Halloween Spirit at a Rainy Farmers Market

Monday, October 31 by JerryFoster

Saturday’s Halloween parade at the Farmers Market was washed out by another unusual storm, this one featuring rain turning to sleet, then snow (that’s still on the ground!) and caused branches and trees to block roads all over town. But the WWBPA showed our Halloween spirit!

Thanks to everyone at the Farmers Market for another great year!

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Bike Ride Postponed

Friday, October 28 by silvia

The miserable weather forecast for Saturday means we’re postponing our bike ride of historic West Windsor sites. We’ll see if our rain date, Nov. 13, treats us better.

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Hawk Elementary Celebrates Walk to School Month

Saturday, October 22 by JerryFoster

Maurice Hawk Elementary School Principal Denise Mengani, Assistant Principal Patricia Buell and the Hawk led students, their parents and WWBPA trustees for the Walk to Hawk event on October 18th, part of the International Walk to School month festivities.

We had a beautiful sunny day for the walk.  About 45 students and their parents went on the walk, which started at the West Windsor municipal center and ended at Maurice Hawk Elementary School.  WWBPA trustee Stacey Karp gave each child an “I walked to school today” sticker and everyone helped make sure all the students arrived safely at school.

We want to extend our thanks to the  West Windsor police officers who stopped traffic at several crossings so that the group could stay together.  Ms. Mengani allowed us to address the parents to we could share some of the improvements WWBPA has advocated for around town, as well as promote our upcoming events.

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Ride Historical West Windsor

Thursday, October 20 by silvia

Join the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance and Eagle Scout Paul Ligeti for the inaugural bike ride of Paul’s 11-mile tour of historic West Windsor sites. Paul’s route points out many places beyond the imaginary Martian landing in War of the Worlds. Did you know West Windsor has two stops on the Underground Railroad? Or that a double murder in Dutch Neck in 1910 led to the first use of the electric chair in Mercer County? Woodrow Wilson used to bike from Princeton to walk around Grover’s Mill Pond, another stop on the tour. The red markers you see around town are stops on this route, which you can find on http://wwhistoricbiker.weebly.com.

We will meet at the kiosk at the trail’s starting point, next to the World War II memorial in Dutch Neck (corner of Village Road East and South Mill Road) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 (rain date is Sunday, Nov. 13). Paul, a member of Troop 66, will say a few words about his project before we start. We will stop around the halfway point to hear more about War of the Worlds – broadcast almost to the day 73 years ago, on Oct. 30, 1938.

While much of the route is on roads with bike lanes or on quiet residential streets, it does include a portion of Cranbury Road. Helmets are required, and children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult. Everyone should bring a signed copy of the waiver form available here: wwbpa waiver form. For more information, email wwbikeped@gmail.com.

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Community Bike Ride a Sunny Success

Monday, October 17 by JerryFoster

43 people enjoyed a  nice ride on a beautiful fall day, a little over 5 miles round trip from Community Park to McCaffrey’s and back. Thanks to everyone who participated, including our WWBPA trustees, student advisers and volunteers who planned, led and directed the bicyclists, and even handed out a few bandaids, and special thanks to McCaffrey’s for donating the refreshments!

The fall colors were out in full force (see our facebook page for more pictures) and we enjoyed the Trolley Line Trail as well as the bike lanes on Rabbit Hill Road and Bennington Street.  Also appreciated were new high visibility crosswalks at Davenport and Southfield Road by the shopping center. We also saw a policeman patrolling the Trolley Line Trail on motorcycle.

The group included all  ages, from those enjoying a ride in a trailer to us older kids (at heart), and split into 3 smaller groups pretty quickly – the fast group led by the speedy student advisers, a middle pack of family members, while the last group comprised those with the smallest bicyclists.

We got a number of positive comments, including a request to do this more often. With the new bike lanes on Village and Penn Lyle, we have more routes to choose from, thanks to the township and county.

Click for slide show by Mark Shallcross

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A Spooky But Safe Halloween

Friday, October 14 by silvia

Don’t let the spookiness of Halloween outdo the fun. With a bit of reflective tape, that princess’ crown will glow the brighter, while the pirate’s sword will be sharper with reflective material. The robot will be all the more robotic with a carapace lined with flashing lights. Capes can be trimmed with reflective tape, as can baskets for goodies. And motorists will be thankful they can see trick-or-treaters instead of shadows.

Have a scarier, shinier, and safer Halloween!

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Who Pays for Our Roads?

Monday, October 10 by JerryFoster

There’s an urban myth that only motorists pay for roads, therefore implying that bicyclists and pedestrians don’t belong on them. Is it true?

Not according to the 1995 study Crossroads: Highway-Finance Subsidies in New Jersey, which found that motorists only pay 77%. The rest ($733 million in 1995) is subsidized by the general taxpaying public.

“This subsidy is borne entirely at the local level, by New Jersey counties and municipalities. Localities spend $1.2 billion a year providing roads and motorist services, but collect only $200 million directly from drivers; the difference of $1 billion is paid largely through property taxes.” – Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Motorists pay even less now than in 1995. The New Jersey gas tax, fixed at $0.105 per gallon, has not changed since 1988, according to the 2010 study Spiral of Debt: The Unsustainable Structure of New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund. The federal gas tax has been fixed at $0.184 per gallon since 1993. You can be assured the cost of improvements haven’t stayed fixed since then. How did we make up the difference? According to the 2010 study:

“It didn’t happen overnight but gradually: Over the last 25 years, we have bought ourselves major transportation improvements – road widenings, interchange redesigns, new rail lines and countless other projects – without raising the money necessary to pay for them.

Instead, we’ve borrowed money. We have borrowed – and we continue to borrow – so much money that nearly every dollar we raise in taxes for transportation projects from the gas tax and other taxes, almost $900 million a year, is instead going to pay off interest and principal on bonds issued years ago.”

The state’s Quick Facts web page estimates that 1% of Transportation Trust Fund funding is Pay-As-You-Go, and the rest is borrowed.  According to the 2011 report Do Roads Pay for Themselves?, New Jersey exempts gas purchases from the sales tax, and the lower gas tax rate is in effect a subsidy that encourages gas purchases.  The major components of the Transportation Trust Fund revenues are the fuel tax ($483 million in FY2010), petroleum products tax ($200 million in FY2010) and a portion of the sales tax ($200 million in FY2010). The petroleum products tax is on activities such as oil refining and is paid by industry, while we all pay sales tax, of course.

So the state’s Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation Capital Plan total of $3,363,038,000 includes $149,703,000 for Multimodal programs (4.45%). Of course this funding is only for interstates and federal and state highways, except for specific improvements funded by the state’s local assistance program. So US 1 is covered in West Windsor.

Let’s look at county transportation funding – the 2011 Mercer County Capital budget Transportation Infrastructure total of $11,908,600   includes $250,000 for bicycle and pedestrian improvements (2.1%). Capital Surplus provided $592,930 with the remaining $11,315,670 from General Bonds and Notes, i.e. borrowed, so 5.2% is Pay-As-You-Go. This assumes Mercer County is funded by property taxes rather than motorist-specific fuel or other motor vehicle use taxes. These pay for county roads, except for specific projects that are paid with federal and/or state funds, as the proposed CR571 Main Street project is.

West Windsor’s county roads include:

  • Washington and Princeton-Hightstown Roads (CR571)
  • Clarksville Road (CR 638)
  • Quakerbridge Road (CR 533)
  • Cranbury Road (CR 615)
  • South Mill and Edinburg Roads (CR 526)
  • Old Trenton Road (CR 535)
  • Village Road West (CR 644)
  • Edinburg Windsor Road (CR 641)
  • South Post Road (CR 602)

Similarly, our municipal roadways are assumed to be funded by local property taxes, although some can be partially funded through the Off Tract Road Assessment fund, which is collected from real-estate developers. West Windsor’s 2011 Capital Improvement budget includes $757,050 for roadway improvements, $1,054,515 for traffic safety improvements, as well as $373,590 in bicycle and pedestrian improvements (17.1%). Some of these projects could be funded at least in part by state grants, if West Windsor is successful with its applications. (Money is scarce, so this is highly competitive.)

In any case, the vast majority of bicyclists and pedestrians are motorists as well (full disclosure – we have more cars than drivers in our family, though not for much longer).

So, everybody uses and pays for our roads – in general, the federal and state highways from borrowing, the rest from property taxes.

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Community Bike Ride

Thursday, October 6 by silvia

West Windsor Community Bike Ride 2009We’re holding our fifth annual community bike ride on Sunday, Oct. 16. This family-friendly ride is ideal for those who haven’t been on a bike in a while, want to get their kids comfortable on low-traffic roads or want to find a backroad route through town.

We will be leaving at 11 a.m. from the WaterWorks parking lot in Community Park and biking to Southfield Shopping Center (home of McCaffrey’s) via the Trolley Line Trail, bike lanes and residential roads. No Route 571! We’ll take a break before heading back, for a total distance of less than seven miles.

The ride is free, and no preregistration is required. But a helmet is a must! Every participant should sign a waiver form and all minors must bring a waiver signed by a parent.  Children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult. Here’s what you need: bike ride waiver form 2011

Roads will be open to traffic so follow all rules of the road, including stopping at the stop sign on the Trolley Line Trail before turning right onto Rabbit Hill Road.

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Help West Windsor Get Three Grants

Wednesday, October 5 by silvia

Part of the Dinky Line Trail

West Windsor is applying for three bicycle and pedestrian-friendly grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation. One will help pay for an extension of the Dinky Line Trail behind the office buildings along Alexander Road between Vaughn Drive and Route 1, giving bicyclists a safe alternative to Alexander Road and giving office workers a pleasant outdoor retreat. (See the map here: Dinky Line Trail Extension Map.) It falls under the Safe Streets to Transit program. Another, part of the Bikeways program, would help extend the bike lane on Edinburg Road to the eastern entrance of Mercer County Park, creating a family-friendly route to the park. The third, part of the Roadway Infrastructure Program, would allow for the repaving of New Village Road between Edinburg and Old Trenton Road, including the bike lanes and ensuring that ramps at the crosswalks are suitable for those on wheelchairs, pushing strollers and others. While at least the first two are in this year’s capital improvement budget, any state funding obviously means less local money (via property taxes) will be needed.

These grants are highly competitive, and state officials made clear at the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition‘s summit early this year that community support for the projects is an important consideration.

Of course, the WWBPA will write letters as an organization, but we’d also like to see some from individuals. Write a letter to the mayor (we are told they want original signed letters, not emails) this week for each project you want to show support. The Municipal Center address is 271 Clarksville Road, West Windsor NJ 08550. Apologies for the short notice, but the township wants the letters by Friday. The letter does not have to be long. Any personal experience with the area and why the improvement is needed would make it even better.

Help us show we want these improvements!

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Find a Home for Our Nighttime Visibility Poster

Tuesday, October 4 by silvia

Be safe, be bright posterWe have lots of copies of this government poster that we think makes a strong case for walkers, joggers and bicyclists to wear reflective material at night. We’ve put up a few in town and are displaying it at the farmers’ market … but where else should there be one?

Help us get them up by asking your church, synagogue, sports facility, employer, etc if one can go up and we’ll make sure we get it to you to bring in. Anywhere we can get out the safety message is a good l\ocation. We’d like to see them in places other than West Windsor too.

The poster is on the large size — 20″ across by 24″ tall.

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Upcoming Events

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

Apr 29  WWBPA to participate in Community Day at Duck Pond Park (11am-4pm)

May 1     Scholarship applications due for Graduating High School Seniors

May 6     Opening day for WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Walk from Hawk Elementary School

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

May 20   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Kids Learn to Bike

June 3    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market  & Adult Learn to Bike (9am-12pm)

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

June 17   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Bike Repair Clinic

July 8     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

July 22    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug  5     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug 10    Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Aug 19    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 9     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 14   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Sept 23   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Bike Drive (Donations)

Oct 7       WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Oct 12     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Oct 28     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Halloween

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

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

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