Cycle Tracks Safer than Shared Roadway

Friday, February 11 by JerryFoster

Photo: Pierre Obendrauf, Montreal Gazzette

A recent study of Montreal cycle tracks showed they attract 2.5 times more bicyclists and have a 28% lower risk of injury, compared to similar roadways with no bicycle facilities.

Cycle tracks, also known as buffered bike lanes, are placed between the curb and on-street parked cars, sometimes with a physical barrier and other times with a painted buffer area. These lanes are a key feature of the Princeton Junction Redevelopment Area plan, but were removed from the Transit Village area in favor of the shared space concept.

The Montreal study, published in Injury Prevention Journal, is consistent with a recent New York City study, which showed 21% fewer injuries, a near tripling of bicyclists, and a reduction of bicyclists using the sidewalk from 46% to 4%. Click to read more coverage of the New York City study.

We have to confess to wishing these studies were available at the time Township Council was deciding to accept the proposed? lawsuit settlement with Intercap against the township.

Is it too late for West Windsor’s transit village?

Click here for the Montreal Gazette’s coverage of the Montreal study.

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NJDOT New Bicycling Manual

Sunday, January 16 by sandy

NJ Bicycle Manual CoverThe NJDOT just published (only online) the New Jersey Bicycle Manual. It’s not just for kids, either. Here’s a list of the covered topics, from the table of contents:

  • Selecting, Fitting & Equipping Your Bike
  • Quick Maintenance Checks
  • Off to a Good Start
  • Traffic Basics
  • Sharing the Road
  • Parking Your Bike
  • Difficult Situations
  • Riding at Night & in Rain and Snow
  • Riding with Others
  • Riding on Shared-Use Paths
  • NJ Bicycling Law & Roadway Restrictions
  • Traffic Signals, Signs and Road Markings

The manual includes lots of clear diagrams and photos to help cyclists navigate in a variety of situations (even how to share the road with pedestrians and horseback riders).

This is an excellent resource for both novice and experienced cyclists.

Read the WalkBikeJersey Blog review, but be sure to read the whole manual, too.

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What Changed at the Top in 2010

Saturday, January 8 by sandy

Proposed Schuykill trail segmentThe U.S. Department of Transportation posted its 2010 Record of Accomplishment, and the WWBPA sees some good things in it. Highlights include anti-distracted driving regulations and encouragement for more transportation opportunities. In particular, it helped level the playing field for bicyclists and pedestrians. This is a big accomplishment, particularly as some think bicyclists and pedestrians could lose out in some of the new Congress’s budget battles (see this analysis from the League of American Bicyclists).

Here’s some of what DOT did, in its own words:

In March 2010, DOT formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities to integrate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in federally-funded road projects. DOT discouraged transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians and encouraged investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.? Such recommendations include treating walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes, ensuring convenient access for people of all ages and abilities, and protecting sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected.? Through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants program, DOT funded major projects across the country that allow Americans to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on a bike or on foot.

One of the TIGER grants “will repair, reconstruct and improve 16.3 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that will complete a 128-mile regional network in six counties around Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey,” including the Schuylkill Trail, with artist’s rendering above.

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Freehold’s Bike and Pedestrian Plan

Tuesday, December 28 by sandy

Freehold Freehold residents and shop owners this month discussed a plan? to make the borough’s downtown friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians. Issues included adding a traffic signal, where to place bicycle racks, building more sidewalks, and police enforcement.

There’s still some apprehension among some people about some of the ideas put forth by some consultants, and the biking and walking community may be called on again to show their support. The borough will draft its own bicycle and pedestrian plan, due for release early in 2011. Councilman John Newman also noted the need for a Complete Streets policy.

Read more on the WalkBikeJersey blog.

Here’s some of what WalkBikeJersey had to say:

  • The plan presented by the consultants from Michael Baker Jr. was well thought out and clearly showed an understanding of the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians…Similar to the plan they put together for Morristown, the suggestions for Freehold also included a liberal use of bicycle lanes and sharrows on major streets where appropriate, accompanied by a reduction in motor vehicle lane width and limited elimination of on-street parking (the one street that they recommended this last action, they never observed cars parked on the street). They also suggested extending the Henry Hudson Trail further into town using the old railroad right-of-way, which is currently not used.
  • Despite general opposition from many downtown merchants, the proposed plan does call for bicycle parking be placed in select curbside locations on Main Street, which follows the bike parking standards detailed by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. However, if a curbside parking plan cannot be ratified by the Borough Council, the consultants did provide a ?Plan B? bike parking proposal that would provide better parking options if bicycle parking is still not allowed along the Main Street storefronts.
  • Probably the most unique part of the plan (and undoubtedly the coolest) was the bicycle map of the Borough that included a Bruce Springsteen bicycle tour. Freehold Borough has many historic sights due to its 300+ years of history and its close proximity to the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth… Still, Freehold is known the world over for being the birthplace of Bruce and there are many sights around town associated with ?The Boss.? While there are eight other historic sights and places of interest in the Borough, there are nine sights uniquely associated with Springsteen and the proposed bike map points them all out.

Read our previous post about Freehold.

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Dutch Neck Improvements

Wednesday, December 22 by silvia

Village Road and South Mill RoadWest Windsor is seeking one-year extensions on state funding for a number of bicycle, pedestrian and roadway improvements, including on Village Road West from Penn Lyle Road to Edinburg Road in Dutch Neck. The project is described on the township’s website as improved visual enhancements such as high-visibility crosswalks and in-street pedestrian signage for Village Road West at the intersections with Reed Drive, Oakwood Way, and South Mill Roads.

Other extensions are being sought for projects on Village Road West from about St. David’s Church to North Post Road; Wallace Road from Alexander Road to Route 571 (by the train station); the South Post Road bikeway from Village Road to the rowing center; and the next phase of the Penn Lyle Road improvements, which involves widening the road between Clarksville Road and Canoe Brook Drive.

Bob Hary, the township’s business administrator, said the intent is to put all the projects out for bid in the spring. He said at Monday’s council meeting that the extension is needed because the funding didn’t coincide with the township’s capital improvement plans.

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Sharrows for Princeton?

Thursday, December 16 by silvia

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee is asking Princeton Borough and Princeton Township to install “sharrows” along four streets:

  • Harrison Street from Faculty Road to Mt. Lucas Road;
  • Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Valley Road;
  • Nassau Street from Harrison to Bayard Lane; and
  • Paul Robeson Place/Wiggins Street/Hamilton Avenue from Bayard Lane to Snowden Lane.

Sharrows are shared lane markings that are being used in New York City, among other places, and were included for the first time this year in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a bible for transportation engineers. The markings depict a bicycle with directional arrows and are highly visible to motorists and help guide bicyclists to an appropriate place in traffic (and far enough from the risk of hitting an opening car door).

The advisory committee says sharrows are needed to fill the gap between sidewalks for novice cyclists and off-road trails for recreational cyclists. Those using their bikes for transportation (to Princeton University, the Dinky, downtown, and shopping centers, for example) and seeking direct routes currently are left out. Sharrows would work on Princeton’s narrow streets, where parking is a priority and there is no room left for bike lanes.

In its report, the committee wrote that “shared lane markings may be the only feasible and affordable intervention to improve the safety and comfort of cyclists on Princeton streets.” It noted that the four roadways it recommended for sharrows are where 60% of the bicycle accidents from 2008 through May 25, 2010 occurred and estimates that adding these markings to the road will cost $13,000 for every two miles of roadway.

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee Sharrows Policy Paper was presented to the Princeton Borough Council last week, and it isn’t clear when the borough and township will decide whether to follow the recommendations. The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance hopes that both will evaluate these recommendations seriously.

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Shared Space: Safe or Dangerous?

Wednesday, December 15 by JerryFoster

from Shared Space: Safe or Dangerous?Township Council recently adopted the shared space concept as fundamental to the lawsuit settlement with InterCap over the new Princeton Junction Transit Village. Under this concept, motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians share the roadway as peers. But is it safe?

Four European experts reported results of their studies of the shared space experience in the Netherlands in 2007 at the Walk21 Conference held in Toronto. Shared space was implemented several locations between 1998 and 2001, with studies published between 2003 and 2007.

Overall, “reported accidents have decreased substantially.” In one location, however, minor injury collisions persisted, and “bicyclists were overrepresented”.? Significantly, “police report only a (minor) part of the accidents. Particularly bicycle and pedestrian accidents are often not reported to the police. This means that reliable and valid conclusions regarding the safety of cyclists and pedestrians cannot be made.”

What makes shared space work? “At low speeds people have more time for communication and the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal utterances.”

What keeps it from working? “Children and people with a visual or mental handicap cannot be expected to comply. Also, the elderly are not always able to anticipate and react in time, especially not when it is crowded and many things happen in a short period. This group (in total 25% percent of the population!) runs a substantially raised risk.”

How do people feel about shared space? “Most respondents do not think the situations are safe. Both car drivers and bicyclists and pedestrians are critical about it. In Haren remarkably many people (90%) demand a clear choice regarding the position of the bicycle: either on a bicycle lane or on the carriageway. The experts prefer the bicyclist on the carriageway; the public prefers a separate recognizable lane.”

The WWBPA supports the shared space concept, but recognizes that to work, all roadway users must be provided with subtle guidance as to the preferred positioning within the space. Bicyclists must be encouraged to stay out of the way of opening car doors (the “door zone”), such as through the use of a special color or pattern of pavement to guide where they ride.

The current (pre-settlement) language in the redevelopment ordinance calls for buffered bike lanes to achieve this goal. This goal can be achieved in the shared space concept, but the language regarding bike lanes is proposed to be removed. Please contact our public officials with your questions or concerns regarding the safety of our proposed new shared space.

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Freehold, Springsteen and Bikes

Sunday, December 12 by silvia

Metz Bicycle MuseumFreehold is about to release a study by the New Jersey Department of Transportation about how to make the borough friendlier for bicyclists. But turning the study into reality is hardly a slam-dunk. Its supporters need our vocal support to help businesses overcome fears about cyclists on the sidewalk and bikes that aren’t locked to bike racks, among other things. (We say cyclists can bring in extra business, particularly if downtown is on a safe route to the Shore.) The key meeting is Monday, Dec. 20.

Read this email that the WWBPA received from John F. Newman, a Freehold councilman for the Springsteen connection and more:

About one year ago,?I was elected as a councilman in Freehold Borough.? One issue that immediately reared its head was an ordinance that was passed (before I was sworn in) which required bikes to be parked at bike racks in town, despite a dearth of bike racks.

I railed against this issue, and soon thereafter secured a NJ DOT grant to have a bike-ped study of the town.? That study is about to be unveiled to the public for their review and comment, but I am learning of some opposition to the study, namely how it could affect the downtown.

I am reaching out to bicycle advocates so that they can assist me in garnering support to ATTEND the meeting and bring their views of the benefits of a bike-friendly community. Being in Freehold Borough, some items in the DOT study were to link the Henry Hudson Trail to the downtown, link the rest of the 1.9 square mile borough to the downtown, and linking the borough to points outside its boundaries, such as the Monmouth Battlefield and other nearby parks. Also, within town is proposed a bike path/trail. This will?map out places of historic interest and a tour of Springsteen’s Freehold. Of course, the study also takes into account safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

As noted, there is some resistance. I would appreciate it if you and your friends could help me by attending the December 20, 2010 meeting. The public portion starts at Freehold Borough Hall at 4:00 until 6:30; then the council meeting starts at 7:00 where a presentation will be made directly to the mayor and council.

Your support and input will be greatly appreciated as well as your comments on the beneficial aspects bike-friendly communities – the concept still has to be sold.

You can read more about what Freehold has been doing on WalkBikeJersey. The state also has mapped a route that goes through Monmouth Battlefield.

And did you know this about Freehold’s role in bicycling history?? Cycling champion Arthur Augustus Zimmerman resided in the town during his racing career in the 1880s and 1890s, and from 1896-1899 operated the Zimmerman Bicycle Co.; the company’s bicycles were known as the “Zimmy.” Today, Freehold Borough is home to the Metz Bicycle Museum, where the only extant “Zimmy” can be seen.

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Bikeways and Master Plans

Tuesday, December 7 by silvia

Two New Jersey towns are working on some big bicycle-friendly improvements.

New Brunswick is close to building a 1.9-mile bikeway. As WalkBikeJersey explains, it should help residents of Highland Park reach the train station and will connect Rutgers’ Douglas campus with downtown, among other things. The bikeway will go from the intersection of Lafayette Street and College Avenue near the Route 18 John Lynch Bridge at its western terminus, to George Street and Bishop Street at the edge of the Douglas Campus to the east. From Lafayette Street, the bikeway would run on College Avenue to Huntington Street, then down George St to Albany St (NJ Rt 27). At Albany, there will be a spur that will run south to the train station while the main route would head north to Neilson Street. Then the bikeway would head east along the entire length of Neilson Street to Bishop Street, where it will turn right for a few hundred feet back to George St. This is more than just paint on the road, and one feature will be on-street, contra-flow bike lanes. See BikeWalkJersey’s blog for more details.

Hoboken is developing a bicycle and pedestrian master plan that includes narrowing extra-wide car lanes as a way to calm traffic and adding bike boxes, which put cyclists in front of cars at a red light for safety reasons. There also would be more police enforcement of speed limits and of laws requiring motorists to yield to pedestrians. The plan is now open to public comment. Read more on Streetsblog.

The WWBPA will be watching developments in both communities with interest and to see what might work in West Windsor.

Finally, an idea from Pennsylvania that can be easily copied: writing to our elected officials in Trenton and Washington asking for effective legislation to ensure that those motorists who injure, maim or kill pedestrians and cyclists are properly punished. This letter notes that all too often, they don’t face criminal charges.

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Tale of Two Engineers ? One Visionary, One Recovering

Thursday, December 2 by JerryFoster

A revolution is underway in how towns are being redesigned for livability, and it’s playing out right here in West Windsor. The late Hans Monderman launched a movement for better safety without signs and signals, while in the Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, another engineer realizes that “Wider, faster, treeless roads not only ruin our public places, they kill people.”

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), recounts the work of the late Hans Monderman, a Dutch traffic engineer who held to a maxim: ?When you treat people like idiots, they?ll behave like idiots.? In appropriate settings, he removed the signs and signals that tell drivers what to do. His goal? ?I don?t want traffic behavior, I want social behavior.? His work underlies the design for the promenade in the new transit village west of the train tracks.

In Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, Charles Marohn relates his professional experience “convincing people that, when it came to their road, I knew more than they did.” Why? “I had books and books of standards to follow.” Finally, “In retrospect I understand that this was utter insanity. Wider, faster, treeless roads not only ruin our public places, they kill people.”

This realization is slow in coming to our Rt 571 Main Street design, where the state guidelines are in place but the design hasn’t taken them into consideration.

Please help the county engineers learn from the transit village engineers by supporting the WWBPA’s recommendations for Rt 571 Main Street – slower speed, medians with pedestrian refuges and a pedestrian-activated signal that stops traffic at the crossing at Sherbrooke Drive.

This redesign is our chance to make drivers comfortable with the slower speed – just posting a lower speed limit will not effectively slow traffic. Our tale of two West Windsors might have the happy ending of a pedestrian-friendly Main Street and transit village promenade, leading to higher property values for us all.

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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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Newark Gets NJ?s First Protected Bike Lane

Saturday, November 27 by silvia

New Jersey Future, a website that reports on open-space preservation, transit-oriented development and more, writes:

Bicycling has?grown steadily in popularity over the past decade across the country, both as a form of recreation and, more often, transportation. One sign of this shift in New Jersey has been the?appearance?of bicycle advocacy groups including the Brick City Bike Collective in Newark, the?West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance, and the?Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, to help push for the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians. Infrastructure to accommodate this new interest in bikes, however, has been slower to develop.

That is starting to change, albeit slowly. The state,?several towns and at least one county have already adopted ?Complete Streets? policies that call for the accommodation of all users, not just motorists, when designing new and retrofitted roads. Now, the City of Newark is working on what will be the state?s?first protected bike lane. The lane, which will run on Mt. Prospect Avenue in the city?s Forest Hill District between Branch Brook Park and the Heller Parkway, is part of a larger effort that will include?new sidewalks, flower planters, trash receptacles, trees, traffic signals, and benches along the stretch. The project is being done with the help of Sam Schwartz Engineering, and is funded by the city?s Urban Enterprise Zone. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

The bike lane is an innovative and exciting development for Newark, and should inspire more cities to construct their own protected bike lanes. Yet the fact that this project is so noteworthy indicates how far we have to go in making our streets safe and inviting for everyone. Bicycle and pedestrian?accommodations?should be the norm, not the exception, when designing our roads, and should be as an integral component of every project?s budget, not a special add-on paid for by supplemental funds. The state Department of Transportation?s Complete Streets policy goes a long way toward making this a reality, but it applies only to state roads, which make up a small percentage of the all the roads in the state. It is up to counties and municipalities, like Newark, to adopt Complete Streets policies of their own, and make sure that projects like these are routine, not remarkable.

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Bike Lanes, Paths or Highways?

Friday, November 26 by sandy

Separate bike lanes and paths, or share the road? This is a lively debate in the bicycle advocacy community,? almost as controversial as whether bike helmets are good for cycling because they save lives or bad because they discourage too many potential cyclists (also known as the “dork factor”).

Some say paths separated from the roadway are safer and encourage more cyclists. But such paths are costly, have their own conflicts (different speeds among cyclists and between cyclists and pedestrians). Plus, the law says bicyclists have a right to the road (and must follow all the rules of the road). By taking their place in the road, share-the-road proponents say, drivers must acknowledge the presence of cyclists and either pass them safely or go at a slower speed. Poorly designed bike lanes, such as those too close to parked cars and/or traffic, might mean less safety, as one study found. The WWBPA has recommended a two-foot buffer between a lane of parked cars and a bike lane to prevent cyclists riding into a door that is being opened (“dooring”).

One idea in between is “bicycle boulevards,” which optimize low-volume and low-speed streets for bicycle travel and discourage cut-through vehicle traffic (a plus for residents!). In Denmark, Copenhagen is extending its bicycling network outward into the suburbs, creating what the blog Copenhagenize calls “bicycle superhighways,” for commutes of six miles or more. Other interesting ideas are “green wave” traffic lights, which coordinate the signal timing to hit green lights along your route, “branded” signage for specific routes, even bicycle service stations along the way.

What’s your take?

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West Windsor’s New Woonerf

Wednesday, November 24 by JerryFoster

PJ Promenade as Shared SpaceTownship Council adopted a new concept Monday night for shared streets, also called a woonerf, for the Princeton Junction Transit Village. What’s a woonerf, and how does it work?

Developed by Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman, a woonerf is a street where pedestrians and bicyclists share the roadway with motorists as equals.? This concept goes by a number of other names, such as Living Streets, Home Zones or shared space.

The safety of such spaces depends on extremely slow speeds and one-on-one human eye contact to negotiate movement through the space. Read about one town’s experience with removing traffic lights.

The WWBPA made several recommendations to improve the bikeability of the proposed area, including more bike parking at the Farmers Market and in residential parking structures, as well as requiring back-in diagonal parking for improved safety.

The WWBPA is confident that this plan, if built as shown in the pattern book, will be eminently walkable, and will provide those bicyclists who are comfortable in traffic with a wonderful place to stop and enjoy the amenities, like the Farmers Market. We are hopeful that motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians will embrace the new shared street and quickly learn to navigate without traditional traffic control.

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Lawrence Township Adopts Complete Streets Policy

Sunday, November 21 by JerryFoster

Lawrence Townhall

Lawrence Township Hall

On September 21, 2010 Lawrence’s Township Council passed a Complete Streets Resolution, which calls for “all public streets … to safely accommodate travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit and motorized vehicles and their passengers, with special priority given to bicyclist and pedestrian safety”.

Lawrence is one of the leaders in adopting Complete Streets in New Jersey, joining the state, Monmouth County, Montclair, West Windsor, Hoboken, Red Bank and Netcong.

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes “has directed his staff to consider context-sensitive solutions that enhance safety for all travel modes whenever the County implements an improvement”, according to a recent press release. Can a Mercer County Complete Streets Policy be far behind?

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A Bridge With Room For Bikes and Pedestrians

Saturday, November 20 by silvia

From the Atlantic City Press

A bridge (really two two-lane spans) being built to connect Ocean City with Somers Point (near Atlantic City) includes space for both bicyclists and pedestrians as it connects Atlantic and Cape May counties and eliminates some traffic bottlenecks. As an article in the Atlantic City Press notes, bicyclists and pedestrians were forbidden to cross the old causeway, which has virtually no shoulder and no sidewalks. The new bridge will have a 10-foot-wide bike path.

Construction has begun, and the new causeway, which replaces four low bridges on Route 52, should be open in December 2012.

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Completing Rural Roads

Wednesday, November 17 by sandy

Clarksville and Cranbury intersectionMany of the main roads in West Windsor were originally designed for an agricultural economy. Changing them to accommodate suburban design is a challenge.

Nadine Lemmon, writing for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, discusses this problem in The Challenges of “Completing” Rural Roads.

A sobering statistic is that even though most people live and work in cities, 28% of pedestrian and 30% of bicycle fatalities in 2009 occurred on rural roads.

Many times, Main Street doubles as the most direct connection to the next town, so the risk is that cars are moving faster in an area where people are on foot. Beyond Main Street, those different users, traveling at different speeds, share the road. Changing the road design, such as narrowing? the roadway or adding trees and other sight-improvements, can slow down traffic, making the road safer for all. Widening roads is not only costly but encourages faster speeds.

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How Can We Tell a Main Street Roadway Design?

Thursday, November 11 by JerryFoster

571/Wallace-Cranbury morning commute 4What is a Main Street and how can we tell a Main Street design when we see it? For West Windsor, this question is important because the county reviewed a Concept Design for Rt 571 in December?2009. Is it a main street design?

The Princeton Junction Redevelopment Plan adopted in March 2009 has a goal to “create a ?Main Street? through incremental development that would transform the existing strip commercial form of development along Route 571 into a village form, with buildings close to the street. The objective is to achieve a desirable mix of pedestrian-friendly, village scale development with an emphasis on uses that service local needs. A village character would be created by encouraging pedestrian flow and stores and shops and personal service establishments on the ground floor of buildings and the use of upper floors for offices and residential dwelling units.?

Excellent so far, but what of the roadway itself? How do we know if the street supports these planned uses, or if it’s pedestrian-friendly?

Fortunately for West Windsor, many communities have faced these issues in the past, and based on that experience NJDOT and PennDOT compiled a comprehensive and flexible set of design standards in the Smart Transportation Guidebook, published March 2008. Following is a high level introduction, with extensive quotations.

Why Smart Transportation?

“NJDOT and PennDOT cannot always solve congestion by building more, wider and faster state roadways. There will never be enough financial resources to supply the endless demand for capacity. Further, both states realize that the ‘wider and faster’ approach to road construction cannot ultimately solve the problem. … The desire to go ‘through’ a place must be balanced with the desire to go ‘to’ a place.”

Context Sensitive Design

“Roadways should respect the character of the community,and its current and planned land uses.? If appropriately designed,? vehicular speeds should fit local context. The concept of desired operating speed? … is key to the context sensitive roadway.”

Design Elements

Three kinds of design elements are described:

“Desired Operating Speed: This is the speed at which it is intended that vehicles travel.

Roadway: The design team should select roadway elements and geometry with a clear understanding of surrounding land uses.

Roadside: The roadside primarily serves the pedestrian and the transit rider and provides a transition between public and private space.”

Land Use Context

Seven land use contexts are described – Rural, Suburban Neighborhood, Suburban Corridor, Suburban Center, Town/Village Neighborhood, Town Center, and Urban Core.

Roadway Categories

Overlaying traditional functional categories, the guidebook describes a typology “which better captures the role of the roadway within the community.” These categories are Regional Arterial, Community Arterial, Community Collector, Neighborhood Collector and Local.

Main Street

“Main Street is characterized by:
? Wide sidewalks and regular pedestrian activity;
? Street furniture and public art;
? Heavy use of on-street parking;
? Speeds of 30 mph or less;
? Preferably no more than two travel lanes, although three to four lanes are seen on occasion.

The Main Street would typically belong to the Community Arterial road type, or to the Collector road type. This is the case on Route 27 in New Jersey; this roadway hosts two Main Street segments between New Brunswick and Trenton, in the towns of Princeton and Kingston.”

Tables are provided which describe the appropriate roadway design standards for each type of roadway and land use context.

Based on the provided descriptions, the WWBPA believes Rt 571 is a Community Arterial in a Suburban Center, with the plan to become a Town Center over time. The table for a Community Arterial in a Suburban Center recommends the following (in part):
Lane Width: 10 – 12 ft
Shoulder Width: 4 – 6 ft
Bike Lane: 5 – 6 ft
Median: 12 – 18 ft for Left Turn, 6 – 8 ft for Pedestrian
Clear Sidewalk Width: 6 ft
Desired Operating Speed: 30 mph

The WWBPA reviewed the proposed Concept Design for Route 571 against these and other Smart Transportation Guidebook design standards – please read our recommendations published January 2010.

The WWBPA believes the county engineers should consider these design standards in developing a Route 571 roadway that supports our goal of a Main Street for West Windsor. Please support our call for the engineers to review the design against the Smart Transportation Guidebook by contacting our public officials.

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Turn Off The Lights

Saturday, November 6 by silvia

Imagine what would happen if traffic lights were turned off. How would traffic and motorists’ behavior change? The results in this English town surprised everyone.

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Roadways Designed for Speeding?

Friday, November 5 by JerryFoster

Cars Don't Want to Stop from 40mphAccording to NJDOT’s Smart Transportation Guidebook, many different factors come into play when choosing a desired operating speed for a roadway. From the discussion of speed:

“Desired operating speed is best explained by its relationship to three other concepts of speed: operating speed, posted speed, and design speed.

Operating speed is the speed at which a typical vehicle operates, commonly measured as the 85th percentile speed of all vehicles.

Posted speed is the legal speed limit on a roadway. It is often set without any means of self enforcement, and drivers tend to travel at what they perceive as a safe speed regardless of the posted speed. Fewer than a third of drivers go the speed limit on urban and suburban arterials.

Design speed (as defined in the AASHTO Green Book) is the speed used to determine various geometric design features, including horizontal curvature, gradient, superelevation, stopping sight distance, and, for rural highways only, lane width.

Historically, New Jersey has required the design speed to be 5 mph above posted speed for existing roadways, and 10 mph for new roads.

The greatest drawback to the existing design speed approach is that drivers usually drive as fast as they believe the road can safely accommodate.

Existing policy may thus encourage operating speeds higher than the posted speed limit and/or selected design speed in an area.

In the interest of highway safety, it is desirable to have a stronger relationship between the posted speed limit, design speed, and operating speed. Therefore, this guidebook recommends that the desired operating speed for most roadway types be the same as the design speed, and also the same as the posted speed.”

According to the Rt 571 Concept Design reviewed by county engineers in December 2009, the Main Street Princeton Junction design speed is 45mph, posted speed is 40mph, keeping the same values as exist currently.

Vehicle speed affects pedestrians’ safety in a number of different ways.

Likelihood of Collision

?Faster speeds increase the likelihood of a pedestrian being hit,? according to Federal Highway Administration’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

Severity of Collision

If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle traveling at 40mph, he/she has a 15% chance of survival, but if the vehicle is going 30mph, chance of survival increases to 55%, according to the Federal Highway Administration’s Pedestrian Facilities Users Guide: Providing Safety and Mobility (2002).

Crosswalk Compliance

Last, motorist compliance with yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks is significantly improved by reducing vehicle speed to below 35mph, according to the federal report Improving Pedestrian Safety at Unsignalized Crossings.

The WWBPA has requested the township to work with the county to follow the new NJDOT approach (called Context Sensitive Design) to choosing a desired operating speed, to support our emerging Main Street. NJDOT guidelines for a Community Arterial in a Suburban Center or Town Center context call for a desired operating speed of 25 – 30mph. Please support the WWBPA by contacting our officials, or write us an email at wwbikeped@gmail.com.

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Upcoming Events

Aug 24   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 07  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

Sept 21  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Bike Drive – Collecting bikes to support Trenton Boys & Girls Club

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

Oct 12   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Oct 26   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Halloween parade

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

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

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