Paul Ligeti and Alice Eltvedt are this year’s winners of the WWBPA’s scholarship to graduating high school seniors.
Paul, who graduated from North and is headed to the University of Michigan, impressed us with his Eagle Scout project: an 11-mile bike route of historic West Windsor sites, with a well-researched website that describes the story of each site and red markings at each spot. Paul has led two rides of his route for the WWBPA, and all have been impressed with his work.
Alice, who is going to Princeton after graduating from South, led by example as she rode her bicycle to the West Windsor pool. The racks have been overflowing!
The scholarships are one of two sets of annual awards from the WWBPA to honor those who share our vision of a bicycle and pedestrian-friendy community. We also selected three winners of our community service awards and presented them at our annual meeting in March.
Mike Viscardi, a project development planner, has been a fantastic contact for the WWBPA at New Jersey Transit. It has only been with Mike’s help that we have been able to add bike racks and lockers on two occasions.
Michael Ogg, a former trustee, has raised our awareness of the needs of the disabled when making improvements to our sidewalk network. We thank Michael for all his contributions.
And West Windsor Township, beginning with Francis Guzik, the township’s engineer, has added so many bike lanes, filled in many gaps in the sidewalk network and added safe pedestrian crossings in the past few years. Thank you!
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Sharrows, or shared lane markings, will be installed next month on roadways in the two Princetons.
The thermoplastic markings will allow cyclists and drivers to safely “share the road” along the area’s streets that are too narrow for separate bike lanes.
Nassau Street will be marked from Route 206 to Snowden Lane. Markings will also be placed on Wiggins Street and Hamilton Avenue in the borough. In the township, the markings will be placed on Harrison Street to Mount Lucas Road.
Harrison and Witherspoon Street will be marked their entire lengths. A maximum of 87 symbols will be installed in the borough; and the State Department of Transportation will install additional 60 on Nassau Street. Approximately 72 will be installed on the township roadways.
The borough’s share of the installation costs is $14,800. The township is paying the remainder of the $29,920, or $14,400. Each symbol costs about $170. The actual number of symbols that end up being installed will determine final cost.
Traffic Lines Inc. of Farmingdale will be doing the work for the two municipalities.
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.
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?
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.
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.