Sustainble Princeton invites everyone to experience the new sharrows on its “Be Green, Be Seen” mass bike and skate ride on Sunday, Oct. 2. The group will set off from Hinds Plaza (by the Princeton library) at 3 p.m. for a two-mile ride. (“Be Green, Be Seen” will run until 5 p.m.) Sharrows have been installed on a number of local roads, including Nassau, Harrison and Witherspoon streets. The route will cover parts of those streets plus Hamilton Avenue.l
Here’s the full message from Sustainable Princeton:
Unlock those bikes and come ride on the bike sharrows!
Cyclists and skateboarders, all ages, all skill levels are invited to take part in a short ride along the newly marked sharrows along Princeton’s streets.
Bike for the environment, bike to support the BYOBag campaign or just bike for fun… but please join us to show that we love the new Sharrows and look forward to more support for healthy, sustainable, fun-loving bikers and skaters.
Remember your helmets!
The more people who attend the ride, the bigger the statement.
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.
WWBPA member Leo Donner is grateful for a street light that was replaced and a pedestrian signal that was repaired at the intersection of Vaughn Drive, Alexander Road and Bear Brook Road last year. “During dark nights this winter, the lighting has really helped, he writes. “I’ve noticed, both as a pedestrian and driver, the enormous benefits of visibility.”
But, he adds: “The lighting did not prevent a recent close call for me, though. I was crossing the intersection, starting with a walk signal, and was nearly hit by two cars, one turning left from Vaughn and the other turning right from Bear Brook. Given the current sequencing of signal lights at that intersection, they both had green lights.”
He says the real solution is a change in the signal sequencing to provide a phase in which turns into the crosswalks are forbidden by signal while a walk light is active (e.g., by keeping the Vaughn/Bear Brook Light red and having a variable “No Turn on Red” sign illuminate simultaneously). But in the meantime he’d like to see two things:
(1) Signs at the intersection currently state “Yield to Pedestrians,” instead of “Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk.” State law was recently changed the “yield” to “stop,” and I’ve noticed signs have been changed elsewhere in West Windsor. Could this also be done at this intersection, where it is especially necessary?
(2) Improved police enforcement. I rarely see police at this intersection during rush hours.
The WWBPA supports his suggestions and will be following up. We’ve previously made recommendations for the intersection and would like to see pedestrians get a small head start across the road.
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.”
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.
Planning for an improved intersection, June 9, 2010
From the West Windsor Township Web site:
Construction begins on the Cranbury Road/ Wallace Road/ CR 571/ NJ Route 64 intersection improvements
Construction has begun on improvements to the intersection of Cranbury Road/ Wallace Road/ CR 571/ and NJ Route 64. The project includes new pedestrian crossings in every direction, countdown timers on traffic lights, and a dedicated left turn lane coming off of the bridge (eastbound) turning onto Cranbury Road. In addition, the State has approved using the eastbound side of the bridge as a pedestrian crossing with a sidewalk on the south side of the bridge leading to Station Drive and a crosswalk to get to the sidewalk on the south side of Washington Road.
If you have any questions concerning this project, please contact the West Windsor Township Engineering Division at (609) 799-9396.
A West Windsor resident emailed the WWBPA about a broken button to activate the pedestrian walk signal at the intersection of Alexander Road with Bear Brook Drive and Vaughn Drive as well as two street lights that were out at the intersection.
The WWBPA forwarded his concerns to the mayor, who quickly ensured that the needed repairs were made by Mercer County and PSE&G, respectively.
Thanks for the quick work!
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Complete streets make economic sense. A balanced transportation system that includes complete streets can bolster economic growth and stability by providing accessible and efficient connections between residences, schools, parks, public transportation, offices, and retail destinations.
Complete streets improve safety by reducing crashes through safety improvements. One study found that designing for pedestrian travel by installing raised medians and redesigning intersections and sidewalks reduced pedestrian risk by 28%.
Complete streets encourage more walking and bicycling. Public health experts are encouraging walking and bicycling as a response to the obesity epidemic, and complete streets can help. One study found that 43 percent of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home met recommended activity levels, while just 27% of those without safe places to walk were active enough.
Complete streets can help ease transportation woes. Streets that provide travel choices can give people the option to avoid traffic jams, and increase the overall capacity of the transportation network. Several smaller cities have adopted complete streets policies as one strategy to increase the overall capacity of their transportation network and reduce congestion.
Complete streets help children. Streets that provide room for bicycling and walking help children get physical activity and gain independence. More children walk to school where there are sidewalks, and children who have and use safe walking and bicycling routes have a more positive view of their neighborhood. Safe Routes to School programs, gaining in popularity across the country, will benefit from complete streets policies that help turn all routes into safe routes.
I have a suggestion for improving the safety of pedestrians attempting to cross Hightstown Road in Princeton Junction. It is based on the experience of my children, one of whom is special needs, and both of whom walked to High School South by crossing Hightstown Road.
It is also based on my own experience. Two weeks ago, I was struck while crossing Hightstown Road at the Wallace-Cranbury and Hightstown intersection. I was returning from work from the train station about 6:00. I was crossing in the crosswalk (on the Acme side of the road), at the proper time, and although it was dark, I was wearing a reflector vest. The driver that struck me just wasn’t looking to see if anyone was in the crosswalk. I assume that the driver was looking either straight ahead to see if someone was making a left turn from Cranbury on to Hightstown, or looking left to see if anyone was running the red light on Hightstown, as sometimes happens.
There is only one way to make crossing the street safe for pedestrians. There must be some segment of time in which no cars are allowed to drive through the crosswalk. And the only way to create that time is with colored arrows. In other words, we need arrows that control turns. The system should be set up so that you can turn left (right) if and only if the left (right) turn arrow changes from red to green.
A system of colored turn arrows would also reduce the number of car crashes, many of which I am sure are caused by the game of chicken that is played when someone is trying to make a left turn, say from Hightstown Road on to Wallace Road. And I think it is possible that with the use of sensors the system could improve the flow of traffic by allowing long queues of cars waiting to make left turns to empty.
Department of Economics, Rutgers University
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