this year:
Extend your summer into October with The Endless Summer Walk: bay2ocean30 a 30 mile walk along the fabulous Jersey shore. And, now you can also start the Fall season with our last walking challenge for the year the LENAPE34: The Origins Walk. A repeat of a tough but popular event for the second year in a row. Sign up for either or both. As usual they are FREE and open to the public.
The Endless Summer Walk: bay2ocean30
This walk starts in Matawan and ends in Asbury Park. We’ll walk the Henry Hudson Trail along the Raritan Bayshore area and then proceed along the ocean front from Sea Bright to Asbury Park. There’s a quiet natural trail, grand views and of course, the magnificent Atlantic Ocean for half the journey. Our support for this walk goes to the Friends of the Parks, a non-profit support organization that assists the Monmouth County Park System with programs that help the local communities.
Visit http://bit.ly/bay2ocean30 for info or sign up here.
The Origins Walk: LENAPE34 (2011)
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The LENAPE34 is a repeat of a 34-mile trek through woods, neighborhoods, and urban settings in the tradition of modern-day explorers. Our walk will start in Millburn and ends at Penn Station, Newark on Monday, October 10, 2011 – the official Columbus Day holiday. There’s three Essex County reservations to cross, some altitude to get over, towns, neighborhoods, a city and some of the best designed parks in the country. This walk has it all. But be forewarned, its not easy.
Visit http://lenape34.org for info or sign up here.
Friday, September 16 by silvia
The WWBPA needs your help to clear the Millstone trails of the damage done by Irene.
Join us at 1 p.m. Sunday Sept. 25 in the Millstone Preserve parking lot (Millstone Road). Bring loppers, rakes, and (if you have one) a gas chain saw or trimmer. Don’t forget gloves and bug spray!
Consider it an extension of National Public Lands Day, which is Saturday, Sept. 24. Entrance fees at all national parks across the country will be waived that day. For list of national parks in New Jersey, click here. The day is also a huge nationwide volunteer event; help clean up and maintain our public lands (and that’s more than just the national parks. Several volunteer events are planned for our area; the list is here.
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Thursday, September 15 by silvia
From the League of American Bicyclists: This year, around $700 million of Federal transportation funds, which in reality is less than 2% of total transportation dollars, will be spent on bicycling and walking. In 2012 that figure might be a big fat zero.
We expect that in the next few days, Senator Coburn (R-OK) will ask Congress to eliminate the federal Transportation Enhancements program – the primary funding source for the past 20 years for bike lanes, trails, bike racks on buses, bike education etc. This isn’t safe or smart; it’s not good for the economy or the environment; this is bad health policy and bad transportation policy. But they are going to try because they don’t think bicycling matters.
Even though bicycling projects create more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects and cutting enhancements won’t impact the deficit – the money just won’t be spent on bicycling – some Members of Congress want to force us backwards to a 1950s highway-only mindset: as if oil embargoes, congestion, smog, the obesity epidemic and climate change never happened.
Now is the time to Save Cycling, so we are asking you to contact your Senators and urge them to support continued funding for biking and walking. Don’t let them take away this vital investment program for smart, sustainable, safe transportation choices.
And as America Walks notes, the Transportation Enhancements program has also been the primary funding source for sidewalks, crosswalks, trails and more. If Sen. Coburn succeeds, it would mean an immediate end to funding for Transportation Enhancements. It would also mean that our chances of sustaining any funding for bicycling and walking (including for Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails) in the long-term reauthorization bill would be more difficult.
West Windsor has gained numerous sidewalk extensions and bike lanes in recent years, and these projects haven’t been exclusively funded with local tax dollars. Let’s make America more bikeable and walkable. Let’s have complete streets — streets that work for all users.
Need an instant e- letter to send to our senators? Here’s one from People for Bikes.
Watch the League’s video.
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Wednesday, September 14 by JerryFoster
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is very pleased to announce that the League of American Bicyclists proclaimed West Windsor Township a Bicycle Friendly Community, at the Bronze level.
This is the first time a New Jersey municipality received such an honor, the result of more than 10 years of effort on the part of many residents and with the support of the mayor, township council and county and state officials.
It could not have happened without the support of our members, who have demonstrated that they value a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community, both with their membership contributions and their time spent helping others to ride. As an all-volunteer organization, we appreciate our members’ willingness to help, whether it’s to write letters of support or to teach children to ride a bike for the first time.
This honor isn’t only for our officials and the WWBPA, but for all our community partners who help make bicycling happen. We especially thank BikeFest and our area bike clubs, who organize so many successful biking events, the SMART/JORBA volunteers, who maintain the off-road trails in Mercer County Park, and all the many individuals, organizations and businesses who have helped make West Windsor a better place for daily cycling, whether to work, school or the Farmers’ Market.
Finally, a special thanks to our intern, Kim Meersma, who worked with many people to gather the information necessary to put together a very detailed application.
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Tuesday, September 13 by JerryFoster
The WWBPA responded to the county’s proposed CR 571 Main Street design recently, maintaining that it is unsafe for everyone: motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. In the past 10 years, two pedestrians were killed on this stretch of roadway (2004 and 2005), while no motorists were killed. A 17-year-old motorist was killed in 2006, however, just west of downtown Princeton Junction, when she lost control of her car on the curve coming off the bridge over the train tracks.
The proposed wider-straighter-faster design does nothing to address these safety issues. Instead, it preserves the current 45mph design speed and 40mph posted speed limit. Drivers don’t respect crosswalks when they have to slow from high speed, and the proposed design does nothing to provide pedestrian refuges in the center of the roadway to promote safe crossing.
Rt 571 Concept Illustration
The design also features a new two-way center left turn lane (TWLTL) that studies have shown to be unsafe; AARP calls them “suicide lanes.” One study even showed that artificially lowering the posted speed limit, but not the design speed, caused an increase in crashes.
Here’s a picture of Hamilton’s SR 33 that most resembles what is planned. The 45mph design speed is simply not appropriate for the pedestrian friendly Main Street that our Redevelopment Plan envisions. A survey of other Mercer County towns shows that Princeton, Lawrenceville, Hightstown, Hopewell and Pennington all have 25 – 30mph speed limits on their Main Streets. Why not in West Windsor?
The WWBPA is not just opining, and we’re not just complaining – our response, and our recommendations based on the December 2009 Public Review, are founded on research and guidelines from the New Jersey Department of Transportation. We are recommending constructive, Complete Streets alternatives to remedy the safety issues and make a Main Street that we can all be proud of.
The current design shows why Mercer County should adopt a Complete Streets policy to complement the state and West Windsor township policies – our transportation network needs jurisdictions with consistent policies to benefit our taxpayers.
Thanks to everyone who has gotten involved to support our position! We appreciate all of you who have signed our petition at the Farmers’ Market, or who have contacted the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which recently conducted public outreach on this and other federally-funded projects.
More help is needed. Please contact our public officials to support our position. With a lower design speed and pedestrian refuges, our senior residents can cross Route 571 safely to the new Rite Aid, and our children can cross Route 571 safely to the new ex-Acme shopping center, as well as to the high school. And our teenage drivers should be able to keep control of their vehicles when going more slowly. Everyone benefits.
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Monday, September 12 by silvia
Where would you put public benches in West Windsor?
The WWBPA wants to install some benches around West Windsor. Are there any places you wish you could have a contemplative rest or ease your weary feet before walking just that bit further? Be it the Trolley Line Trail, one of our many wooded preserves, or somewhere else, we welcome your suggestions.
All ideas will be discussed by the WWBPA and with other interested parties. We will keep you informed on progress. Suggestions welcomed on the style of benches too.
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Sunday, September 11 by silvia
Thanks to all who donated bikes (and assorted bike-related items) to our bike drive to support Bike Exchange and the Boys & Girls Club of Trenton.
We collected 52 bikes, 2 scooters, a trail-a-bike (attach second bike to yours), one bike rack for the back of a car, various parts … our best bike drive in several years!! We also directed several people who wanted to donate bikes to Bike Exchange and their various pick-up points, plus we think we inspired the daughter of a market vendor to run a bike drive at Princeton High School
Not only were we thrilled with the day, but so was Bike Exchange, whose stock of bikes was running very low.
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Friday, September 9 by silvia
As daylight hours get shorter, a letter from a friend of the WWBPA couldn’t be more timely.
“I have been taking my husband to the station and picking him up five days a week for many years. We travel down Alexander Road to Scott Avenue, making a right on Wallace, then a left into the station driveway. I am on Scott Avenue four times per day. In recent years, it has become a challenge to weave around the pedestrians who prefer to walk in the street rather than use the sidewalk.
We believe the traffic — cars AND walkers/bicyclists — has increased significantly in recent years and, despite the pedestrian improvements such as painted walkways, the risk of a vehicle/pedestrian and/or bike accident is growing.
Please USE THE SIDEWALK on Scott Avenue — rather than walking (or running) on the paved street — and USE THE NEW CROSSWALKS instead of jay-walking diagonally across the streets to and from the station.
Follow common-sense rules of road-sharing and safety, such as “stop and look both ways before crossing” and “don’t assume the motorist sees you.” And don‘t wear all dark clothing when riding a bike at night.”
And a message from the WWBPA: One way to be more visible is to wear a reflective vest. The WWBPA sells them for just $10. Come see us at the farmers’ market.
Why might walkers on Scott Avenue prefer to walk in the road rather than on the sidewalk? Please comment with your views.
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Thursday, September 8 by silvia
Please join us in encouraging New Jersey Transit to allow bikes to board from all train stations, even those with low platforms, during off-peak hours. This policy, in place since 1998, was recently revised to ban boarding from low platform stations. You can send a quick online letter by clicking here.
NJ Transit is now restricting bicycle access to all of its stations that do not have a high-level platform, including the key Hoboken Terminal. That ends up putting nearly half of NJ Transit’s 163 commuter rail train stations out of reach for cyclists looking to take their bikes (thankfully not the Princeton Junction station). This new policy also does not make a distinction between full-sized, standard-frame bicycles and folding bikes.
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Monday, September 5 by silvia
We’ve organized an educational walk, we’ve advocated and campaigned, we’ve waited and waited, and now with the completion of the new Rite Aid we finally have pedestrian crosswalks across all four roads at the Cranbury/Wallace/Route 571 intersection in Princeton Junction.
This intersection had the dubious honor of being top-ranked (or maybe bottom-ranked) in the 2008 WWBPA intersection inventory. As with many of the recent sidewalk and intersection improvements, this huge addition to walkability and safety was done with relatively little Township money; in this case the funds were largely state, county and private.
Is the intersection now perfect? It’s certainly a lot better, but lack of pedestrian refuges on the Route 571 crossings, poor visibility for vehicles coming off the bridge and turning right onto Wallace, and countdown lights that are still unreachable for wheelchair users forces us to give the intersection less than a triple-A rating.
In the “you can’t get there from here” department, lack of sidewalks on either side of Route 571 mean that it’s not possible to walk safely from the new Rite Aid to the soon-to-be-remodeled Acme shopping center. Well that’s technically not quite true: the safe route is now along Wallace, up Scott and along Alexander.
Sometimes things move slower than we’d like, but this intersection, along with many other intersection and sidewalk improvements over the last six months, is making West Windsor a better place to walk, or in the case of our wheelchair-bound trustee Michael, roll.
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Friday, September 2 by silvia
The Princeton Freewheelers are inviting newcomers to join them on Saturday, Sept. 17. Three rides will leave from the Hamilton YMCA at Sawmill Road at 9a.m.: D+, C and B-level rides.
The D+ ride will cruise on flat terrain at 11-12 mph (or an average moving speed of 9-10 mph) for about 20 miles. The C ride cruises about 14 mph for about 25 miles and the B ride at about 17 mph for about 30 miles.
Most importantly, though, the D+ and C rides are social rides. New riders may expect much encouragement and support. No one will be dropped for going too slowly.
This new-member ride has a preliminary stop after 4.5 miles to be sure everyone is in a group appropriate for their ability. That’s in addition to the usual rest and/or food break somewhere in the middle of a ride. Most people who choose these rides enjoy the camaraderie of others who also like cycling, as well as the beautiful scenery.
Helmets are required. Riders need to be sure their equipment is in good working order. There will be a brief discussion of safe riding practices for group riding and about the Princeton FreeWheelers (also see the group’s website, www.princetonfreewheelers.com). Snacks will be served.
The PFW provides opportunities for recreational bicycling and related activities, including the promotion of safe recreational riding, fellowship among cyclists, advancement of the general interests of cyclists, and education about the rights and responsibilities of cyclists.
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