More Bike, Pedestrian Improvements Planned

Monday, June 4 by silvia

West Windsor residents will continue to see improvements in bicycle and pedestrian safety around the township over the next year, thanks to continuing Capital Budget Programs.

Money has been allocated to extend bike lanes on Edinburg Road between Village Road East and the east entrance to Mercer County Park.  Cyclists, remember that when the bridge over the Assumpink (and a stretch of Old Trenton Road) is closed for replacement later this year, you can take a shortcut through Mercer County Park and continue through West Windsor on Edinburg. Just yield to pedestrians on the path!

Funds also have been budgeted for to build the missing links in the path running parallel to the Dinky tracks on the Alexander Road side between Vaughn Drive and Route 1. This will be a great help for those wanting to bike-commute to work but not wanting to be on Alexander Road. One day we hope it will link to a bike and pedestrian bridge over Route 1.

There will be improvements in the timing of traffic signals along Alexander Road, which should make crossing safer for pedestrians. The township will also continue with its crosswalk improvements, signage and striping enhancements, and sidewalk repair where street trees have caused damage.

The final phase of the Meadow Road improvements will be started, including a sidewalk from Clarksville Road to Duck Pond Park, making the park accessible from the new apartments on Clarksville Road and the Jewish Community Center accessible from the Estates at Princeton Junction.

And finally, this year will see the conceptual design for resurfacing of Canal Pointe Boulevard.  The WWBPA is hopeful that the township will follow the suggestions made by Orth Rodgers and enthusiastically supported by the WWBPA to put Canal Pointe on a road diet — giving it one travel lane in each direction, center turning lanes for left turns, decelleration lanes for right turns, and bike lanes.

These planned improvements show that West Windsor truly deserves its Bicycle Friendly Community designation. The WWBPA thanks township officials and the township council for these projects.

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Feds Focus on New Jersey to Improve Pedestrian Safety

Thursday, February 16 by JerryFoster

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) chose New Jersey as one of 13 states which “experienced pedestrian fatalities above 150 per year and above the national rate of 2.5 per 100,000 population.” These states receive extra attention in the effort to reduce pedestrian fatalities on our roadways. According to the article “Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety” in the current issue of Public Roads, “FHWA’s aggressive approach to reducing the fatality rate in 13 States and 5 municipalities is showing promising results.

The multi-year focus on pedestrian safety produced a plan called “Pedestrian Safety Management In New Jersey: A Strategic Assessment,” which “examines the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches and recommends improvements that would provide for a more systematic approach.”

So what specific recommendations will best improve pedestrian safety? The New Jersey report covers over 100 recommendations, but 3 have been chosen as the top priorities for improving pedestrian safety, according to a recent memorandum, “Promoting the Implementation of Proven Safety Countermeasures“:

  1. Medians and Pedestrian Crossing Islands in Urban and Suburban Areas
  2. Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK light, a pedestrian-activated traffic signal that stops traffic)
  3. “Road Diet” (Roadway Reconfiguration)

How can these proven safety features help West Windsor? The WWBPA recommends medians and/or pedestrian crossing islands for the new CR 571 design, along with a lower design speed and other measures, like a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK signal) at Sherbrooke Drive and 571.

A Rapid Flash Beacon, another type of pedestrian-activated signal, is planned for Sherbrooke and 571 – we hope it will greatly improve the safety of that crossing. Examples are at the trail crossing on South Mill and near the train station at Scott and Wallace. Studies of the Rapid Flash Beacon are promising, but of  the 22 roadways in one study, only 1 had a posted speed limit as high as CR571’s 40mph, and only 2 had about the same volume (17K-18K average daily traffic), and only 1 had more volume. So we’ll hope for the best.

A Road Diet is when the road is reconfigured from 4 lanes down to 3, one travel lane in  each direction and a center turn lane, plus bike lanes on each side. The WWBPA has long recommended road diets for Canal Pointe Boulevard and Alexander Road between Rt 1 and Vaughn Drive, and believes the treatment would be appropriate for Roszel Road and Carnegie Center Drive as well.

Why is the WWBPA for road diets in these areas but recommends medians and/or pedestrian crossing refuges for CR 571? The difference is in the  number and density of driveways – our Rt 571 downtown area has too many compared to office park settings like Canal Pointe and Carnegie Center.

 

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What’s in West Windsor’s Capital Budget

Friday, April 8 by silvia

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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Educating Drivers at Canal Pointe Blvd

Monday, October 25 by JerryFoster

Car OK to Go AheadThe Canal Pointe Condominium Association and the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance boards participated in a West Windsor Walk during the evening rush hour on October 21. The half hour event, held at the crosswalk to Market Fair near Mayfair Drive, was meant to raise awareness of the new state law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Participants, holding signs reminding drivers of the new law, observed conditions and traffic as pedestrians crossed, including commuters, joggers and shoppers, some with babies.

Since Canal Pointe Blvd is a 4 lane road, drivers in some cases didn’t know why cars in the adjacent lane stopped, since the pedestrian was blocked from view by the stopped cars. As a result, some did not stop, while others slammed on their brakes when they got close enough to see the pedestrian, very close to the edge of the crosswalk.

Also, people were not familiar with when it was OK to go again. According to the new law, a driver must stop whenever a pedestrian is anywhere in the roadway on the same side as as the vehicle is travelling, until the pedestrian has walked past one clear lane on the opposite side of the roadway. For Canal Pointe Blvd, that means stopping until the pedestrian is in the outside lane on the opposite side of the road.

In the picture at the top, it is OK for the vehicle to go, since the pedestrian is more than an opposite side lane away.

Inside Lane Car Went Too EarlyIn the picture left, the car on the inside lane went too early, since pedestrians have only just reached the side of the road they are traveling in. See the excellent diagrams provided by New Jersey Department of Transportation for more examples, and tell your friends and family to get up to speed on the new law!

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Demonstrating Pedestrian Safety

Friday, September 10 by silvia

Join the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance in a series of half-hour “West Windsor Walks” to educate drivers and pedestrians about the new law that requires motorists to stop and stay stopped when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.  Show that West Windsor cares about pedestrian safety!

  • Thursday, September 23, 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., by the crosswalk at Sherbrooke Drive and  Route 571
  • Saturday, September 25, 10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., to help celebrate Arts Center Opening Day, by the crosswalk at Alexander  Road and Scott Avenue
  • Wednesday, October 6,  7:15 a.m. to  7:45 a.m., to help celebrate National Walk to School Day, by the crosswalk at Clarksville Road and Route 571, by WW-P High School South.
  • Thursday, October 21, 5:30 p.m. to  6:00 p.m., by the crosswalk to MarketFair at Canal Pointe Boulevard & Mayfair Drive
  • Monday, November 8, 6:45 am. to 7:15 a.m., by the crosswalk at Cranbury/Wallace Roads & Route 571

Participants will wear yellow vests to attract attention and point drivers to signs reminding them of the new law.

Please email your RSVP (or ask questions) to wwbikeped@gmail.com.

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Our Message To West Windsor Government

Sunday, September 5 by silvia

WW Council UpdateThe West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is giving a televised presentation to the West Windsor Council and Mayor Shing-Fu Hseuh about why a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly community makes sense. Among our points: Tough times demand smart choices for our roadways, and biking and walking saves everyone money. Plus, a more liveable community is good for property values. We’ll also debunk some common myths, such as only motorists pay for roads and that adding traffic lanes solves congestion.

Come to the Council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 7 and join us for the WWBPA monthly meeting immediately after the presentation. (The meeting date has been changed from Thursday Sept. 9 because of Rosh Hashanah.) Or catch it on public access television. The WWBPA thanks the West Windsor Council for the opportunity to make this presentation.

Also on the Council agenda: a grant application for a path between seven office buildings along Alexander Road/Route 1 and the Princeton Junction train station; an engineering contract for sidewalks along North Post Road and Alexander Road; and an engineering contract for the reconstruction of the Alexander Road S-curve between Canal Pointe Boulevard and the D&R Canal.

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Road Diets: Still a Good Idea

Tuesday, July 20 by sandy

We’ve been advocating putting some of West Windsor’s roads on diets, principally Canal Pointe Boulevard and Alexander Road (see our post from May 2010).  A “road diet” means reducing travel lanes, for example, from four to two with a center turning lane, thus allowing room­ for bike lanes and sidewalks. This leads to  fewer changes in lane by cars and fewer accidents.

A June 2010 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that road diets still allow for the same number of cars on the roads, with from 19% to 47% fewer crashes (percentages vary depending on whether the road diet is in an urban or suburban area).

Road Diet, before lane reduction

Four-lane configuration before road diet

road diet after lane reduction

Three-lane configuration after road diet

Source for both photos: Pedestrian Bike Information Center, “Road Diets” training module, 2009.

Click here for a summary report in HTML or PDF.

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Time for Road Diets

Sunday, May 30 by sandy

Alexander Road at rushhour

Alexander Road could benefit from a "road diet."

The WWBPA  believes that Alexander Road and Canal Pointe Boulevard would benefit from road diets. A Seattle study of a road diet on one of its streets notes the following:

  • Speed has declined.
  • Collisions have declined.
  • Pedestrian Crossings are safer.
  • Bicycle volume has increased
  • Peak hour capacity has been maintained.

Read previous news items about Canal Pointe Boulevard.

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A Traffic Light for Canal Pointe?

Tuesday, March 16 by silvia

The crosswalk-free intersection of Meadow Road and Canal Pointe Boulevard

A resident of Canal Pointe has written to the mayor requesting that traffic lights be added to Canal Pointe Boulevard to counter the heavy traffic and speed of motorists so pedestrians can get to MarketFair and to and from the bus stop. In her  letter, Sherri Bobish also noted that it can even be difficult for motorists to exit the development at times because of the traffic.

The WWBPA, which received a copy of her letter, couldn’t agree more and followed up with a letter of its own, calling on the mayor to publicize a study of Canal Pointe Boulevard last year to look at ways to calm traffic that was commissioned by the township government and to implement the recommendations.

Canal Pointe Walk 4-2007

WWBPA's Canal Pointe Walk, April 2007

Unfortunately, the problems are not new. The WWBPA in its letter cited a study done six years ago that recommended a “road diet” for Canal Pointe, which could calm traffic without sacrificing road capacity. This solution was endorsed by the WWBPA during a walk with area residents in 2007 to highlight safety problems for bicyclists and pedestrians in the neighborhood. Read the original blog post.

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