Bikeshare about to start in NYC

Tuesday, May 21 by ezeitler

Check out this new slideshow by our former trustee, Silvia Ascarelli. It talks about some things you may not know about bike sharing programs in cities in the US and around the world. I learned about bike share in smaller communities, which I’d not known about before. If we had some bikes available for bike share in West Windsor or Princeton or Plainsboro, where would YOU put the docking stations? Where would you want to borrow a bike to go to or from?

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Sunday links

Sunday, May 19 by ezeitler

Here’s what’s been shooting around the ped/bike blogs this week.

Inequality in pedestrian death victims from Streetsblog Capitol Hill: The elderly, people of color and men are more likely to be killed by cars while walking than other segments of our population, reported by the CDC.

Everyone can receive health benefits from biking to work from fitnessforweightloss.com: Infographic that reports health benefits from bike commuting, like 50% reduction in heart disease risk from 3 hours of biking per week.  Also suggests ways to get started.

Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure increased economic growth from America Bikes: New York City has been implementing new pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure and found, among other benefits, that local businesses grew around the new facilities. Where the protected bike lane was present, business sales increased by 49% compared to 3% in the borough as a whole. Businesses around a Brooklyn pedestrian plaza saw 172% growth relative to 18% in the borough as a whole.

Comment on regional transportation policy priorities from WalkBikeJersey: The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has released its annual transportation priorities, including a clickable map to make it easier to see what’s planned for our area. You can send them comments via the map or via email. It’s also interesting to see how much they plan to spend on projects. there’s a lot of zeros in those numbers, so let’s make sure that some of those millions go to bicycle and pedestrian improvements, as required by our state, county and municipal Complete Streets policies.

Any interesting stories we missed?

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Hudson River Loop Ride

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
(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

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Traffic-Free NYC

Monday, August 15 by silvia

Head to New York City this Saturday, Aug, 20, for the last of its three Summer Streets festivals and experience the city in a totally different way.

On these Saturdays, Park Avenue and connecting streets from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park (including the underpass under Grand Central!) are closed to all motor traffic from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are turned into a people-friendly venue on which to bike, skate, run, stroll and just hang out.

Here’s a report from WWBPA members Norma and Tim, with pictures they’ve taken over the years:

We first learned of Summer Streets four years ago when it began and have been returning each year for at least one and sometimes two or three events. In 2010, we took the Staten Island Ferry with our bikes and joined dozens of others in a ride up the West Side bikeway and then across town to City Hall where we started up the route first on Lafayette Street and then onto Park Avenue all the way up to 72nd Street, where we headed west into Central Park. Along the way, we passed dance troupes, Juan Valdez and his burro at the free coffee stand, swimming pools made from large metal containers with a “beach area with cabanas” on the side, through the tunnel at Grand Central Station and on up to the park. All manner of bike, tricycle and other people-powered vehicles wheeled gracefully uptown and downtown, and everyone– police officers, riders, joggers, and walkers–were in great high spirits and having a ball.
After riding for a couple of hours, we dropped our bikes off at the Bike Valet around 23rd Street and headed into the “Picnic Area,” where Whole Foods had set up booths to dispense goodies from yogurts to gelatos, cheeses to juices and all manner of free yummies. As 1p.m. approached, we headed back to the West Side and rode back to the ferry and started the boat and car trip back to Princeton Junction.
This year we decided to leave the bikes at home, ride the train in and take advantage of the “Free Bike Rentals” from Bike NY. We took our helmets and bike gloves in, as the thought of shared helmets was too much to contemplate. Once up from the depths of Penn Station, a brisk stroll east to Park Avenue got us to the pick-up station at 25th St. As we stood in line, we learned that the “free” portion is limited to 60 minutes, after which they charge $1/minute. The idea is to let everyone have a chance and to get a constant supply of bikes coming back. Within 20 minutes, we were on street bikes and heading uptown. The hour is enough time to go the majority of the route, but left no time to visit the entertainment venues, so next year, our own bikes go in with us. We did have a great time and the bikes provided were quite good.

To promote safety, the DOT has a “free helmet” program where you sign up and receive a brand-new helmet along with assistance in getting it correctly fitted. There are free bike repair areas and places where they provide training on how to ride. The whole experience is very bike and pedestrian friendly.

Thanks, Tim and Norma, for sharing this!


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Tour de Manhattan and More in May

Monday, April 25 by silvia

May is turning out to be a bicycling extravaganza! And that’s before West Windsor’s own BikeFest. These are some “event” rides that have caught our eye:

May 7 brings the 27th annual Farmlands Flat Tour (yes, flat!), organized by the Central Jersey Bicycle Club. Routes range from 15 to 100 miles and depart from Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, off exit 109 on the Parkway. Register by April 28 if you want the T-shirt.

If you’re missing (or are opting out) of Bike New York’s Five Boro Tour on May 1, there’s what we’ll call Tour de Manhattan, sponsored by the East Coast Greenway, on May 14. This is a 32-mile ride around the perimeter of Manhattan, starting at 10 a.m. from the East River Greenway and 61st Street (just south of the 61st St.  Dog Run at the bottom of the ramp).  The ride will be at a 10-12 mph pace and include the 13 miles of the Hudson River Greenway from Northern Manhattan all the way down to Battery Park. It also will highlight some of the gaps on the East River Greenway. The ride will finish at Glick Park at 37th Street around 2 PM.

Or head to Pennsylvania the same day for the Route 113 Heritage Corridor Ride (the revamped, rebranded River to River Ride). Routes through through Bucks and Montgomery counties range from 10 to 65 miles. Starting point is Souderton, PA, west of Doylestown.

A day later, it’s Tour de Montclair (and that’s its real name). The ninth edition of this annual ride starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday May 15 in Essex County’s Brookdale Park.

Finally, tour historic Trenton with the Trenton Cycling Revolution on May 21. The leisurely 15-mile police-escorted ride through Trenton’s historic streets and sights, diverse neighborhoods and community gardens leaves Cadwalader Park at 9 a.m.

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Buffered Bike Lanes Bring Out the Bicyclists

Thursday, January 27 by JerryFoster

Buffered Bike Lanes Work for Kids

The data is in! Implementing buffered bike lanes in New York City resulted in a 190% increase (nearly tripled!) in bicycling based on before and after counts. More significantly for pedestrians, the percentage of bicyclists on the sidewalk fell from 46% to 4%, and 32% of these cyclists riding in the bike lanes were children legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk!

Buffered bike lanes, which are placed between the sidewalk and the on-street parked cars, are a key feature of the Princeton Junction Redeveloment Plan, although they are replaced in the Transit Village area by the Shared Space concept, which mix bicycle and motor vehicle travel lanes.

According to a recent report, these dramatic results were for weekday counts between 7am-7pm. Weekend counts more than doubled (125% increase), and cyclists riding on the sidewalk fell from 20% to 4%, 43% of whom were children legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk.

Want to have fewer people biking on the sidewalk? Implement buffered bike lanes – they work for bicyclists of all ages and abilities.

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Get Ready for Five Boro Tour 2011

Thursday, December 30 by sandy

Bike NY 5 BoroMark your calendars! Bike New York’s TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour is Sunday, May 1, 2011. Registration begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 1. If history is any guide, it will sell out within days.

Last year 32,000 people participated in this 42-mile tour of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island that lets you cross the Verrazano Bridge on a bike. There will be riders of all ages and abilities — and bike traffic jams. So if you sign up, be prepared to be extra attentive to what those around you are doing.

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NYC’s Even-Handed Approach to Enforcement

Wednesday, October 27 by silvia

cyclist in NYC www.pedbikeimages.org / Laura Sandt

Cyclist in New York City, courtesy of www.pedbikeimages.org / Laura Sandt

New York City is stepping  up the ticketing of cyclists who break basic traffic rules, including those who run red lights. As the city’s transportation commissioner notes, the city has been friendly to cyclists by adding miles and miles of bike lanes. Now, she says, it’s time for cyclists to be friendlier to the city.

The law is simple: cyclists have the same rights AND responsibilities on the road as motorists. That means stopping for red lights and stop signs and riding with traffic, among other things.

New York also is focusing on getting motorists to obey the speed limit. (It’s 30 mph.) That makes the roads safer for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Here’s a sobering statistic from the transportation commissioner: “If you are a pedestrian and you are hit by a car at 40 miles per hour, there’s a 70 percent chance that you will die. If you’re a pedestrian hit by a car at 30 miles per hour, there’s an 80 percent chance that you will live.”

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Teen Reports on New York City Biking

Tuesday, October 12 by JerryFoster

A West Windsor teen offered this report after her first bike trip on New York City streets on a warm and sunny October afternoon:

“Biking in New York City is a unique experience. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just interesting. There are many bike lanes all over the city, and they are extremely nice–that is, except when people park their cars in them!

“The main downside to New York City bike lanes is that they’re erratically placed. Bike lanes will stretch on for blocks and be extremely easy to see and follow, and then they’re gone without warning, and bicyclists are forced to either bike in the left lane and oftentimes ignore ‘Left Turn Only’ lanes or bike on the sidewalks, neither of which is especially fantastic. However, more often than not, there are bike lanes. And on many smaller streets, if there is no bike lane, there are ‘Share the Road’ little painting things on the street itself (a bicyclist with two chevrons over top). My dad tells me they’re called ‘sharrows.’

“Anyway, biking through New York is extremely nice, especially on the waterfront. There are waterfront paths on the Hudson and on the East River that are both bicycle and pedestrian friendly.”

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Buffered Bike Lanes for Brooklyn

Tuesday, September 21 by JerryFoster

See the new Streetfilm that shows buffered bike lanes implemented near Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  These lanes are between the curb and the onstreet parked cars, just like those called for in the Princeton Junction Redevelopment plan, as advocated by the WWBPA.

Buffered bike lanes are so named because there is a striped buffer painted on the pavement that allows people to get in and out of their car without encroaching on the bike lanes or “dooring” a passing bicyclist (hitting the bicyclist with the door).

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When Drivers Flout Traffic Laws

Tuesday, September 7 by silvia

children Break adA driver backing down a street to a parking spot in New York City struck a child in a crosswalk, nearly killing her. The penalty? A traffic ticket. The police said they couldn’t do more against this sober driver.

The child’s outraged mother channeled her anger into changing a New York law, as the New York Times recounts. Now those who flout the law and injure pedestrians can lose their licenses for six months (a year for repeat offenders). Watch for a series of public service announcements this month on NYC buses and bus stations aimed at educating motorists about local traffic laws.

Slow down and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists in West Windsor, too! The tiny bit of time gained isn’t worth the pain from an accident.

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What’s Behind Pedestrian Accidents in New York?

Friday, August 27 by silvia

courtesy of www.pedbikeimages.org/Laura Sandt

New York City has just done a big study on 7,000 pedestrian-motorist crashes that have resulted in serious injuries or fatalities and their causes. As the New York Times put it, male drivers and left turns were the biggest culprits. Cabs,  buses and trucks account for fewer collisions than private cars. The city already is planning a series of changes, including eliminating some parking spots so that pedestrians and left-turning motorists can more easily see each other.

Other findings, according to Streetsblog: Driver inattention is the most common cause of crashes that seriously injure or kill pedestrians; failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk is responsible for 27% of such crashes; speeding is a factor in more than 20% of such crashes, but most New Yorkers don’t know the citywide speed limit is 30 mph.

And a lesson that is applicable to West Windsor: Not surprisingly, more crashes occur when visibility is poor. With daylight hours shrinking, think about how to make yourself more visible (such as with reflective vests, hand-held flashing lights).

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NYC’s Car-Free Summer Saturdays

Saturday, July 24 by silvia

New York City is once again temporarily closing Park Avenue and connecting streets from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park to motor vehicles and open it up to people on three consecutive Saturdays in August (August 7, 14, & 21). Bike, walk, people-watch … it’s a giant block party!

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Day Hikes

Wednesday, June 16 by sandy

Day Hikes Near PhiladelphiaAuthor Susan Charkes will speak about her book, Day Hikes Near Philadelphia, at the Princeton Public Library on Thursday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.

The publisher, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), notes:

“This easy-to-use guide will help you explore Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware year-round, from lesser-known excursions to area favorites, including several hikes on the Appalachian Trail. Each trip includes useful information such as a detailed map showing parking areas and natural highlights, and a summary of trip characteristics.”

Susan Charkes’ writing is featured on SustainableLawrence. org; she was an environmental planner for the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.

Also available from the AMC is Day Hikes Near New York City by Daniel Case.

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NYC Makes Pedestrian-Friendly Broadway Permanent

Friday, February 12 by silvia

Times Square, courtesy of NYCDOT

After an eight-month trial, New York City officials said those new public spaces around Times Square and Herald Square (and the sections of Broadway closed to motorized traffic) will become permanent. They noted that accidents have decreased and overall traffic speeds have increased (though not as much as city officials had hoped, the New York Times noted). Of course, these plazas also have been wildly popular, particularly during good weather, and the changes are generally backed by area businesses.

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New York City’s Latest Experiment

Monday, January 25 by silvia

image: MTA/NYC DOT

New York, which has championed a number of innovative transportation projects, including pedestrian-free sections of Broadway and bike lanes between the curb and street parking on Ninth Avenue, has outlined possible changes on First and Second Avenues. They include protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuge islands. On most of the corridor, the plan calls for bike lanes along the left curb, protected by a floating parking lane.

Read the preliminary plan from the First Avenue / Second Avenue Select Bus Service Community Advisory Committee.

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