Safer Pedestrian Crossing of Clarksville at Hawk

Monday, November 24 by JerryFoster

Hawk Clarksville 2 dark shotsWhat would you do? You’re walking at night, from the station to home north of Clarksville – up Scott Ave, through school grounds and the parking lot to the intersection of Clarksville and Hawk Drive.

There’s no marked crosswalk, but there is a streetlight. Or, you could go to the painted crosswalk at the opposite edge of school grounds, but there is no street light and no way to manually activate the blinking crosswalk lights that are set on a timer for the students.

Also, you’d then have to walk back to Hawk Drive to continue home.

What would you do? Cross under the street light without a painted crosswalk or at the painted crosswalk without light? See the picture for an approximation of the differences.

Please join us at the Twp Council meeting tonight, Monday November 24, 2014, to ask for an improved painted crossing with a streetlight, pedestrian-activated warning lights and turning on the existing speed display signs at all times, not just during school times.

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Proposed Changes to Clarksville / North Post Intersection

Saturday, March 30 by JerryFoster

The WWBPA has long been concerned about safety along Clarksville Rd, especially after a pedestrian was seriously injured while walking his dog at the intersection of North Post Road, near the municipal complex. Mercer County’s proposed changes (pictured) partly address and partly heighten these concerns, and should be remedied to make all legs of the intersection safer.

Following up on our letter to the county supporting the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s recommendations contained in their corridor study, Taming Traffic, we recently followed up with the following letter to the Mercer County Freeholders:

Dear Freeholders,

I am writing regarding the upcoming ordinance on the intersection of Clarksville and North Post Roads in West Windsor. As a citizen living very close to this intersection I observe the daily interactions of vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. As a trustee of The West Windsor Pedestrian and Bicycle Alliance I am concerned with all aspects of safe streets for pedestrians and bicyclists and want the County as well as the Township to remain committed to Complete Streets planning for safe bicycle routes everywhere.

The plans for North Post Road are very troubling. Heading south towards Conover, unlike all the other intersection approaches, there are three lanes of vehicle traffic instead of two.

My concern is safety for children and adults crossing this portion of the intersection heading to the Mercer County Library, Municipal Building, Senior Center and Post Office. This crosswalk is heavily used by pedestrians and the increase of vehicle lanes to four across is extremely unsafe for pedestrians, and there is no safe lane for bikes.

The second area of concern is the north side of the intersection on North Post Road. The plan shows a 17 foot lane with no provision for a separate bicycle lane, or even a shoulder. There is more than enough room for a vehicle lane as well as a bicycle lane, and this heavily used part of our town needs to have that bicycle lane marked. North Post Road is a popular route to and from the Municipal Complex and County Library and to and from the train station as well as the very popular Farmers Market.

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance sent a letter in September 2012, supporting changes to this intersection as described in the 2007 report from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (“Taming Traffic” p.38; diagram p.37). We strongly request you follow through with improving the safety here by following that plan (which does not include any separate right turn only lane).

Clarksville Road divides our community in two if traffic taming measures are not implemented. We need safe complete streets especially around our schools and libraries.

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for the March 28th meeting or would be there for the public hearing. I am asking for you to approve an ordinance with the safety of pedestrians in mind. A four lane road is not a safe road to cross.

Thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,
Kathleen Brennan
WWPBA Trustee

Please contact our officials with your support for making the Clarksville and North Post intersection safer for everyone – motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

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An Effective Pedestrian Crossing

Sunday, April 3 by JerryFoster


Check out the innovative pedestrian crossing in New Brunswick: Not only does it blink when a pedestrian is crossing, it shows the speed of approaching traffic. It’s even solar-powered. A possible solution for Sherbrooke and Route 571?

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Safe Routes Intersection Mural

Tuesday, December 21 by sandy

Philadelphia Intersection MuralThe National Center for Safe Routes to School awarded Philadelphia’s South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Universal Institute Charter School (UICS) one of its 2010 mini-grants to encourage safe walking and bicycling to school.

Students and neighbors from SOSNA and UICS painted an intersection mural, “a low-cost way to alert and inform motorists of the school zone,” at 15th and Catharine Streets.

Leading up to the painting project, members of Safe Routes Philly taught bicycle safety to 5th and 6th graders in UICS.

Let us know if you have a creative idea for safe routes in West Windsor.  Guidelines for mini-grants are listed on the Safe Routes website.

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Shared Space: Safe or Dangerous?

Wednesday, December 15 by JerryFoster

from Shared Space: Safe or Dangerous?Township Council recently adopted the shared space concept as fundamental to the lawsuit settlement with InterCap over the new Princeton Junction Transit Village. Under this concept, motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians share the roadway as peers. But is it safe?

Four European experts reported results of their studies of the shared space experience in the Netherlands in 2007 at the Walk21 Conference held in Toronto. Shared space was implemented several locations between 1998 and 2001, with studies published between 2003 and 2007.

Overall, “reported accidents have decreased substantially.” In one location, however, minor injury collisions persisted, and “bicyclists were overrepresented”.  Significantly, “police report only a (minor) part of the accidents. Particularly bicycle and pedestrian accidents are often not reported to the police. This means that reliable and valid conclusions regarding the safety of cyclists and pedestrians cannot be made.”

What makes shared space work? “At low speeds people have more time for communication and the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal utterances.”

What keeps it from working? “Children and people with a visual or mental handicap cannot be expected to comply. Also, the elderly are not always able to anticipate and react in time, especially not when it is crowded and many things happen in a short period. This group (in total 25% percent of the population!) runs a substantially raised risk.”

How do people feel about shared space? “Most respondents do not think the situations are safe. Both car drivers and bicyclists and pedestrians are critical about it. In Haren remarkably many people (90%) demand a clear choice regarding the position of the bicycle: either on a bicycle lane or on the carriageway. The experts prefer the bicyclist on the carriageway; the public prefers a separate recognizable lane.”

The WWBPA supports the shared space concept, but recognizes that to work, all roadway users must be provided with subtle guidance as to the preferred positioning within the space. Bicyclists must be encouraged to stay out of the way of opening car doors (the “door zone”), such as through the use of a special color or pattern of pavement to guide where they ride.

The current (pre-settlement) language in the redevelopment ordinance calls for buffered bike lanes to achieve this goal. This goal can be achieved in the shared space concept, but the language regarding bike lanes is proposed to be removed. Please contact our public officials with your questions or concerns regarding the safety of our proposed new shared space.

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Give Pedestrians a Head Start

Sunday, December 5 by sandy

New York City and Washington, D.C. have begun changing the timing of traffic lights to increase pedestrian safety. The Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), or Pedestrian Head Start, gives pedestrians a few seconds to begin crossing the street before drivers have the green light.

This has been demonstrated to work well in large cities, but we believe it could also be useful in West Windsor, particularly at the Route 571/Wallace Road/Cranbury Road intersection (this intersection is currently under construction) and possibly at the Alexander Road/Vaughn Drive intersection (see our previous recommendations for this intersection after a 2008 West Windsor Walk).

See how they work.

LPI – Leading Pedestrian Interval from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

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West Windsor’s New Woonerf

Wednesday, November 24 by JerryFoster

PJ Promenade as Shared SpaceTownship Council adopted a new concept Monday night for shared streets, also called a woonerf, for the Princeton Junction Transit Village. What’s a woonerf, and how does it work?

Developed by Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman, a woonerf is a street where pedestrians and bicyclists share the roadway with motorists as equals.  This concept goes by a number of other names, such as Living Streets, Home Zones or shared space.

The safety of such spaces depends on extremely slow speeds and one-on-one human eye contact to negotiate movement through the space. Read about one town’s experience with removing traffic lights.

The WWBPA made several recommendations to improve the bikeability of the proposed area, including more bike parking at the Farmers Market and in residential parking structures, as well as requiring back-in diagonal parking for improved safety.

The WWBPA is confident that this plan, if built as shown in the pattern book, will be eminently walkable, and will provide those bicyclists who are comfortable in traffic with a wonderful place to stop and enjoy the amenities, like the Farmers Market. We are hopeful that motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians will embrace the new shared street and quickly learn to navigate without traditional traffic control.

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Morning Commute

Saturday, November 13 by sandy

The WWBPA conducted another in our series “West Windsor Walks” on Monday, November 8 from 6:45 to 7:15 a.m. at the intersection of Cranbury-Wallace Roads and Route 571. As we watch the construction of a sidewalk and new travel and turn lanes on the bridge over the railroad tracks and await the addition of marked crosswalks, we continue to see conflicts with pedestrian and cars. Many people cross mid-block both across Route 571 and across Wallace Road as they look for the quickest and, what they perceive to be the safest, routes to the Princeton Junction Train Station.

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Pedestrian Safety

Sunday, November 7 by sandy

pedestrian crosswalk in Boston

www.pedbikeimages.org / Laura Sandt

Along with our letter of  thanks to members, we’ve been enclosing bookmarks with the ABC’s Quick Check for bicycles and A Kid’s Guide to Safe Walking. Member Dick Snedeker reminds us that safe walking skills are for everyone.

The card you enclosed giving safety tips for crossing the street was addressed to kids, but there are many adults who could profit from the same tips. Over the last few years, I have noticed that when driving in Princeton, many pedestrians have become arrogant enough to assume that once they’re in a crosswalk, there’s no need to look out for traffic. Some people don’t even bother to look to see if cars are coming or have a reasonable chance to stop even before they enter the crosswalk. It’s like they’re playing Russian roulette: “If I get hit it’s your fault”–no matter that I’m badly injured, or worse, or that my carelessness was the real cause of the accident.

Case in point: A couple of days ago I was going south on Harrison Street near Southern Way at about the speed limit (25 mph) when I noticed a woman with a stroller in front of her waiting to cross from the other side. She was at a crosswalk, but I was only about 15 yards or so from it (a little more than one second at 25 mph), so I assumed she would wait to start crossing until I had passed. No such luck. Without even looking up for possible oncoming traffic–none was coming in the other direction–she started across, and I had to make a very sudden stop. Even then, she never looked up or seemed to notice my car. Then I saw that the stroller was empty and that she was carrying an infant in a sling around her neck. Her right hand was pushing the stroller and her left hand–you guessed it–was clutching her cellphone tight against her left ear. So much for being a responsible pedestrian. Bah, humbug!!

Since I grew up in the city (Brooklyn) and played in the street a lot, I learned very early that cars are much larger, faster, and harder than you are, and to stay out of their way–even if you’re in a crosswalk.

Dick Snedeker

Dick, thanks very much for the reminder! We’ll create a new bookmark and, in the meantime, please see our Walk Smart Stay Smart page for a list of suggestions and links to more resources about safe walking practices.

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

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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)

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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)

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

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