Thursday, May 30 by ezeitler
Saturday, June 1st is National Trails Day, where people all over the country will be getting out to enjoy and build up our trails. We’re lucky to have so many great trails in the parks and along the waterways in NJ and if you go out any time from sunrise to sunset, the crowds will tell you how popular they are for both recreation and transport. Where do you wish we had a trail where we don’t? I know the extension of the Trolley Line Trail as part of the Knight Trail is one item on the wish list of the students in West Windsor and Plainsboro. Where else would a trail help you to get around more safely and comfortably, or help you to get out and about walking and hiking?
For those wanting to get out on National Trails Day, here are some of the events happening in our area in celebration of National Trails Day:
Help build a new trail at Scotts Corner Conservation Area
Help the NJ Audubon Society maintain the trails in the Plainsboro Preserve
Run from Trenton to Piscataway on the D&R Canal Towpath. They start around 5 AM for the 34.1 mile run! Those who “only” want to run 20 miles start at Rocky Hill.
For all the events in New Jersey from the shore to the Delaware Water Gap and to search PA, NY, etc
WWBPA will be at the Farmers’ Market on June 1st to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Stop by our booth and say hi before you head out hiking, walking and biking!
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Thursday, August 30 by silvia
Join the WWBPA for the last of our 2012 bike rides. Our goal is to help you feel comfortable getting around by bike and showing you some new routes. The next one is Sept. 15 (rain date Sept. 16th): a five-mile loop down the Trolley Line Trail and along Penn-Lyle past High School South and back to the park. Meet at the tennis courts at Community Park (North Mill Road entrance) at 2:15 p.m.; ride leaves at 2:30 p.m.
Our last ride will be Oct. 6 (rain date Oct. 7). Our sixth annual Community Bike Ride (plus walk) is an 8-mile round trip down the D&R Canal to Brearley House and the new Lawrence Hopewell Trail, and back. Come learn about this new 20-mile route! Meet at 2:15 p.m. at Turning Basin Park parking lot (Alexander Road and the towpath); the ride leaves at 2:30 p.m. Walkers, meet at Port Mercer parking lot, 4278 Quakerbridge Road, for a 2.5-mile loop, also at 2:15 p.m.
No preregistration is necessary for either ride; just bring a bike in good working order and a helmet. The ride itself is free. Children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult. We will adjust routes as needed because of road construction. Check back on our website or Facebook page for final details.
Our August ride was to Plainsboro Preserve. Nearly 20 people took part. The kids loved the bugs; the adults discovered the point jutting into the lake. Some of us rode from Community Park, and others met the group at Town Center Elementary School.
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Heading to the Plainsboro Preserve
Tuesday, August 7 by silvia
Our July bike ride stopped at Van Nest Park
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance invites cyclists of all ages to join us on the third in our series of casual family-friendly rides, on Saturday, Aug. 18. The destination of our “bugs and bikes” ride is the Plainsboro Preserve, 80 Scotts Corner Road, where participants can opt to take part in the family nature program ($5/per person).
Meet at West Windsor Community Park tennis courts (off the North Mill Road entrance) for a 12-mile roundtrip ride at 2:15 p.m. or at Town Center School in Plainsboro for 5-mile roundtrip ride at 2:45 p.m. Walkers are also welcome and should arrive at the preserve by 3:15 p.m. We will use quiet streets and bike paths as much as possible. Those on the 12-mile ride should be comfortable riding on slightly busier streets.
The preserve’s nature program begins at 3:30 p.m., and pre-registration for that program is recommended (609-897-9400). Those who choose not to take part can join us for a casual walk around the preserve before heading home. (No biking in the preserve itself!)
There is no charge for the WWBPA ride, nor is pre-registration necessary. Just bring a bike in good working order and a helmet. Children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult. Check our website (wwbpa.org) or Facebook page for any changes. The rain date for this ride is Sunday, Aug. 19.
Additional rides are planned for September and October. Thanks to all who took part in our July ride–an 11-mile tour of historic West Windsor sites–and our short ride for ice cream in June.
Where would you like to ride?
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Wednesday, May 2 by silvia
May is National Bike Month, and the week of May 13 is Bike to Work Week. A number of events are planned in West Windsor and neighboring communities; one (or more) is sure to be right for you. We’ve also included a few for walkers. (Note that not all events listed below are organized by the WWBPA)
May 5: West Windsor Walks to the opening day of the farmers’ market. Join us at 8:50 a.m. in the parking lot at the back of Maurice Hawk Elementary school for a leisurely stroll of just over a mile. We’ll start walking at 9 a.m. and are excited that the route this year will take us along some stretches of sidewalk that weren’t there last year. Kids will be challenged by a game of “I Spy.” People in wheelchairs and kids in strollers are welcome.
May 6: Bring your child (up to age 10) and bike to a free bike skills class at Plainsboro’s Founders Day. Princeton’s police department is sponsoring a separate bike skills class that includes a bike obstacle course on May 19; call 921-2100, ext. 1848 for details.
May 11-12: Adults aren’t being left out. This skills class, offered through the West Windsor Recreation Department, is for those who want to boost their confidence when riding on the road. Cost is $50, but the WWBPA will reimburse $25 of the cost for members. Plus we’ll cover the other $25 for the first five members who write a review of the class that we can use on our website.
May 12: Buy a bike at Bike Exchange in Ewing and get a free helmet from Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association. Learn more about this and other GMTMA events during National Bike Month here.
May 14-18: National Bike to Work Week. Register for a free T-shirt and a raffle with GMTMA.
May 15: Bikers Breakfast at the Princeton Junction train station, sponsored by the WWBPA and Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, starting at 6 a.m. Grab a drink and a snack on us. Want a bike locker? We’ll tell you how to get one.
May 16: The WWBPA is supporting one of three area Ride of Silence events to honor cyclists killed or injured on the roads. Meet at 6:45 p.m. in the Municipal Center parking lot; the silent one-hour ride will leave at 7 p.m. We will have a West Windsor police escort and a funeral hearse courtesy of Mather Hodge. We suggest you wear a black armband and turn on your front and rear lights. We will stick together for the entire 10-12 mile route. Last year, more than 12,000 cyclists took part in events around the world.
May 19: Tour historic Trenton with the Trenton Cycling Revolution. More information about this 15-mile ride and registration at www.trentoncycling.org.
May 26: BikeFest, West Windsor’s bicycling extravaganza, with rides for people of all abilities, from 1.5 miles to 40 miles. Register at www.westwindsorbikefest.com. Say “hi” to the WWBPA after your ride!
June 16: The WWBPA holds a free “learn to bike” class for kids who want to get off training wheels at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market. Watch the video of last year’s class. Note: This is a members-only event.
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Monday, April 23 by silvia
So your child knows to how to bike but needs some extra safety skills? As part of Plainsboro’s Founders Day celebration, the township’s recreation department is sponsoring a free “bicycling skills 123” class on Sunday, May 6 for kids up to age 10. Instructors certified by the League of American Bicyclists will teach them about cycling safety and responsible riding.
Participants will learn about and practice stopping, proper signaling, and other aspects of basic traffic safety. They will also ride in a “chaos box” to demonstrate the importance of following the rules of the road.
Come with a bike and helmet to the municipal grounds between 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The WWBPA is delighted to support the event.
Can’t make it? BikeFest will include a “bike rodeo” where kids can practice their skills.
Adults can take a more intensive traffic skills class through the West Windsor Recreation Department.
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Tuesday, January 17 by silvia
When Trenton Times columnist Mea Kaemmerlen wrote about West Windsor being designated New Jersey’s first bicycle-friendly community, she threw out a challenge to her town of Plainsboro: Catch up.
We heard it, as did some Plainsboro residents. So please join us and your neighbors at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1 at the Plainsboro Library to discuss your ideas for better biking and walking in the community.
Where do you and your family want to ride or bike, and what would make it easier? The WWBPA wants to partner with people who live, work, or even go to school in Plainsboro. Together we’ll explore some ways to make Plainsboro a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly community.
Please help us spread the word to your friends and neighbors. Hope to see you there!
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Monday, August 22 by silvia
Plainsboro’s township committee voted last month to lower the speed limit on Edgemere Avenue, in a residential area in the center of town and next to a school, from 35 mph to 25 mph. The change will take effect later this summer.
Getting a speed limit reduced is no easy feat, but it has become easier because of a change in the law in 2008. As the Princeton Packet noted, township engineers now can change speed limits without DOT approval. They just need approval from their engineering department and governing bodies. This should encourage all of us who want speed limits reduced on other roads.
Edgemere Avenue is getting roadway improvements, including repaving, and new speed limit signs will be installed followed by the police conducting an educational enforcement campaign.
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Saturday, June 25 by silvia
Here’s a case of when it pays off to be stopped by the police:
Police departments in several Middlesex County municipalities, including Plainsboro and Cranbury, are giving a “summons” to any kid spotted wearing a helmet while biking (or doing another wheeled activity) between June 21 and Sept. 30. Each summons can be redeemed for free items, such as a scoop of ice cream or slice of pizza, and enters the child in a raffle drawing for a new helmet and bicycle at the end of the campaign.
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Safe Kids Middlesex County is once again partnering with county and local governments to make this program happen. You can read more about it here.
Wearing a helmet isn’t just the law for kids under 17; it makes sense for cyclists of all ages. You only have one brain, and even an seemingly innocent fall the wrong way can do serious damage.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 190,000 children sustain head injuries each year while participating in wheeled activities. Brain injuries often have lifelong effects, such as problems with thought processes, mobility and emotions. There is no cure for brain injury so prevention is extremely important.
Talk to the WWBPA about how to fit your helmet properly so it doesn’t slide around. There’s a science to it!
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Monday, May 16 by silvia
Plainsboro has awarded a contract to construct a bike path on Plainboro Road from Maple Avenue (by the railroad bridge) to Prospect Avenue, one block east. That will fill in a key gap in the township’s bike network.
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Monday, May 9 by silvia
Middlesex County has created a traveling sign aimed at informing motorists about the law that took effect last year and requires motorists to stop — not just yield — for pedestrians in crosswalks. The sign also spells out the consequences of those caught not doing so: two points plus a $200 fine.
The sign can be requested by any Middlesex municipality. So where would be a good spot in Plainsboro? “Pick a street, ANY street” is what we were told via Facebook. What do you think?
The Middlesex County sign looks like this:
The WWBPA made up its own signs last year:
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Monday, April 4 by silvia
Coming soon: a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Schalks Crossing bridge
Gov. Christie’s proposed NJDOT transportation capital program for the fiscal year that begins in July includes $8.7 million to replace the bridge deck over the railroad tracks on Schalks Crossing Road, heading north in Plainsboro toward South Brunswick.
A shared bicycle/pedestrian sidewalk lane will be provided through cantilever additions along both the east and west sides. (As the WWBPA noted in a letter to the Princeton Packet in 2009, the bridge on Clarksville Road could use this too.)
Roadway improvements would include milling and resurfacing the existing roadway approaches for tie-ins to the bridge.
The state’s capital program also includes funds for a New Brunswick Bikeway (which would link the various Rutgers campuses), various intersection treatments, and grade-separation crossings at locations in Middlesex and Union counties that intersect with the state highway system and will allow for a safe crossing along the East Coast Greenway route.
We’re also intrigued by a Lawrence Township project that is receiving $30,000 as part of an effort to turn a stretch of Business U.S. 1 into a pedestrian-friendly roadway that slows speeds and promotes business development. It’s described this way: “The roadway cross section (traveled way) will be reduced to provide 11-foot travel lanes, on-street parking along the northbound side of Route 1B, pedestrian “bulb-outs,” crosswalk enhancements and a 16-foot-wide center median, which can be planted with suitable low ground cover, flowers, etc.” The state’s five-year transportation capital plan calls for $4.3 million in the fiscal year that begins in July 2012 to cover construction costs. Sounds like a Complete Street!
Other projects include $3.5 million for right-of-way acquisitions as part of proposed safety improvements along Route 1 between Nassau Park and I-95. The five-year plan calls for spending nearly $9 million two years later for the actual construction. You can read more about these projects here.
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Monday, March 21 by JerryFoster
Big thanks go out to NJ DOT, who recently installed new warning signs for the multi-use trail along Scudders Mill Road, where it crosses the ramps onto and off of Rt 1 northbound.
The signs are extremely important for the ramp from Rt 1 northbound onto Scudders Mill Rd westbound, since that crossing is a high speed cloverleaf merge with very short sight lines. Additional warning signs are in place around the midpoint of the cloverleaf.
Today this ramp doesn’t see that much traffic, mainly serving U-turns to southbound Rt 1. In the future, however, there is potential for a lot of traffic, if the proposal to restrict westbound turns from northbound Rt 1 at Washington Rd and Harrison Street is adopted.
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Monday, February 28 by JerryFoster
The big melt was on, temperatures were rising into the 60s, school was out for teachers’ professional development, and student bicyclists flocked to Plainsboro’s Village Center.
During a short stop on a bike for coffee and a muffin on that day just over a week ago, a very interesting phenomenon was observed: the numerous bike racks in the back parking lots were completely deserted. Not to worry, the benches in front had bikes locked to them, and the bike rack next to the entrance of the new library was packed!
Nice job, Plainsboro! We in West Windsor look forward to our revitalized Main Street Route 571 being able to attract our fair share of bicyclists out for a nice ride.
In the meantime, there’s a lesson for all: if bike racks are visible (so generally, near entrances), they’ll be used much more than if they are hidden away.
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Saturday, January 29 by silvia
An idea born of desperation, a bicycle snowplow in the Chicago area
The WWBPA gives a shout-out to the Forrestal Campus Bike Commuters, a newly formed advocacy group for cyclists who commute daily to Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro. The group, which boasts more than 30 members, was formed in response to a lack of snow removal from bike paths in Plainsboro — especially through the critical corridor along Scudders Mill Road. Despite a Plainsboro Township ordinance requiring the removal of snow and ice from bicycle paths and sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall, several sections of the two-mile path between Dey Road and Route 1 weren’t being plowed by their owners. And snow plowed from the roadway was blocking the road shoulder–so cyclists, runners and pedestrians were being forced to use car lanes, posing risks both to themselves and to motorists.
Andrew Wittenberg, the Plainsboro resident who formed the advocacy group, bike-commutes daily and year-round to the Forrestal Campus. “Unlike previous winters where new snow has melted away within days, this winter we’ve had persistent snow cover for over a month, making plowing of these bike paths essential,” he says.
He has written to the Plainsboro Police Department asking for strict enforcement of Township Code 79-10, which requires that owners clear the bike paths and sidewalks abutting their property within 24 hours, or face fines of up to $500 per offense. The law also empowers the Township to remove the snow without notice, at cost to the owner.
“Bristol Meyers Squibb has been wonderfully prompt about clearing their section of the path,” says Wittenberg. “But other owners — including Middlesex County — have repeatedly violated the Township Code. We’re hopeful that Police enforcement will encourage the owners of these paths to promptly clear them of snow in the future. If those owners remain unresponsive, we plan to organize a letter-writing campaign to Mayor Cantu and the local papers, to underscore the importance of our local snow-clearing laws.”
The WWBPA couldn’t agree more and reminds property owners in West Windsor that our ordinances also require sidewalks to be cleared. Those who rely on a cleared sidewalk to head out for a walk, to visit with a neighbor down the street or to get to the train station, school, library, store or other destination appreciate your courtesy. Motorists who don’t want to find pedestrians in the street do too.
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Tuesday, November 2 by silvia
Residents around Wicoff School in Plainsboro want police to strictly enforce the 35 mph speed limit and the 25 mph limit during school hours or that the speed limits be reduced, and both the police chief and mayor say they understand. Police have issued 59 tickets in the area over the past year, or a bit more than one a week.
But here’s some insight into how hard it can be to change a speed limit and how much we tolerate breaking the speed limit: According to an an article in The Packet, a police traffic survey done this summer found that about 90% of cars were traveling at 40 mph, with the remainder traveling above 40 mph. Under New Jersey Department of Transportation’s regulations, this isn’t a problem because at least 85% of cars are traveling within 5 mph of the speed limit.
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