Bike Commuter Journal – How Things Change, or Not

Friday, April 4 by JerryFoster

Please welcome Steve Kruse as our guest bike commuter this week – he chairs the Princeton Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and bike commuted from Princeton to Plainsboro through 2005. Steve joins us via an article he wrote almost 17 years ago, Two Wheels To Work, which appeared in the U.S. 1 Newspaper, May 28, 1997, used here with kind permission of author and publisher.

It’s great to get a view from last century, to see what has improved, and what hasn’t. Steve’s article mentions road conditions, policies, motorists both considerate and not, and several planned improvements to the area.

Steve noted that “New Jersey does not spring to mind as an especially bicycle-friendly place.” Is that still true? Maybe, but NJ DOT adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2009, so future improvements should include accommodations for biking and walking, transit users and those covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. As our readers know, the state has jurisdiction over only the federal highways and interstates and a few other major arteries. Fortunately for today’s Princeton to Plainsboro bike commuters, Mercer and Middlesex counties, as well as Princeton and Plainsboro have all adopted Complete Streets policies – click here to see everyone in New Jersey who’ve adopted Complete Streets.

Significant improvements have also been made to onstreet bike lanes in West Windsor, which are beginning to form a network. Steve mentioned staying out of the “door zone” of onstreet parked cars on Harrison – Princeton’s shared lane pavement markings (“sharrows”), including on Harrison, guide cyclists (and notify motorists) to the safe lane position away from cars. Plainsboro continues to extend it’s network of paved multi-use paths. The League of American Bicyclists have designated West Windsor and Princeton Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Communities, and Princeton University earned New Jersey’s first Bicycle Friendly University award.

As you read Steve’s article, what do you notice has changed? What has not?

This post also appeared in On the Move, the blog for Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.

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Rt 1 Jughandle Design Needs Bike/Walk Improvements

Saturday, March 9 by JerryFoster

Many people regularly bicycle between West Windsor and Princeton, and the WWBPA is frequently asked at the Farmers Market for the safest route to Princeton, which involves crossing Route 1.

We generally recommend Washington Road (CR571) because the traffic circle slows down traffic and lets cyclists make themselves visible to motorists – unlike, for example, the high-speed ramps off Route 1 at Alexander, Meadow or Quaker Bridge roads.

West Windsor Township Council supports this, and adopted a resolution calling on Mercer County to designate a bicycle route along CR571 (West Windsor Twp Council Resolution 2010-R174).

Since West Windsor, Mercer County and NJDOT have all adopted Complete Streets policies, we were disappointed that no bicycle or pedestrian safety accommodations were evident in the jughandle concept design.

We recommend the following safety improvements to benefit both bicyclists and pedestrians who wish to use or cross Route 1:

1. Add a multi-use path at least on the east side of Route 1 from Alexander Road to Plainsboro, to connect the Dinky Line multi-use path behind the Alexander Road offices to the Penns Neck neighborhood and on to the hospital (and wellness center) in Plainsboro. Improved pedestrian and bicyclist accommodation for Penns Neck will prevent this stretch of Route 1 from becoming as deadly as further north in Middlesex County.

2. Create a safe bicycle route crossing Route 1 using Washington Rd/CR571, for example by reducing the design speed of the jughandle linking southbound Route 1 traffic to CR 571/Washington Road, or by creating a stop from the jughandle before turning right on CR571, to allow drivers an opportunity to look for bicyclists. The current highspeed jughandle merge design will create a dangerous condition for bicyclists traveling the bicycle route between Princeton and Princeton Junction train station.

3. Add marked crosswalks to all legs of the intersections.

4. Add bicycle lanes or sharrows to the improved intersections to guide bicyclists and alert motorists to the safest lane positioning while using the intersections.

5. Add a westbound bicycle crossing at Harrison even though there is no motorized vehicle crossing in that direction.

6. Add an off-road multi-use trail crossing Route 1 to connecting trails adjacent to the Dinky tracks, as described in the West Windsor Twp Circulation Element of the Master Plan.

Please contact our officials to support these recommendations.

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Support the Princeton Junction Pocket Park

Wednesday, March 6 by JerryFoster

The Trustees of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance support the proposed Princeton Junction Pocket Park on Alexander Rd between CR 571 and Harris Rd. We believe the park will be a great place to bring West Windsor residents together, to meet and enjoy our continually improving downtown area.

To make the park as bicycle and pedestrian friendly as possible, we will be delighted to donate bike racks, and suggest adding a sidewalk connection to Harris Road, which will be useful for families and students who walk to the park.

We encourage contributions to:

Friends of West Windsor Open Space, P.O. Box 74, West Windsor, NJ 08550

to support the park, and look forward to making West Windsor a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly community.

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Bike and Walk To Reduce Congestion

Saturday, October 27 by JerryFoster

We recently sent a letter to the editor to the various local papers thanking NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson for reopening the Route 1 jughandles in West Windsor, and encouraging our officials to implement Complete Streets to reduce local congestion and build livable, bicycle and pedestrian friendly communities, rather than encouraging further sprawl.

In case you didn’t read it in the Trenton Times or on PlanetPrinceton.com, here’s the letter:

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance thanks New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner James Simpson for re-opening the Route 1 jughandles last week. We applaud NJDOT’s leadership in recognizing the need to maintain a balance between local and long-distance congestion.

Transportation policy favoring long-distance traffic creates sprawl, which is not desirable for economic, environmental, public health and safety reasons. In contrast, Complete Streets policies encourage sustainable development by creating livable communities. NJDOT’s Complete Streets policy leads the nation, according to Smart Growth America, requiring roads to be designed and built for all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Mercer County and West Windsor Township have also adopted Complete Streets for roads under their jurisdictions. Implementation will create viable alternatives to driving that mitigate local congestion.

Implementing Complete Streets in West Windsor, including crosswalks, connecting sidewalks and bike lanes around the train station, has already reduced congestion. We recently counted 355 people biking and walking near the station during evening peak hours, up 18% over last year.

We encourage everyone to reduce congestion and stay healthy by biking and walking for short trips – we even think it’s fun. Although congestion is here to stay, Commissioner Simpson improved livability by reopening the jughandles – let’s do our part by biking or walking to school and work whenever possible.

 

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WWBPA Annual Meeting Thursday March 8

Saturday, March 3 by JerryFoster

Please join us at our annual meeting at the municipal center at 7pm on Thursday, March 8. We’ll have the opportunity to recognize all the great work that’s been done in the past year to make West Windsor more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. 2011 was a great year for West Windsor, including a tremendous number of improvements in sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as the recognition of becoming New Jersey’s first Bicycle Friendly Community!

Hope to see you there.

 

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West Windsor Wins Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community Award

Wednesday, September 14 by JerryFoster

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is very pleased to announce that the League of American Bicyclists proclaimed West Windsor Township a Bicycle Friendly Community, at the Bronze level.

This is the first time a New Jersey municipality received such an honor, the result of more than 10 years of effort on the part of many residents and with the support of the mayor, township council and county and state officials.

It could not have happened without the support of our members, who have demonstrated that they value a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community, both with their membership contributions and their time spent helping others to ride. As an all-volunteer organization, we appreciate our members’ willingness to help, whether it’s to write letters of support or to teach children to ride a bike for the first time.

This honor isn’t only for our officials and the WWBPA, but for all our community partners who help make bicycling happen. We especially thank BikeFest and our area bike clubs, who organize so many successful biking events, the SMART/JORBA volunteers, who maintain the off-road trails in Mercer County Park, and all the many individuals, organizations and businesses who have helped make West Windsor a better place for daily cycling, whether to work, school or the Farmers’ Market.

Finally, a special thanks to our intern, Kim Meersma, who worked with many people to gather the information necessary to put together a very detailed application.

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Upcoming Events

Apr        Membership Drive. Become a member/Renew your membership today and support our local community.

Apr 29  WWBPA to participate in Community Day at Duck Pond Park (11am-4pm)

May 1     Scholarship applications due for Graduating High School Seniors

May 6     Opening day for WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Walk from Hawk Elementary School

May 11     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

May 20   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Kids Learn to Bike

June 3    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market  & Adult Learn to Bike (9am-12pm)

Jun 8       Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

June 17   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Bike Repair Clinic

July 8     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

July 13     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

July 22    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug  5     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

Aug 19    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 9     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

Sept 23   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Bike Drive (Donations)

Oct 7       WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

Oct 28     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Halloween

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