Mercer First to Complete Streets (Policies)

Saturday, January 10 by JerryFoster

Complete Streets logoFive years after Montclair and NJDOT adopted New Jersey’s leading Complete Streets policies, this week Mercer County became the first to have all roads covered – state, county and every municipality. Congratulations to Mercer County for reaching this very important milestone toward making our communities more bicycle and pedestrian friendly!

Complete Streets policies require road improvements to support biking, walking and transit for users of all ages and abilities as the rule rather than the exception, and provide for incremental improvements without mandating retrofits.

Complete Streets benefit everyone, e.g. better safety (not just for cyclists and pedestrians, but mainly for motorists), higher property values (see walkscore.com) and improved security (more eyes on the street). Those who walk or bike feel better, are healthier and live longer – students who bike or walk to school score better on standardized tests.

Realizing these benefits will take time, as responsibility for our roads is divided between the state (for federal and state roads), counties and municipalities. Even a short trip can include roads and/or bridges under the care of many jurisdictions – for example, biking around Princeton’s Carnegie Lake involves traversing 3 counties and 5 municipalities, plus a state and maybe even a federal road.

What does a Complete Street look like? It depends – Complete Streets are not cookie-cutter. All of these pictures might be considered examples in some sense, while each may have additional possibilities to make them even more complete.

See if you can pick out which picture shows which Mercer County municipality – Trenton, Hamilton, Ewing, Hopewell Township, Pennington, Hopewell Boro, Princeton, Lawrence, West Windsor, East Windsor, Hightstown and Robbinsville.

biking on the sidewalk w adult Hightstown Stockton Dutch Neck nb Robbinsville Pond Rd MS 56 cycles ped xwalk Hamilton Estates G Dye Roundabout Cyclist East Windsor Dutch Neck Dorchester 4 xwalks Nassau Sharrows
Lawrence Johnson Trolley Trail Xing Hopewell Denow Roundabout 1 Pennington Cyclist Texting Hopewell Boro Broad St Xing
Ewing Presbyterian Church Xing
Trenton Bike Lane Paver and Asphault

Comments Off on Mercer First to Complete Streets (Policies)

Travel Lanes, Shoulders or Bike Lanes – Which is Best?

Friday, September 19 by JerryFoster

Cars moving up shoulder on 571Consider the following scenario – you’re stopped in traffic by a long line of cars waiting for the light – this being New Jersey, you move up the shoulder, where there’s plenty of room. Unfortunately, a car turning left through a gap in the waiting cars hits you – who gets the ticket?

Would it be any different if you were riding a bike up the shoulder? Who would get the ticket then?

What if you were riding your bike in a bike lane instead of a shoulder – now who gets the ticket?

The motorist or cyclist on the shoulder would get the ticket, since shoulders are not for traveling – the cyclist in a bike lane would “only” be injured, not ticketed, since s/he has legal right of way.

This scenario is based on a real life incident in Chatham, where a cyclist on the shoulder was hospitalized and ticketed for unsafely passing cars on the right when he crashed into a car turning left into a drugstore driveway. As the Polzo v Essex County ruling confirmed, “a bicycle rider is directed to ride on the furthest right hand side of the roadway, not on the roadway’s shoulder.”

So cycling in the travel lane or a bike lane provides legal right of way, but what about safe operating conditions?

The NJ Supreme Court ruled that travel lanes and shoulders do not need to be maintained for safe cycling – “Public entities do not have the ability or resources to remove all dangers peculiar to bicycles.” “Roadways generally are intended for and used by operators of vehicles.” “A ‘vehicle’ is defined as ‘every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or motorized bicycles.’”

Bike lanes offer safe operating conditions – “A public entity’s designation of a portion of the roadway as a bicycle lane would alter the generally intended use of that part of the road and would require the public entity to maintain it in a reasonably safe manner for those purposes.”

So here’s the score:

  1. Bike Lanes – right of way and safe operating conditions
  2. Travel Lane – right of way but operating conditions sufficient for vehicles only, not bikes
  3. Shoulder – neither right of way nor safe operating conditions

The court provided NJ cyclists with another option to gain safe operating conditions for specific roadway or shoulder segments – notify the maintaining entity (state, county or municipality) that you routinely cycle on a specific road or shoulder. “Plaintiff offered no evidence that the shoulder of Parsonage Hill Road was designated as a bicycle lane or routinely used as one.” “We need not address here the standard of care that might apply under the Torts Claims Act if a roadway’s shoulder were routinely used as a bicycle lane and the public entity responsible for the maintenance of that roadway was on notice of that use.”

Will adoption of a Complete Streets policy provide a future court sufficient evidence of intended use by cyclists? If so, cyclists would enjoy a better standard of care for travel lanes, though perhaps not as good as for bike lanes.

 

 

2 Comments »

Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – Speed and Volume

Wednesday, November 20 by JerryFoster

us-vmt-projectionsUnlike residents, our traffic engineers prioritize speed and volume over safety and low cost – why? It’s how they were trained.

We’re long past the era where roads provide orders-of-magnitude improvement, e.g. from walking to motoring, but policy still encourages speeding, e.g., engineers design for 5-10mph over posted speed, so 74% of drivers on Rt 1 in Plainsboro exceeded the speed limit recently.

Going faster means getting there faster, right? Only if you’re on the mythical open road – in densely populated New Jersey, we have traffic.

Speed can work against getting there faster in traffic, since cars stay further apart – the best volume throughput is at 30-46mph. Improved signal coordination and speed harmonization allow people to get there faster even though they’re going slower, by delaying the onset of stop-and-go congestion.

Historically, traffic increased year after year, but in 2004 per capita volume (vehicle miles traveled) declined (!), followed in 2007 by a total volume decline as the recession took hold.  Though the Great Recession ended June 2009, total volume remains at recession levels, and per capita volume continues to slide.

Is it the end of “build it and they will come”? If so, engineers will have one more reason to change their priorities. In our next installment of Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer we’ll look at safety.

 

 

 

Comments Off on Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – Speed and Volume

Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – Social Scientist

Wednesday, November 6 by JerryFoster

Cranbury CarletonNew Jersey traffic engineers don’t see suburbs, destroy downtowns with arterials and have refused to adopt road designs for neighborhoods. How will we learn to love them?

We have to understand that traffic engineers love solving problems, just not social problems. They’ll design how to move cars through an intersection, but not how to preserve or create a downtown, increase property values or reduce pollution – yet the intersection design can affect all these other goals, positively or negatively.

Although we’ve been building roads for millennia, we’re just realizing how motor vehicle traffic affects society. Using a computer analogy, traffic engineering is moving from the green screen to the graphical user interface – people want a richer experience, including multiple ways to get where we’re going.

Traffic engineers must learn to see themselves as social scientists, concerned with how people in addition to motorists interact with the roadways – residents, runners, dog-walkers, cyclists, etc.

People are puzzling – we love our cars, but hate traffic – how can engineers solve the dilemma? Find out in the next installment of Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – What the Public Wants.

2 Comments »

Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – Collect Local Arterials

Wednesday, October 23 by JerryFoster

NJ Turnpike Crash Stops Rt 1The last installment showed that traffic engineers see West Windsor’s roads as urban, even when bordered by farms. To learn to love them, we need to speak their language, so let’s look at the roadway functional hierarchy. Arterials are major roads, Local roads are self descriptive, and Collector roads connect them.

So what? Each type has its own design, e.g. nobody would live on an interstate, the design precludes driveways.

Princeton Sharrow Nassau Witherspoon 2Let’s look at our Principal Arterials – US 1, Princeton Hightstown Road (CR 571) in downtown West Windsor and Nassau Street (SR 27) in downtown Princeton. How can such different roads be considered the same? Traffic engineers don’t see places, but they do identify “traffic generators”. Downtowns aren’t relevant, except that they generate enough traffic to warrant an arterial to connect them.

As traffic engineers “improve” CR571 and SR27 to design standards like Route 1, they destroy the places they don’t recognize, favoring getting through over getting to a place. It’s up to residents to demand local arterials that preserve places for people.

571 East speed 40 1Traffic engineers are an enigma – they don’t see suburbs or downtowns, and destroy the places they don’t see. How will we learn to love them? Find out in the next installment – Context Sensitive Solutions.

1 Comment »

Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – Suburbs?

Wednesday, October 16 by JerryFoster

Windsor Rd speed limit 50Don’t we live in the suburbs? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were Complete Streets designs that could make suburban living even better – for motorists, cyclists, walkers, runners, children and seniors?

Consider the suburbs from the point of view of the traffic engineer. After all, the invention of the automobile made the suburbs available to so many people over the last half century, so traffic engineers are largely responsible for how we suburbanites live so much of our lives.

As it turns out, traffic engineers don’t see suburbs, sort of like Stephen Colbert doesn’t see race. The traffic engineering world is governed by urban or rural designs only, and what we think of as suburban is by definition urban.

What about our farms, like all along Windsor Road – rural, right? Sorry, the region’s population, not just the adjacent properties’, determine that all our roads are urban, since we’re in an urban area as defined by the Census Bureau (generally, over 5000 people).

So the first step in learning to love your traffic engineer is to see West Windsor from their big picture point of view – urban.

Stay tuned for our next installment of Learning to Love Your Traffic Engineer – Collect Local Arterials.

3 Comments »

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.

 

Comments Off on Bike and Walk To Reduce Congestion

A Safer Penn-Lyle Road

Saturday, October 20 by silvia

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.

Comments Off on A Safer Penn-Lyle Road

Ken Carlson Loses A Race!

Friday, May 18 by sandy

Somerville to Cambridge RaceBut 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.

Comments Off on Ken Carlson Loses A Race!

Mercer County Freeholders Support Complete Streets

Friday, April 27 by JerryFoster

Mercer County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders, the legislative branch of Mercer County, adopted a resolution supporting a Complete Streets policy on Thursday, April 26, 2012. Mercer now joins Monmouth County as the only two counties in the state to adopt Complete Streets, which requires roadway projects to support all users, including bicyclists and pedestrians, by default rather than by exception. We thank the Freeholders for their support, and look forward to our county roads becoming more bicycle and pedestrian friendly!

Realistically, infrastructure projects are very long term in their planning and implementation, so with consistent and persistent application, we should see results after several years, while a complete transformation may take decades. We look forward to working with the county planners and engineers to make our county the best place in the state to live and work.

Essex County also ad0ppted a Complete Streets policy, but we’re glad to say that Mercer was only 2 days behind!

2 Comments »

Mercer Freeholders Consider Complete Streets

Thursday, April 12 by JerryFoster

Mercer County Freeholders discussed adopting a Complete Streets policy April 10, supported by over 15 residents from across the county. Freeholder Andrew Koontz of Princeton drafted a resolution for consideration, and a lively discussion ensued. Please join us at the April 24 Freeholders meeting to support Complete Streets!

WWBPA trustees Jerry Foster, Alison Miller and Daryl McMillan spoke during public comments, as did Jeff Laurenti (pictured) of the Trenton Cycling Revolution, Patricia Van Hise of Hamilton and President of the Princeton Free Wheelers bike club, John Stevenson of Hopewell Township and Diane Ciccone, former West Windsor Township Council and current WWBPA member. We were supported by other WWBPA trustees, members and residents from Trenton, Lawrence, Princeton and West Windsor. Thanks to everyone who showed up!

Please join us Tuesday April 24 at 6:30pm at the McDade County Building in Trenton to witness Mercer County becoming the 2nd county in New Jersey to adopt Complete Streets. Essex County is also considering a Complete Streets policy, so with luck we can be first.

Please contact our officials to show your support if you can’t make it to the meeting!

4 Comments »

New Bike Racks At Trader Joe’s

Monday, April 2 by JerryFoster

As part of the store’s expansion, bike racks were recently installed in front of Trader Joe’s grocery store. Now it’s even easier to bike to the grocery store! If you’re heading to Trader Joe’s from east of Route 1, there’s a nice short cut from New Meadow Road along the old roadway alignment that’s traffic-free until you get to the apartment complex. It even saves you a traffic light and the short hill.

Comments Off on New Bike Racks At Trader Joe’s

Complete Streets Adopted in Mercer Municipalities

Thursday, March 15 by JerryFoster

Complete Streets policies are being adopted in municipalities throughout Mercer County. Since March 1, Trenton, Hopewell Borough, Princeton Borough and Princeton Township have all adopted Complete Streets, joining West Windsor and Lawrence townships. Will Mercer County be next?

As of this posting, only Monmouth County has adopted a Complete Streets policy, although Essex County was asked to consider the policy last night.

Complete Streets policies make clear that bicyclists, pedestrians and other roadway users are to be accommodated by default, rather than by exception, and will greatly increase safety for all users.

NJ DOT Commissioner James Simpson calls it the Way to Zero Fatalities. NJ DOT’s Complete Streets policy was ranked as the best of its type in the nation, though New Jersey Future’s report shows several ways to improve its implementation.

Please join us to encourage Mercer County to adopt Complete Streets – since nearly every major road in West Windsor is a county road, our state and municipal policies are not enough.

1 Comment »

Plainsboro and Hopewell Boro Discuss Biking and Walking

Tuesday, February 7 by JerryFoster

The WWBPA’s mission is “To promote bicycling and walking in West Windsor Township and neighboring communities,” and this past week we’ve worked with residents of Plainsboro and Hopewell Boro to encourage them to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

On February 1, WWBPA trustees met with Plainsboro residents, a township official and interested WWBPA members at the Plainsboro Library to discuss the issues. Topics included biking on the road vs. paths, the upcoming closings of the Rt 1 circle at Washington and the jughandle at Harrison, bike commuters to the Forrestal campus, biking and walking connections to West Windsor on the PSE&G right of way and Cranbury Road, biking and walking to school and many others. Various ideas were presented on how best to encourage biking and walking, including a having a bike rodeo at the annual Founders Day event and organizing a community bike ride.

On February 6 at the Hopewell Borough Council meeting, a resident advocate invited bicyclists from the area to support bike lanes on CR 518. A dozen bicyclists, including a WWBPA trustee and 2 members, showed up to support  the bike lanes as well as a Complete Streets resolution for the borough and for Mercer County. Representatives from New Jersey Bike Walk Coalition,  Princeton Free Wheelers, Lawrence Hopewell Trail, New Jersey Bike Exchange and the Battle Against Hunger Ride also spoke in support. We hope to see Hopewell Borough adopt the next Complete Streets resolution in Mercer County!

5 Comments »

WZBN TV-25 Highlights Route 571 Plans

Tuesday, December 13 by sandy

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.'”

Alison continued:
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.”

WZBN TV-25 is New Jersey’s Capital News Station.

4 Comments »

I Bike. I Walk. I Vote.

Thursday, September 15 by silvia

From the League of American Bicyclists: This year, around $700 million of Federal transportation funds, which in reality is less than 2% of total transportation dollars, will be spent on bicycling and walking.  In 2012 that figure might be a big fat zero.

We expect that in the next few days, Senator Coburn (R-OK) will ask Congress to eliminate the federal Transportation Enhancements program – the primary funding source for the past 20 years for bike lanes, trails, bike racks on buses, bike education etc.  This isn’t safe or smart; it’s not good for the economy or the environment; this is bad health policy and bad transportation policy. But they are going to try because they don’t think bicycling matters.

Even though bicycling projects create more jobs per dollar than highway-only projects and cutting enhancements won’t impact the deficit – the money just won’t be spent on bicycling – some Members of Congress want to  force us backwards to a 1950s highway-only mindset: as if oil embargoes, congestion, smog, the obesity epidemic and climate change never happened.

Now is the time to Save Cycling, so we are asking you to contact your Senators and urge them to support continued funding for biking and walking. Don’t let them take away this vital investment program for smart, sustainable, safe transportation choices.

And as America Walks notes, the Transportation Enhancements program has also been the primary funding source for sidewalks, crosswalks, trails and more. If Sen. Coburn succeeds, it would mean an immediate end to funding for Transportation Enhancements.  It would also mean that our chances of sustaining any funding for bicycling and walking (including for Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails) in the long-term reauthorization bill would be more difficult.

West Windsor has gained numerous sidewalk extensions and bike lanes in recent years, and these projects haven’t been exclusively funded with local tax dollars. Let’s make America more bikeable and walkable. Let’s have complete streets — streets that work for all users.

Need an instant e- letter to send to our senators? Here’s one from People for Bikes.

Watch the League’s video.

1 Comment »

Proposed Route 571 Main Street Design Unsafe

Tuesday, September 13 by JerryFoster

571/Wallace-Cranbury morning commute 2The WWBPA responded to the county’s proposed CR 571 Main Street design recently, maintaining that it is unsafe for everyone: motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. In the past 10 years, two pedestrians were killed on this stretch of roadway (2004 and 2005), while no motorists were killed.  A 17-year-old motorist was killed in 2006, however, just west of downtown Princeton Junction, when she lost control of her car on the curve coming off the bridge over the train tracks.

The proposed wider-straighter-faster design does nothing to address these safety issues. Instead, it preserves the current 45mph design speed and 40mph posted speed limit. Drivers don’t respect crosswalks when they have to slow from high speed, and the proposed design does nothing to provide pedestrian refuges in the center of the roadway to promote safe crossing.

Rt 571 Concept Illustration

The design also features a new two-way center left turn lane (TWLTL) that studies have shown to be unsafe; AARP calls them “suicide lanes.” One study even showed that artificially lowering the posted speed limit, but not the design speed, caused an increase in crashes.

Picture 7

Here’s a picture of Hamilton’s SR 33 that most resembles what is planned. The 45mph design speed is simply not appropriate for the pedestrian friendly Main Street that our Redevelopment Plan envisions. A survey of other Mercer County towns shows that Princeton, Lawrenceville, Hightstown, Hopewell and Pennington all have 25 – 30mph speed limits on their Main Streets. Why not in West Windsor?

The WWBPA is not just opining, and we’re not just complaining – our response, and our recommendations based on the December 2009 Public Review, are founded on research and guidelines from the New Jersey Department of Transportation. We are recommending constructive, Complete Streets alternatives to remedy the safety issues and make a Main Street that we can all be proud of.

The current design shows why Mercer County should adopt a Complete Streets policy to complement the state and West Windsor township policies – our transportation network needs jurisdictions with consistent policies to benefit our taxpayers.

Thanks to everyone who has gotten involved to support our position! We appreciate all of you who have signed our petition at the Farmers’ Market, or who have contacted the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which recently conducted public outreach on this and other federally-funded projects.

More help is needed. Please contact our public officials to support our position. With a lower design speed and pedestrian refuges, our senior residents can cross Route 571 safely to the new Rite Aid, and our children can cross Route 571 safely to the new ex-Acme shopping center, as well as to the high school. And our teenage drivers should be able to keep control of their vehicles when going more slowly. Everyone benefits.

4 Comments »

A Much-Improved Intersection

Monday, September 5 by silvia

We’ve organized an educational walk, we’ve advocated and campaigned, we’ve waited and waited, and now with the completion of the new Rite Aid we finally have pedestrian crosswalks across all four roads at the Cranbury/Wallace/Route 571 intersection in Princeton Junction.

This intersection had the dubious honor of being top-ranked (or maybe bottom-ranked) in the 2008 WWBPA intersection inventory. As with many of the recent sidewalk and intersection improvements, this huge addition to walkability and safety was done with relatively little Township money; in this case the funds were largely state, county and private.

Is the intersection now perfect? It’s certainly a lot better, but lack of pedestrian refuges on the Route 571 crossings, poor visibility for vehicles coming off the bridge and turning right onto Wallace, and countdown lights that are still unreachable for wheelchair users forces us to give the intersection less than a triple-A rating.

In the “you can’t get there from here” department, lack of sidewalks on either side of Route 571 mean that it’s not possible to walk safely from the new Rite Aid to the soon-to-be-remodeled Acme shopping center. Well that’s technically not quite true: the safe route is now along Wallace, up Scott and along Alexander.

Sometimes things move slower than we’d like, but this intersection, along with many other intersection and sidewalk improvements over the last six months, is making West Windsor a better place to walk, or in the case of our wheelchair-bound trustee Michael, roll.

Comments Off on A Much-Improved Intersection

Answers to the Mercer County Main Street Quiz

Monday, July 25 by JerryFoster

Picture 1

Here are the answers to the Mercer County Main Street quiz! This picture tour of other towns’ main streets is intended to better illustrate what West Windsor’s own Main Street will look like after the project is completed.

Picture 1 is West Windsor’s Main Street today:

  • View: South / East on CR 571 from the driveway of the Sovereign Bank
  • Speed limit / volume: 40mph / 18K (2009)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: very wide, narrowing sharply
  • Sidewalks: many gaps
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: strip mall and individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front

Picture 2

Picture 2 is Princeton:

  • View: North on SR 27 (Nassau St) from the intersection of Washington Rd
  • Speed limit / volume: 25mph / 17K (2009)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: none
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: yes
  • Streetscape: stores built to the sidewalk, houses converted to stores with small front yards, trees create partial canopy

Picture 3

Picture 3 is Hopewell:

  • View: East on CR 518 (E. Broad St) from the Boro Bean coffee shop driveway near Blackwell Ave. crosswalk
  • Speed limit / volume: 30mph / 9K (2007)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: none
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: yes
  • Streetscape: stores built to the sidewalk, houses converted to stores with small front yards, trees create partial canopy, flags, banner over roadway, federally-funded decorative paving stones being installed with roadway repaving, high visibility crosswalks with in-street movable reminder signs

Picture 4

Pictures 4 and 5 are both Pennington – Picture 4 shows their classic Main Street and Picture 5 shows the arterial road (SR 31) that bypasses Main Street but more closely resembles West Windsor’s CR 571. Picture 4:

  • View: North on CR 640 (S. Main St.) from the church cemetery near Delaware Ave intersection.
  • Speed limit / volume: 25mph / 6K (2008)
  • Lanes: 2
  • Shoulder: none
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: yes
  • Streetscape: stores built to the sidewalk, houses converted to stores with small front yards, trees create canopy, flags, federally-funded sidewalks, medians and bulb-out crossings being installed

Picture 5

Picture 5 is Pennington’s arterial bypass around Main Street:

  • View: South on SR 31 from the driveway of the strip mall containing Harts Cyclery near Broemel Place
  • Speed limit / volume: 35mph / 21K (2005)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: wide
  • Sidewalks: complete on east side
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: strip malls and individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front

Picture 6

Picture 6 is Lawrenceville:

  • View: North on US 206 from the driveway of the Lawrenceville School near the intersection of Craven St.
  • Speed limit / volume: 30mph, 25mph in school zone, 17K (2007)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: none
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: school bordering east side, stores built to sidewalk and houses converted to stores with small yards, parking behind stores, trees create partial canopy, bus stop shelter, crosswalks with in-street movable reminder signs

Picture 7

Picture 7 is Hamilton:

  • View: West / North on SR 33 from east of STS Tire store near George Dye Rd.
  • Speed limit / volume: 45mph / 19K (2008)
  • Lanes: 2, two-way center left turn lane
  • Shoulder: wide
  • Sidewalks: many gaps
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: strip malls and individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front

Picture 8

Picture 8 is Robbinsville:

  • View: West on SR 33 from the turn lane into North Commerce Square
  • Speed limit / volume: 45mph / 19K (2008)
  • Lanes: 2, beginning of two way center left turn lane heading west, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: yes
  • Sidewalks: north side only, gaps
  • On-street Parking: not west, but east out of picture view north side of the street only
  • Streetscape: individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front, new Downtown Robbinsville development north side of street, banners, decorative lighting, stores built to sidewalk

Rt 571 Concept Illustration

Last, and most important is the proposed CR 571 design for West Windsor’s Main Street:
  • View: cross section of street
  • Speed limit / volume: 40mph / existing count is 18K (2009)
  • Lanes: 2, two way center left turn lane, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: yes
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: strip mall and individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front, illustration shows banners, decorative lighting, new stores presumably built to the sidewalk as Chase Bank has done and Rite Aid is doing.

So which other Mercer County town’s Main Street will most resemble West Windsor’s proposed design?

Only Hamilton and Robbinsville have a two way center left turn lane in  their main streets, and Hamilton’s streetscape more closely resembles West Windsor, rather than the new Downtown Robbinsville development. So Hamilton’s Main Street (Picture 7) is what we in West Windsor have to look forward to.

Why would we want this design for our Main Street? Lawrenceville’s US 206 handles nearly the same volume at much lower speeds, and even Pennington’s arterial SR 31 handles more volume at lower speeds, and without a 3 lane design. Today’s roadway is more like the Main Streets of other Mercer County towns than is the proposed design.

Please see the WWBPA’s recommendations for CR 571, and contact our public officials to express your support for these design changes – this project is the best chance we’ll have in many years to create a Main Street that we can be proud of!

Picture 1 is West Windsor’s Main Street today:
1 Comment »

Take the Mercer County Main Street Quiz

Thursday, July 21 by JerryFoster

Picture 1

The pictures are of various town’s main streets in Mercer County. Just match the town with the picture! Then look at the illustration for West Windsor’s proposed Rt 571 Main Street design, and identify which town West Windsor’s main street will most resemble when it’s implemented. Note that 1 town has 2 pictures, since their main street is parallel to another road that carries more traffic.

The towns are:

  • Hamilton
  • Hopewell
  • Lawrenceville
  • Pennington
  • Princeton
  • Robbinsville
  • West  Windsor

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Picture 6

Picture 7

Picture 8

Last, here’s the illustration from the Rt 571 design – which town will West Windsor’s Main Street most resemble? Sign in to comment, or send us an email at wwbikeped@gmail.com. Answers will be posted in a few days!

Rt 571 Concept Illustration

2 Comments »

Archives

Categories

Tag Cloud

bicycle bicycle commuting bicycle safety Bicycle Tourism bicycling Bike/Ped Path bike commuter journal Bike Commuting bike lanes bike path bike racks bike ride bike safety biking Community Bike Ride Complete Streets crosswalk D&R Canal Downtown Princeton Junction East Coast Greenway Historic Bike Trail League of American Bicyclists Learn to BIke Livable Communities Main Street Mercer County mercer county bike commuting Mercer County Park multi-use trails National Bike Month NJDOT pedestrian pedestrian safety Plainsboro Princeton Princeton Junction train station Ride of Silence Route 571 safety sidewalks Smart Transportation speed limits traffic walking West Windsor

Upcoming Events

March 9   ******* Annual Membership Meeting ******* 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Main Mtg Rm A). Guest Speaker TBA.

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

March 12  WWBPA participating at the St Anthony’s Health Fair 1:30-2:30pm in the gym at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hightstown.

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

April 15     Scholarship applications due for Graduating High School Seniors

May          Look for opening Season of WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

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

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

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

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Dept for Free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

More Events »

Visit our Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter

Google Group