Safer Pedestrian Crossing of Clarksville at Hawk

Monday, November 24 by JerryFoster

Hawk Clarksville 2 dark shotsWhat would you do? You’re walking at night, from the station to home north of Clarksville – up Scott Ave, through school grounds and the parking lot to the intersection of Clarksville and Hawk Drive.

There’s no marked crosswalk, but there is a streetlight. Or, you could go to the painted crosswalk at the opposite edge of school grounds, but there is no street light and no way to manually activate the blinking crosswalk lights that are set on a timer for the students.

Also, you’d then have to walk back to Hawk Drive to continue home.

What would you do? Cross under the street light without a painted crosswalk or at the painted crosswalk without light? See the picture for an approximation of the differences.

Please join us at the Twp Council meeting tonight, Monday November 24, 2014, to ask for an improved painted crossing with a streetlight, pedestrian-activated warning lights and turning on the existing speed display signs at all times, not just during school times.

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Proposed Changes to Clarksville / North Post Intersection

Saturday, March 30 by JerryFoster

The WWBPA has long been concerned about safety along Clarksville Rd, especially after a pedestrian was seriously injured while walking his dog at the intersection of North Post Road, near the municipal complex. Mercer County’s proposed changes (pictured) partly address and partly heighten these concerns, and should be remedied to make all legs of the intersection safer.

Following up on our letter to the county supporting the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s recommendations contained in their corridor study, Taming Traffic, we recently followed up with the following letter to the Mercer County Freeholders:

Dear Freeholders,

I am writing regarding the upcoming ordinance on the intersection of Clarksville and North Post Roads in West Windsor. As a citizen living very close to this intersection I observe the daily interactions of vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. As a trustee of The West Windsor Pedestrian and Bicycle Alliance I am concerned with all aspects of safe streets for pedestrians and bicyclists and want the County as well as the Township to remain committed to Complete Streets planning for safe bicycle routes everywhere.

The plans for North Post Road are very troubling. Heading south towards Conover, unlike all the other intersection approaches, there are three lanes of vehicle traffic instead of two.

My concern is safety for children and adults crossing this portion of the intersection heading to the Mercer County Library, Municipal Building, Senior Center and Post Office. This crosswalk is heavily used by pedestrians and the increase of vehicle lanes to four across is extremely unsafe for pedestrians, and there is no safe lane for bikes.

The second area of concern is the north side of the intersection on North Post Road. The plan shows a 17 foot lane with no provision for a separate bicycle lane, or even a shoulder. There is more than enough room for a vehicle lane as well as a bicycle lane, and this heavily used part of our town needs to have that bicycle lane marked. North Post Road is a popular route to and from the Municipal Complex and County Library and to and from the train station as well as the very popular Farmers Market.

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance sent a letter in September 2012, supporting changes to this intersection as described in the 2007 report from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (“Taming Traffic” p.38; diagram p.37). We strongly request you follow through with improving the safety here by following that plan (which does not include any separate right turn only lane).

Clarksville Road divides our community in two if traffic taming measures are not implemented. We need safe complete streets especially around our schools and libraries.

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for the March 28th meeting or would be there for the public hearing. I am asking for you to approve an ordinance with the safety of pedestrians in mind. A four lane road is not a safe road to cross.

Thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,
Kathleen Brennan
WWPBA Trustee

Please contact our officials with your support for making the Clarksville and North Post intersection safer for everyone – motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

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A Safer Penn-Lyle Road

Saturday, October 20 by silvia

The Penn-Lyle Road improvement project near High School South is complete, and its neighbors love it.  No longer do school buses block one lane of traffic every afternoon as they line up waiting for students to transport home.  At every other time of day, clearly marked bicycle lanes are a pleasure for bicyclists. After the improvements made last year to another stretch of this heavily traveled road, we now have bike lanes down the entire length, improving the bikeability of our community.

In addition, the reconfigured right turn lane, suggested by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (which also has suggested dedicated left-turn lanes in all directions at Clarksville and North Post Roads) improves visibility of approaching traffic from Clarksville Road for cars wanting to turn onto Clarksville Road from Penn Lyle Road, which traffic engineers are sure will cut down on accidents there.

This project, supported by the WWBPA, is another example of Complete Streets that take all users into account, and the traffic improvements have really made a difference.  Thanks, West Windsor Township.

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Weighing the Benefits of Bike Commuting

Thursday, May 31 by silvia

On this last day of National Bike Month, we want to share an inspiring story from David Porsche, a bike commuter we met at the Princeton Junction train station and who says thanks for being such a bike-friendly community. His route takes him along Clarksville Road from the southern end of town and he has found that almost all motorists are courteous–yes, during rush hour.

“I started bicycle commuting to the Princeton Junction train station a few years back.  I ride between five and 12 miles each way (to and from) Monday through Friday.  I ride all year round and in all types of weather.  The accessibility to safe roads and plentiful bicycle resources at the train station has made the transition from gas guzzler to cyclist incredibly easy.

Since I have started bicycle commuting I have lost over 80 pounds and feel like I have been given a fresh lease on life.  I have even joined one of the local area Fire Departments as a volunteer firefighter, something that was physically not possible before I decided to saddle up.”

David says he wanted to save money on parking and tried the bus, but he kept missing it and having to wait a long time for the next one. (All of us New York commuters know about train delays!) When he saw someone hop on a bike, he knew he’d found his solution. So thanks to the anonymous cyclists who inspired David, and we hope he will inspire you to try biking, whether to work, the station or for your next errand around town.

Want some more inspiration? A bike commuter on average loses 13 pounds in the first year. (David is clearly above average!) A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour. And just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. (All this comes from Trek’s 1 world 2 wheels booklet, available from the WWBPA.)

And thanks, David, for your “before” and “after” photo! Also inspiring!

 

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Public Comment Needed on Route 571 Main Street Project

Wednesday, June 22 by JerryFoster

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is putting out the New Jersey  federal transportation improvement projects for comment, including the Route 571 project between Clarksville and Cranbury roads. You can find details here:

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance’s recommendations for the project are here:

The current design calls for adding a center left turn lane, sidewalks and a bicycle-compatible shoulder, maintaining the existing design speed (45mph).

The problem is that the combination of same design speed, the additional center turn lane and roadway widening, but no pedestrian refuges halfway across the road will make it harder, not easier, to cross the street.

Essentially, there will be 30% more cars to dodge when crossing, which will be going faster than today, since they wouldn’t have to slow down for left-turning vehicles (which will be in the new center turn lane).

In our view, Route 571 is already too hard to cross, and this design will make it worse. Please join us in adding your comments to the DVRPC by following the instructions on their web page.

The stated goals are for a bicycle and pedestrian friendly main street, but the design details do not support the goals, according to the NJDOT Smart Transportation Guidebook. On the plus side, the recommended changes will save money and most importantly give us a Main Street we can be proud of, while still increasing  capacity.

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Avalon Watch Wins a Bus Shelter

Monday, January 31 by silvia

West Windsor’s planning board has told the Avalon Watch apartment complex to add a bus shelter on Clarksville Road within nine months. This came about at a planning board meeting in which the main point of contention was liability (New Jersey Transit was willing to install it and Avalon Watch was willing to maintain it but didn’t want the cost of added liability).

The WWBPA advocated for the crosswalk and refuge island that connects Avalon Watch and the shopping center and bus stop across the street, and applauds Avalon Watch resident Peter Manda for speaking up at the meeting in favor of the shelter with common-sense arguments. As he noted, residents now we stand on the hilly mound by the stop, and the bench is no help when it’s cold and wet and besides it’s too crowded or clustered there.

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More Room for Trails

Saturday, December 4 by silvia

Birch FungusWest Windsor’s latest acquisition of open space fits in with a strategy of developing a network of trails linking natural areas.  The latest purchase is 27.59 acres along Clarksville Road next to a nesting area for  blue herons.  The trail will run from Clarksville Road to parking lot (or nearest walking path) at the rear of Duck Pond Park, which fronts on Meadow Road, and will be developed in partnership with Friends of West Windsor Open Space (FOWWOS).

Because the path would cross Duck Pond Run and go through rather thick woods protected by wetlands restrictions, permits from the State Department of Environmental Protection will be needed.

FOWWOS was instrumental in developing the trails in the Millstone and Zaitz Preserves with help from the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance.

This latest acquisition will be paid for by funds from the township’s dedicated open space fund, Mercer County’s open space fund, and FOWWOS.

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New Path on Clarksville Road

Wednesday, December 1 by silvia

Princeton Terrace PathA multi-use trail has been built along the new apartment complex under construction just south of the railroad bridge. This is another step in making Clarksville Road friendlier for both cyclists and pedestrians, on top of the wider shoulders created along parts of Clarksville north of the Municipal Center this summer. This trail should expand as land parcels are developed. West Windsor’s master plan calls for an off-road path along Clarksville (and turning the road into four lanes) all the way to Quaker Bridge Mall, about a mile away. This is something many WWBPA members and friends have asked about and a safe route to the  mall for cyclists, walkers and joggers is something the WWBPA supports.

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