The Penn-Lyle Road improvement project near High School South is complete, and its neighbors love it. No longer do school buses block one lane of traffic every afternoon as they line up waiting for students to transport home. At every other time of day, clearly marked bicycle lanes are a pleasure for bicyclists. After the improvements made last year to another stretch of this heavily traveled road, we now have bike lanes down the entire length, improving the bikeability of our community.
In addition, the reconfigured right turn lane, suggested by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (which also has suggested dedicated left-turn lanes in all directions at Clarksville and North Post Roads) improves visibility of approaching traffic from Clarksville Road for cars wanting to turn onto Clarksville Road from Penn Lyle Road, which traffic engineers are sure will cut down on accidents there.
This project, supported by the WWBPA, is another example of Complete Streets that take all users into account, and the traffic improvements have really made a difference. Thanks, West Windsor Township.
More than 2 1/2 years ago, Edward Boye was killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle on Dutch Neck Road in East Windsor, not far from the border with West Windsor. This month, the driver, Margaret Corrigan, was sentenced to three years in jail (and more here). Mr. Boye was disabled and used a special tricycle to get around. Ms. Corrigan was under the influence of medication when she struck Mr. Boye. She pleaded guilty to third-degree assault with an automobile and driving under the influence of narcotics in May after initially being charged with vehicular homicide.
Motorists, please share the road with cyclists, give them plenty of room while overtaking and refrain from passing on a curve when you can’t see oncoming traffic. Cyclists, follow the rules of the road, including riding the same direction as traffic, and be predictable and visible. With daylight hours shrinking, make sure your lights work, and consider adding a reflective vest to your safety gear. We sell them for just $10 at the farmers’ market.
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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.
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.
The Princeton Junction train station now has more bike parking for our many bike commuters.
A new eight-locker unit has been added to the east side, near the first set of steps in the daily parking lot (with room to add more as needed), and four new bike racks have been added to the west side between the Trenton-bound tracks and the Dinky.
The WWBPA coordinated the project, which involved six entities, and managed the installation of the new concrete pads, which was contracted to Trenton’s Capital City Contracting Co. The lockers and racks were supplied by New Jersey Transit, and West Windsor Public Works handled the installations of both the lockers and racks. All of this was made possible through a four-way cost-sharing among the West Windsor Parking Authority, West Windsor Bike Fest, Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA), and the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance through its membership dues. Thanks, all, for helping make West Windsor a more bicycle-friendly community!
The racks were filled the day after they were installed, and the new lockers will help shrink the existing waiting list. Anyone wishing to rent a bike locker should contact GMTMA at 609-452-1491 x224. The cost is $7.50 per month for six months ($90 per year). Contracts are automatically renewable.
We are seeing more people biking to the train station. If you’d like to try it but need some help selecting a route, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance kicked off its series of casual summer bike rides with an easy ride for ice cream at Rite Aid with 25 people cycling through West Windsor neighborhoods (and no Route 571) on Saturday.
The riders, who included a five-year-old on a tag-along with his dad, a seven-year-old with a new bike and an eight-year-old new to town, left Community Park and went past the tennis courts on Hendrickson, through the arboretum and across Clarksville at the Norchester crosswalk. The stream of cyclists on Norchester shocked a pair of teens in a car! A little-known cut-though brought them to Ride Aid and ice cream — 1 1/2 miles from their starting point. A bonus: now some families know how to reach Community Park from the station (using the path by Schlumberger to reach the corner of Route 571 and Wallace Road).
The next ride will be an 11-mile loop of historic West Windsor on Saturday, July 28. We’ll meet at 9 a.m. at the kiosk that describes the route at the corner of South Mill Road and Village Road East, next to the World War II memorial. The ride will be led by Paul Ligeti, who designed and signposted the route for his Eagle Scout project.
You may know that the Martians “landed” in Grover’s Mill, but did you know West Windsor has two stops on the Underground Railroad? Or that Woodrow Wilson would bike from Princeton to walk around Grover’s Mill Pond? Join us!
West Windsor residents will continue to see improvements in bicycle and pedestrian safety around the township over the next year, thanks to continuing Capital Budget Programs.
Money has been allocated to extend bike lanes on Edinburg Road between Village Road East and the east entrance to Mercer County Park. Cyclists, remember that when the bridge over the Assumpink (and a stretch of Old Trenton Road) is closed for replacement later this year, you can take a shortcut through Mercer County Park and continue through West Windsor on Edinburg. Just yield to pedestrians on the path!
Funds also have been budgeted for to build the missing links in the path running parallel to the Dinky tracks on the Alexander Road side between Vaughn Drive and Route 1. This will be a great help for those wanting to bike-commute to work but not wanting to be on Alexander Road. One day we hope it will link to a bike and pedestrian bridge over Route 1.
There will be improvements in the timing of traffic signals along Alexander Road, which should make crossing safer for pedestrians. The township will also continue with its crosswalk improvements, signage and striping enhancements, and sidewalk repair where street trees have caused damage.
The final phase of the Meadow Road improvements will be started, including a sidewalk from Clarksville Road to Duck Pond Park, making the park accessible from the new apartments on Clarksville Road and the Jewish Community Center accessible from the Estates at Princeton Junction.
And finally, this year will see the conceptual design for resurfacing of Canal Pointe Boulevard. The WWBPA is hopeful that the township will follow the suggestions made by Orth Rodgers and enthusiastically supported by the WWBPA to put Canal Pointe on a road diet — giving it one travel lane in each direction, center turning lanes for left turns, decelleration lanes for right turns, and bike lanes.
These planned improvements show that West Windsor truly deserves its Bicycle Friendly Community designation. The WWBPA thanks township officials and the township council for these projects.
On this last day of National Bike Month, we want to share an inspiring story from David Porsche, a bike commuter we met at the Princeton Junction train station and who says thanks for being such a bike-friendly community. His route takes him along Clarksville Road from the southern end of town and he has found that almost all motorists are courteous–yes, during rush hour.
“I started bicycle commuting to the Princeton Junction train station a few years back. I ride between five and 12 miles each way (to and from) Monday through Friday. I ride all year round and in all types of weather. The accessibility to safe roads and plentiful bicycle resources at the train station has made the transition from gas guzzler to cyclist incredibly easy.
Since I have started bicycle commuting I have lost over 80 pounds and feel like I have been given a fresh lease on life. I have even joined one of the local area Fire Departments as a volunteer firefighter, something that was physically not possible before I decided to saddle up.”
David says he wanted to save money on parking and tried the bus, but he kept missing it and having to wait a long time for the next one. (All of us New York commuters know about train delays!) When he saw someone hop on a bike, he knew he’d found his solution. So thanks to the anonymous cyclists who inspired David, and we hope he will inspire you to try biking, whether to work, the station or for your next errand around town.
Want some more inspiration? A bike commuter on average loses 13 pounds in the first year. (David is clearly above average!) A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour. And just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. (All this comes from Trek’s 1 world 2 wheels booklet, available from the WWBPA.)
And thanks, David, for your “before” and “after” photo! Also inspiring!
But that was a good thing. WWBPA Advisor and Past President Ken Carlson organized a bike advocacy event in his new hometown of Somerville, Massachusetts. The challenge was for a cyclist, a T-rider (subway), and an auto to race from Davis Square in Somerville to Kendall Square in Cambridge. Ken drove the car.
The cyclist finished first, in 20 minutes. The T-rider came in second, in 29 minutes. Ken drove the course in 32 minutes. (And yes, Ken usually bikes to work.)
New York City did the same contest this week (after all, it is National Bike to Work Week) and once again the bike won. The cyclist traveled from Williamsburg to SoHo in morning rush hour in 15 minutes. The subway took 26 minutes and driving, 41 minutes.
As for West Windsor? Think how long it takes you to drive all the way around the station to the Vaughn Drive lot (unless you’ve been commuting so long that you have a Wallace Road permit) and to walk to the platform in the morning, and then to get out of the Vaughn Drive lot and over the roundabout on the way home. Your bike would be right by the tracks and probably would get you home in a similar amount of time, no sweating involved. And let’s not even think about the time you spend (or intend to spend) at the gym doing cardio. Then the bike will surely win!
Read more about Ken’s race at Metro.US and Boston.com, and tell us about your bike commute.
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.
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!
WZBN reporter Rose Eiklor interviewed Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh and WWBPA President Jerry Foster and 2nd Vice President Alison Miller. The broadcast was on December 6, 2011.
Jerry made the case for a revised plan: “While the new plans will allow pedestrians to walk along Route 571 much more easily due to the new sidewalks, they won’t be able to cross as easily. And it’s not enough, in our view, to be able to just walk along a road; we’ve got to be able to cross it safely as well. Any median or refuge island that goes in the middle would be a huge improvement to being able to cross the road safely. The other main thing that we’re looking for is less speed through this section of our ‘Main Street.'”
There also are many, many commuters who will cross right here [the intersection of Route 571 with Wallace/Cranbury], because this is the way to the train station, and it’s expensive to buy a parking space, especially when you can walk. And commuters are always in a hurry, and we’re very concerned about commuter safety.”
Mayor Hsueh worries that any changes in the design at this point will require the Township and County “to go back to square one again…I have reservations about [their design], because they didn’t know that we’d already discussed with County about those concerns. But County…also has certain kinds of ground rules regarding a county roadway, and we have to compromise with them.”
The mayor continued: “The speed limit is decided by the state DOT, so my feeling is, once we have this design done and once we have people riding bicycles around, [there will be] opportunities we can request for reevaluation of the speed limits, and there are technical standards–it’s not even political negotiations, it’s all based on statistical analysis.”
Commenting on the YouTube site, WWBPA trustee Chris Scherer notes, “It is not financially or socially responsible to implement a ‘ solution’ that requires rework to be considered safe and effective.”
Let’s take a break from all this focus on infrastructure and let me share the story of how I came to enjoy biking and walking.
I learned to bike as a small child in a small town in the midwest in the 1960s, which was surrounded by open space. As kids, we biked and walked to school, raced our bikes around the basketball hoops on the playground, and rode the trails through the woods, all on a banana-seat bike with knobby tires.
Later, we rode motorcycles and snowmobiles on those same trails, as well as walked and cross-country skied them. I bought a 10-speed from Sears with my paper route money while in junior high school. With friends from scouts and school, we’d backpack overnight or all week, sometimes in winter with cross-country skis, and once we loaded the camping gear onto the bikes and did a weekend out and back via bike.
After learning to drive, we moved on to longer backpacking trips, including a 6-week trip to Wyoming with a school friend, and learned to rock and later ice climb. Any excuse to travel was good enough – my college roommate and I took a 6-month European rock and ice climbing trip, with an interlude traveling via rail pass.
I moved to the east coast after college and bought a touring bike with high hopes, not realizing how little time there is for fun once you start working full time. My wife and I canoed and camped together, and cruised our sailboat after the children arrived. I did my best to introduce all the outdoor activities I love to my son’s scout troop and later to my daughter’s Venture Crew (a co-ed scout group).
My long term backpacking project is to hike the entire Appalachian trail in sections – so far, I’ve done almost 1300 miles out of about 2200.
Biking for me is mainly recreational – I bought a road bike after failing to keep up with my neighbor on a ride in the early 1990s, and still ride it today. Besides errands and recreational riding with the Princeton Free Wheelers, I’ve done several week-long charity rides for Anchor House, plus a self-supported camping tour from Oakland to Los Angeles.
Hope you enjoyed my story – do you have a story you’d like to share? Please send us an email at email@example.com, and we’ll be happy to post it here.
Help us promote nighttime visibility among “invisible” cyclists and others.
We will be at St. Anthony’s of Padua in Hightstown at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20 and at St. Paul’s in Princeton at 7 p.m. Monday Nov. 28. At each event, we will give a short presentation in Spanish (and English) that also includes some basic “rules of the road.” We’ll then offer visibility and safety items such as reflective vests, lights and helmets for half price, funded in part by a generous donation from the West Windsor Policemen’s Benevolent Association. We need people who can help with the presentation as well as Spanish and non-Spanish speakers to help fit helmets, model vests and otherwise encourage “invisible” cyclists to be more visible to motorists at night.
Interested in helping? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Would your place of worship be interested in a safety presentation? Or have another suggestion? Email us!
43 people enjoyed a nice ride on a beautiful fall day, a little over 5 miles round trip from Community Park to McCaffrey’s and back. Thanks to everyone who participated, including our WWBPA trustees, student advisers and volunteers who planned, led and directed the bicyclists, and even handed out a few bandaids, and special thanks to McCaffrey’s for donating the refreshments!
The fall colors were out in full force (see our facebook page for more pictures) and we enjoyed the Trolley Line Trail as well as the bike lanes on Rabbit Hill Road and Bennington Street. Also appreciated were new high visibility crosswalks at Davenport and Southfield Road by the shopping center. We also saw a policeman patrolling the Trolley Line Trail on motorcycle.
The group included all ages, from those enjoying a ride in a trailer to us older kids (at heart), and split into 3 smaller groups pretty quickly – the fast group led by the speedy student advisers, a middle pack of family members, while the last group comprised those with the smallest bicyclists.
We got a number of positive comments, including a request to do this more often. With the new bike lanes on Village and Penn Lyle, we have more routes to choose from, thanks to the township and county.
Three Chinese citizens are cycling across the country, from New York City to San Francisco, to highlight the plight of artist and activist Ai Weiwei and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, both imprisoned by the Chinese government.
The cyclists stopped in Princeton on Friday evening, June 17, and spoke with people on the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon Streets.
They hope to collect more than 10,000 signatures asking for the release of the two imprisoned men. The letter will ask United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to address “the Chinese government’s serious and on-going human rights violations against its own people.”
To read more about the “Cycling Tour for Human Rights of China,” go to the Initiatives for China website.
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About 20 people from West Windsor and neighboring communities headed earlier this month to Freehold and the Metz Bicycle Museum, a museum filled with what must be more than 100 bicycles collected over 60 years by a former Cranbury resident who, we learned, came up with the idea for those scalloped cement blocks to edge gardens.
Most of us used part of the Henry Hudson Trail, a well-used, shaded and paved path on what was once a freight railroad line. We were accompanied from Marlboro High School by a number of local residents who gave us some extra local flavor: Freehold High School, Bruce Springsteen’s alma mater (we heard a few stories about him!); the Battle of Monmouth monument; and lunch on Main Street.
A smaller group of hardy cyclists peddled from West Windsor to Freehold (about 22 miles). They had the bright idea to stop for ice cream on the way home!
Our youngest cyclist, 9-year-old Ashley, hitched her bike to Dad’s some of the time. We learned she’s a budding fashionista with real affinity for shoes. So guess what her favorite bike had?
The WWBPA had something for everyone in May. Where did you see us?
On May 7, we led our second annual walk to mark the start of the farmers’ market season. About 20 people, from grandparents to grandchildren, joined for a walk from Maurice Hawk School to the Farmers’ Market at the Vaughn Drive Parking Lot. The first stop was at the Arts Center on Alexander Road where Greening of West Windsor (GroWW) was holding an Herb Sale to benefit the plantings at the Arts Center. We observed the new sidewalk along Alexander Road from Scott Avenue to Wallace Road under construction, and noted that on next year’s walk we would use it. Crossing Wallace at Alexander instead of at Scott is much safer because cars have a much greater sight line to the pedestrians. We proceeded to the station, under the tracks, and along the pathway to the Farmers’ Market, where the WWBPA handed out maps and held a drawing for a T-shirt, a reflective vest, a set of lights, a set of ankle bands and a couple of Share the Road decals.
As part of National Bike to Work Week, we joined Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association for a chilly “bikers breakfast” at the station on May 17, offering food, drink and encouragement to cyclists and others. We hope some are ready to get back on a bike, even if not to get to work.
On May 28, we were at BikeFest, talking to participants about what we do and offering ideas on where to ride.
Our “Ride of Silence,” to honor cyclists killed or injured on the roads, was delayed by rain until June 1. We rode through West Windsor, led by a police car and funeral hearse. If you missed us, check out the photos.
It’s been a great weekend for getting out on a bike, and a great start for National Bike Month. As usual, the WWBPA is keeping a tally of miles ridden, whether to get to work or school, to run errands or for fun. We want to include yours!
With many who have yet to report, the mileage meter already stands at 492 miles. Impressively, several members and friends who racked up triple-digit mileage totals, or close to it. Hats off to WWBPA friends John W. with 177 miles and Don P. with 105 miles. WWBPA member Bill Garrett logged 99 miles for the first week. “Nippy ride this morning, but still better than chilly temps of January,” he told us Friday. “I see deer feeding as I ride through Mercer County Park.”
WWBPA member Dan R. reports 66 miles, and member Diane C. rode 40 miles.
WWBPA trustee Daryl McMillan rode 27 miles to and from work over two days.
WWBPA trustee Silvia Ascarelli figures she’s been on a bike every day so far, even if it’s just a couple of miles, for a total of 63 miles.
Portland is a national leader in building a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community, one of only three Platinum level Bicycle Friendly Communities, according to Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists.
According to Politifact, when Portland estimated the total cost of their biking infrastructure since 1993, “they came up with an estimated value of $52 million and adjusted it up to $60 million to be safe.” That wasn’t the actual cost, though – according to Roger Geller, Portland’s bike coordinator, “The $60 million figure is essentially the replacement value of our network as it existed in 2008 in 2008 dollars.”
To compare against the cost of a freeway, Politifact used several sources – costs were reported to vary widely depending on the surrounding environment, from $20 million to $80 million per mile for a 4 lane urban freeway. So Politifact gave the mayor’s statement a Mostly True!
Of course we’re all concerned about cost, but what about value? What return does Portland get for its investment? We’ll take that up in a future post.
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