This quick survey, from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, is your chance to speak up about biking conditions getting to the Princeton Junction train station (and other transit stops you use):
Do you use your bike to get to a transit station? Would you be more likely to bike to the transit station you use if it was more easily accessible for bicyclists or had better bike parking? DVRPC wants your input!
DVRPC, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, SEPTA, NJ Transit, PATCO, and Open Plans are collaborating to determine where investments in bicycle accessibility are most needed. Available online, a new map-based survey allows commuters to select the transit station they use and share their ideas on how transit stations can better accommodate bicyclists.
The survey, available at biketotransit.shareabouts.org, will continue accepting public input until December 1, 2012. The results of the survey will help to shape recommendations for investment in bike improvements at our region’s transit stations. For more information on DVRPC’s Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, click here.
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Join the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance for its sixth annual Community Bike Ride on Oct. 6 (rain date Oct 7) as we head down the D&R Canal towpath to discover how it connects to other bicycling and walking routes.
Our eight-mile ride will leave from Turning Basin Park (Alexander Road and the canal) and head to Brearley House in Lawrence (located on the 20-mile Lawrence Hopewell Trail). We’ll stop there for refreshments and some give-aways, plus hear about the Lawrence Hopewell Trail and the East Coast Greenway before turning back.
This is the last in our series of free family-friendly bike rides for 2012. Meet at the park at 2:15 p.m.; the ride leaves at 2:30 p.m. No preregistration is necessary; just bring a bike in good working order and a helmet. Children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult.
This year, we are adding a walking option, from Port Mercer Canal House. Gather at the parking lot at 2:15 p.m. (departure time is 2:30 p.m.) for the 1.3-mile walk to Brearley House. Because of road construction, the parking lot is only accessible from Route 1, not Princeton.
The ride is so-sponsored by the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, Sustainable Lawrence and the Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee.
About two dozen people, many of them new faces, joined us on Sept. 15 for a five-mile loop from Community Park down the Trolley Line Trail to Penn-Lyle Road and past High School South back to the park. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
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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 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!
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is launching its series of casual summer bike rides around the community with an easy ride for ice cream at Rite Aid through West Windsor neighborhoods (and no Route 571) on Saturday, June 23.
We will gather by the tennis courts at Community Park (near the North Mill Road entrance) at 2:45 p.m. and begin our ride at 3 p.m. We’ll go past the tennis courts on Hendrickson and use the crosswalk to Norchester on Clarksville. Then we’ll show you a little-known cut-though; just remember to yield to any walkers we meet.
The route is less than 1 ½ miles each way, so perfect for younger riders. (Too short? Ride to the ride!)
Helmets are required and children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Remember to ride safely and follow the rules of the road.
The ride is free, but bring money for ice cream or other snack. The rain date is Sunday, June 24. There is no need to preregister.
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.”
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 email@example.com
Would your place of worship be interested in a safety presentation? Or have another suggestion? Email us!
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.
Want to cover New Jersey from north to south? Interested in a great, long ride in part of the state?
WWBPA member Dan Rappoport has mapped the routes for you. Dan got the idea for the project about three or four years ago, but started creating the cue sheets in earnest two winters ago.
The New Jersey Bicycle Route goes from Belvidere, near the Delaware Water Gap in the northwest, zigzagging to Cape May Point in the southeast in nine days. Daily distances vary from about 44 to 74 miles, with each day conveniently ending at a motel.
Dan also developed a New Jersey Bicycle Route Network of rides all around the state, with ways to avoid congested highways in densely populated parts of the state as well as routes in beautiful, rural settings. These rides range from 40 to 188 miles, though one could, naturally, break them down into smaller segments.
Dan also compiled a Bicycle Touring Resource Guide, including NJ DOT tours; New Jersey multi-use trails; Cycle Jersey 500 itinerary; cross-state, state-wide, multi-state, and regional bicycle routes and books.
We hope you’ll try some of these routes. Thank you, Dan!
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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We’ve spotted a couple of Mercer County Community College summer programs with biking and hiking themes:
Among the 2011 Summer Sports Camps is Mountain Biking Camp (co-ed, ages 8-16)
July 25-29 / August 8-12 This camp focuses on some of the fundamental skills required in cross country mountain bike racing as well as the mechanics and general maintenance of bicycles. Campers will learn skills associated with mountain bike racing such as proper body position for maximum balance and control while navigating through narrow trails and terrain. How to properly go over obstacles such as small log climbs. Along with these skills campers will also learn proper racing etiquette as well as how to take care of their bike with some basic maintenance.
For more information, go to Mercer County Community College Youth Summer Sports Camps or call 609-570-3779.
For those interested in more traditional bicycling and in hiking, there’s Camp College, which offers Friday Fun Days, with this one: Bike & Hike (AGES 9-13)
July 29, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy a day trip to Mercer County Park where we will ride the trails and experience the beauty of the area on two wheels. We’ll explore the red, blue, and yellow trails then find a shady spot for our picnic lunch. Before we hit the dirt we will have a brief overview of bicycle safety, trail riding, and bike maintenance. You must provide your own bike, lock and helmet (No open toe shoes). Tuition and fees: $60
For more information and registration, go to Camp College or call 609-570-3311.
West Windsor-Plainsboro Community Education presents a Roadside Bicycle Maintenance class this spring.
This 90-minute class will give you the confidence to take that longer bicycle ride. You will be introduced to basic tools and equipment and how to use them: how to repair a flat tire, how to re-install a chain, how to overcome a bent wheel on a ride (to get you home), plus have your questions answered.
Instructor: Van Delfino, Bicycle Rack, Hightstown
1 class on Monday, April 4th 7-8:30 pm
HS South Room 900C $20
How many crashes have you had where your helmet prevented a more serious injury?
1 crash – 31%
2 crashes – 27%
3 or more crashes – 20%
I’ve crashed, but my helmet never touched anything – 16%
I’ve crashed, my helmet hit but did not help prevent a more serious injury – 1%
I’ve never crashed – 4%
The results are from about 2,200 responses to the January 13, 2011 question:
The West Windsor-Plainsboro Newsreports that the Alexander Road S-curve reconstruction, with safer pavement and bike lanes, will begin this spring:
According to Brian Aronson, the township’s assistant manager of engineering, utility relocation along the S-curve is currently taking place. “Construction activities have ceased until the early spring,” he said.
The work was triggered by an accident on the S-curve in September, 2005, that killed Rebecca Annitto, of Princeton Township, just before her 15th birthday.
The Township Council awarded a $769,000 bid for the reconstruction project in September. It also approved a $35,000 contract with Remington & Vernick Engineers for professional engineering services for the project.
West Windsor received three bids for the project, ranging from $769,096.50 to $879,269.17, when it opened the bids in July. Lucas Construction was deemed the lowest responsible bidder and was awarded the contract.
The project includes widening the road to 38 feet, with one lane of travel and a five-foot bike path in each direction. Features of the new road included elevation of the roadway to create a banking effect, use of high friction pavement, and improved striping and signage. The estimated cost of the project is about $500,000, with $190,000 in funding from a Department of Transportation grant.
The project is estimated to take 60 days to complete.
The WWBPA has long been advocating for modifications to the S-curve and held a fact-finding and informational “West Windsor Walk” in September 2006 to draw attention to conditions.
The U.S. Department of Transportation posted its 2010 Record of Accomplishment, and the WWBPA sees some good things in it. Highlights include anti-distracted driving regulations and encouragement for more transportation opportunities. In particular, it helped level the playing field for bicyclists and pedestrians. This is a big accomplishment, particularly as some think bicyclists and pedestrians could lose out in some of the new Congress’s budget battles (see this analysis from the League of American Bicyclists).
Here’s some of what DOT did, in its own words:
In March 2010, DOT formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities to integrate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in federally-funded road projects. DOT discouraged transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians and encouraged investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. Such recommendations include treating walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes, ensuring convenient access for people of all ages and abilities, and protecting sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected. Through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants program, DOT funded major projects across the country that allow Americans to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on a bike or on foot.
One of the TIGER grants “will repair, reconstruct and improve 16.3 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that will complete a 128-mile regional network in six counties around Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey,” including the Schuylkill Trail, with artist’s rendering above.
Hamilton is in the middle of a review of its master plan, a long-term vision for planning and development. One goal is to add more bicycle and pedestrian paths.
The workshops on the master plan are continuing; this is the time for residents to make their views known. You can read more about what’s happened so far here.
It’s encouraging to see more New Jersey communities (Newark, Hoboken, Freehold …) are looking at infrastructure improvements for bicyclists. Here’s the latest on what we’ve read about Hoboken (and Jersey City).