Wednesday, October 29 by joegorun
Four Princeton-area residents participated in a weeklong bicycle ride in October from Philadelphia to Fredericksburg, Va. to promote the East Coast Greenway (www.greenway.org), a 2,900-mile urban version of the Appalachian Trail that links cities from the Canadian border in Maine down to Key West in Florida.
The four, Robert Russo of Belle Mead, Dan Rappoport of Princeton and neighbors Melinda Posipanko and Silvia Ascarelli of West Windsor, bicycled on everything from trails to quiet streets to roads with plenty of traffic, and across the National Mall in Washington. Together, they raised more than $11,000 for the East Coast Greenway Alliance, the nonprofit organization that is working with state and local partners to put more of the route on trails and quiet roads.
The 325-mile ride is an annual event, but the location changes. The goal to ride one section of the East Coast Greenway a year (hence the name, the Week-a-Year Ride) and finish in Key West in 2019. The 2013 ride came through Princeton and West Windsor because the East Coast Greenway includes the D&R Canal Towpath from New Brunswick to Trenton.
“This annual ride provides an exploratory trip to experience the economic impact that off-road trails can and do provide to the different communities that we ride through,” said Robert Russo, who is the treasurer for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. “We get to meet with government leaders in the different states to emphasize the economic and health benefits of a growing off-road trail network.”
All 40-plus riders met with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who is considered the most bike-friendly governor in the U.S. By the end of 2017, 60% of the East Coast Greenway route in that state should be off roads. Overall, about 30% of the route is now off roads, and the vision is to get all of it away from traffic.
Dan Rappoport has participated in three of the four rides so far, only missing the first, from Calais, Maine to Portland, Maine. In 2013, the ride from Hartford, Conn. to Philadelphia took him past his childhood home in Cranford. Riding down the East Coast, he says, is his substitute for the dream of a cross-country bike ride.
The ride was Melinda Posipanko’s first multi-day tour. She loved how the Greenway crafts safe routes by connecting existing trails with quiet roads wherever possible. She was particularly impressed that the route did not go out of its way to avoid less fortunate neighborhoods in the cities and towns it passed through thereby enhancing the possibility that bike tourism will bring economic benefits to these areas.
Like the others, Silvia Ascarelli, a first-time east Coast Greenway rider, is taken with the vision of a route from Canada to Key West. While Delaware is making impressive strides with its off-road trails, she was equally wowed with the well-used network of trails in Maryland from Baltimore to Washington that made riding there a pleasure. For more about this year’s ride, read her blog, www.exploringbybike.wordpress.com
The 2015 version of the ride will pick up where this one ended, in Fredericksburg, and will end in Raleigh, North Carolina. This will be a more difficult ride than in previous years due to longer mileage and fewer greenway sections, so it will be geared toward advanced cyclists. Anyone interested in participating can email email@example.com for more information.
In the attached photo, from left:
Silvia Ascarelli of West Windsor, Melinda Posipanko of West Windsor, former New Jersey resident Ed Majtenyi, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Robert Russo of Belle Mead, Dan Rappoport of Princeton
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Monday, September 24 by silvia
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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Saturday, March 24 by silvia
Some upcoming events along the D&R Canal, one of our area’s great resources for walkers, bikers and joggers:
This Sunday is a 12-mile “practice walk” in preparation for the 40-mile Great Canal Walk on April 7, organized by the FreeWalkers. This walk, scheduled as a 4.5-hour walk, goes from Trenton to Princeton. They call it a casual walk to review the trail and get back into a walking groove. More information here.
Saturday March 31 is the D&R Canal Watch 5K Fun Run, staring at 10 a.m. at Washington Crossing State Park. More information at www.canalwatch.org.
The Great Canal Walk, from Trenton to New Brunswick, also welcomes those who want to walk just part of the route. There’s a separate five-mile walk from Upper Ferry Road to the northern end of Titusville, at the junction of River Drive and Route 29. Meet at the intersection of River Drive and Route 29 (just south of Fiddler’s Creek Road). More information at www.canalwatch.org.
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Tuesday, March 6 by silvia
Once again, the FreeWalkers are planning a long walk along the D&R Canal towpath past West Windsor as part of their Cross-Jersey Walking Challenge.
The Great Canal Walk, or TR2NB40, is a 40-mile one-day long-distance walk on April 7 that starts at the Delaware River. Do some or all of it, tracing the footsteps of this 175-year old waterway. This is a superb physical and mental challenge and the first event in a series of four walking events aiming to walk across New Jersey following the East Coast Greenway. The event is free and open to the public, and you can join at any point along the route.
Two other walks are planned: the NB2MP10 – The Tween Walk on April 14, a 10-mile walk from New Brunswick to Metropark, and NJ2NY50 – The Big Walk on May 19, a one-day, 50-mile walk from Metropark to New York Penn Station.
Those interested in taking the Cross-Jersey Challenge have to walk the entire 100-mile New Jersey portion of the East Coast Greenway within the next 12 months and record their efforts on crossjerseywalk.org.You don’t need to participate in any of the three walks.
In addition, the FreeWalkers are planning a grand walk of about 30 miles all along the Hudson River on June 9. Did you know that the entire Hudson River Walkway from Jersey City to the George Washington Bridge is nearly complete and very walkable? Imagine walking all that way and across the GWB then down the Hudson River Greenway along the West Side Highway. Details will be available on freewalkers.org.
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Saturday, September 24 by silvia
If you want something more on Sunday, Oct. 2 than riding the sharrows in Princeton, consider this from our friends at the East Coast Greenway:
4th Annual Hudson River Loop Tour, Sunday Oct. 2
Join us for a guided bicycle ride on the East Coast Greenway along the Hudson River waterfront in New Jersey and New York, Sunday, Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. This 25-mile bike ride (easy-going pace of 9-10 mph) will travel along greenways (and a short on-road stretch), enjoying newly completed segments of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. At the Hoboken/14 Street dock, we will take the New York Waterway ferry to Manhattan, then return north along the Hudson River Greenway to and over the George Washington Bridge.
We’ll enjoy lunch at beautiful West Harlem Piers Park, just opposite Fairway Market where food and drinks can be bought. We will return to Fort Lee Park at about 2 pm. Cue sheets provided. Bring snacks and water, wear helmet. Rain or shine. Start and end at Fort Lee Historic Park, Fort Lee NJ.
Pre-registration: ECGA member $10 / non-member, $20
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(New Members can join the ECGA at a special $25 rate – this event only!)
Day-of registration: member $15 / non-member, $25
Price includes cost of ferry (rider + bicycle) – Children under 13 – $10 (for ferry)
To pre-register: http://hudsonloopride.eventbrite.com
Monday, May 16 by silvia
From our friends at the East Coast Greenway (the Maine-to-Florida route for walkers and bicyclists that uses the D&R Canal for part of the New Jersey route):
A critical, long-planned piece of the future East Coast Greenway is in danger of getting cut from NJDOT’s project list. Please join the East Coast Greenway Alliance to voice your support for keeping the 2.5-mile Route 7 Improvement Project alive in New Jersey!
NJDOT is recommending that the 2.5-mile Route 7 improvement project, in Jersey City and Kearny, be deleted from its Study & Development Program. We are asking all of our supporters to voice their approval for keeping this project alive. NJDOT will meet on May 18th to make a final decision on this project. Please email (to firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or mail a letter of support for this project. We need to show public support for bicycle & pedestrian infrastructure. If we don’t give people choices and build alternative infrastructure our options for transportation will always be limited and our policies will continue to lead to increased congestion, decreased safety and a less-healthy lifestyle. Thanks for your support!
Not sure what to say? The ECG offers this template:
I am writing you in regards to the recommendation made by NJDOT to remove the above mentioned project from the Study and Development Program. I feel that the 2.5-mile Route 7 project is a vital corridor and connection for the future route of the East Coast Greenway. I understand the many challenges and that significant costs are associated with this project but feel the benefits to the general public will outweigh the challenges and justify the investment.
The East Coast Greenway is a developing safe and accessible bicycle & pedestrian corridor which stretches from Maine to Florida. Currently 26% of the East Coast Greenway exists as traffic free trails. We have worked very closely with NJDOT over the years and their commitment has had the direct result in making New Jersey a leader amongst states in the development of the East Coast Greenway. Currently 53% of the ECG in New Jersey exists as traffic free trails.
The Newark to Jersey City corridor is a critical connection for the East Coast Greenway and also for local non-motorized users who wish to travel between those cities, New Jersey’s two largest. On its eastern terminus, the completed safe and accessible bicycle & pedestrian corridor along Route 7 will enable users to cross the new Wittpenn Bridge being constructed over the Hackensack River and enable users to continue east into Jersey City and other populated towns and cities along the Hudson River in New Jersey.
On its western terminus the Route 7 project will connect to the Newark Industrial Track which will eventually provide a safe bicycle & pedestrian connection to Newark and many other populated regions in New Jersey. The Route 7 project is a vital link which makes all of these connections possible. Without the Route 7 link, these connections become even less feasible and more costly.
For all the aforementioned reasons I urge that the Route 7 corridor project not be removed from the Study & Development Program. If, ultimately, NJDOT decides to cut this project, we urge the agency to put more resources into assuring the safety and accessibility of the current East Coast Greenway route.
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Monday, April 25 by silvia
May is turning out to be a bicycling extravaganza! And that’s before West Windsor’s own BikeFest. These are some “event” rides that have caught our eye:
May 7 brings the 27th annual Farmlands Flat Tour (yes, flat!), organized by the Central Jersey Bicycle Club. Routes range from 15 to 100 miles and depart from Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, off exit 109 on the Parkway. Register by April 28 if you want the T-shirt.
If you’re missing (or are opting out) of Bike New York’s Five Boro Tour on May 1, there’s what we’ll call Tour de Manhattan, sponsored by the East Coast Greenway, on May 14. This is a 32-mile ride around the perimeter of Manhattan, starting at 10 a.m. from the East River Greenway and 61st Street (just south of the 61st St. Dog Run at the bottom of the ramp). The ride will be at a 10-12 mph pace and include the 13 miles of the Hudson River Greenway from Northern Manhattan all the way down to Battery Park. It also will highlight some of the gaps on the East River Greenway. The ride will finish at Glick Park at 37th Street around 2 PM.
Or head to Pennsylvania the same day for the Route 113 Heritage Corridor Ride (the revamped, rebranded River to River Ride). Routes through through Bucks and Montgomery counties range from 10 to 65 miles. Starting point is Souderton, PA, west of Doylestown.
A day later, it’s Tour de Montclair (and that’s its real name). The ninth edition of this annual ride starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday May 15 in Essex County’s Brookdale Park.
Finally, tour historic Trenton with the Trenton Cycling Revolution on May 21. The leisurely 15-mile police-escorted ride through Trenton’s historic streets and sights, diverse neighborhoods and community gardens leaves Cadwalader Park at 9 a.m.
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Wednesday, April 13 by silvia
Hats off to all 50 or so people who took part in TR2NB40 — a 40-mile walk from Trenton to New Brunswick along the D&R Canal on Saturday. Not all walked the entire route, but it sounds like everyone had a good time. We received two reports, one from WWBPA trustee Michael Ogg and another from WWBPA member Loretta Rice.
Michael did a five-mile roll, as he called it, in is battery-powered wheelchair from the D&R bridge bridge over Route 1 in Lawrence to Alexander Road.
“It was fun talking with others and learning about other walks such as The Great Saunter on May 7, a walk round Manhattan. The first section from the footbridge to Port Mercer can be a bit difficult in a wheelchair: the center of the path is grassy, which today was very muddy, and the gravel and sandy strips on either side aren’t quite wide enough for a wheelchair so one drive wheel was always on soft ground. But Port Mercer still appeared quite quickly. Here was the only big problem: there’s a guard rail on the bend but cars are always hitting it and it was impossible to get back onto the towpath (I’ve written to the Park Superintendent about this). I had to go about 600 yards down Quaker Rd which was not fun as there’s no shoulder and cars go quite fast. Two brave walkers accompanied me. At the bend it was sort of possible to get back onto the towpath. I wouldn’t have done it by myself as the short stretch was dangerously steep but two more walkers made sure I didn’t tip backward.
The towpath from here was better – except where it wasn’t. It was all fine gravel, which was good, but in some places was 2″ of mud, which wasn’t good. The only way to get through these sections was at full speed. (My wheelchair badly needs a car wash.) When I arrived at Turning Basin, the extra resistance from the mud had drained my batteries too much and continuing was out of the question. I bade my farewells and went up Alexander Road to the station.”
Loretta picked up where Michael left off:
“The day started off well, at 10 a.m. when I left my house to pick up walkers at the Princeton Junction train station, and it was clear that the weather was going to be perfect for walking and the train was on time. I picked up four walkers who came in from various points on the Northeast Corridor line and drove to Turning Basin/Alexander to join the Freewalkers on the 40 mile D&R walk. Those walkers who started in Trenton were at Turning Basin in good time, most of them arriving before 11 a.m. A few walkers broke off their walk at this point. After a 15-minute break for water and snacks provided by cheerful volunteers from the East Coast Greenway, I joined the group and started walking. This was only my second time crossing at Alexander since the crossing lights were installed and when I happily activated them, one of the walkers commented, “Hey, they actually work!” as cars stopped and allowed us to cross. As someone who drives across this bridge every day on the way to work, it’s a very different perspective from a pedestrian view; when walking, it’s difficult to tell if the lights have actually begun to flash. I was surprised by this as when viewed from inside a car, the lights are amazingly bright.
Walking on the canal trails is always such a joy, the scenery is beautiful and the clay path makes walking easy on the joints, the only minor negative on this day being the previous day and night of rain created quite a few puddles to be navigated on the sections between Alexander and Kingston. Most walkers kept up a pace between 3 and 4 miles an hour, a comfortable pace that made it easy to carry on a conversation. The not-quite-six miles to Kingston flew by as I chatted with various walkers along the way. On reaching Kingston, the walkers took a break for lunch at the parking lot near the Lock Keeper’s house. The East Coast Greenway volunteers again provided snacks, water and information on the Greenway. Walkers shared stories, ate their lunches, changed socks, a few tended to a blister or two and others sat on the stone wall soaking up the sun. I walked the next section to Rocky Hill for a total of 7.5 miles and broke off my walk there; I am recuperating from a foot injury and am easing myself back into to long-distance walking and got a ride to back to the Turning Basin parking lot.
This was a truly enjoyable event and I’m looking forward to challenging myself further by participating in the 50-mile walk in May. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to complete 20 miles of that walk.”
Yes, there are more walks planned. This walk and others are organized by Freewalkers, who are challenging all to walk 100 miles across New Jersey using the East Coast Greenway.
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Tuesday, March 29 by silvia
Trenton Cycling Revolution, a bicycle advocacy group, is coordinating a community clean-up along the D&R Canal in Trenton on Saturday, April 2. Volunteers will meet at the Mulberry Street entrance to the recently completed section at 9 am and work for approximately two hours. Coffee and gloves will be provided. More information here.
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Friday, March 4 by silvia
Get your legs in shape for the first organized walk of this year’s Cross-Jersey Walking Challenge: a 40-mile group walk from Trenton to New Brunswick that follows the D&R Canal almost the entire way on Saturday, April 9.
Yes, it sounds like a lot, and it’s possible to meet the group for just a portion of the walk (They expect to be at the Route 1 footbridge in Lawrence at 9 a.m., the canal and Alexander Road at 10:30 a.m. and in Kingston at noon, for example). And you can always break it down into smaller chunks on your own.
For those who want to take part, the TR2ND40 website is full of tips, from shoes (your feet will swell!) to what to carry (fanny pack vs backpack) to a training plan. You’ll want to be able to walk at a pace of slightly under four miles per hour. (There will be rest stops.)
Finally, if you need an extra incentive, the number of calories burned is impressive!
And if you want to keep walking, there’s more planned … all part of a 100-mile cross-Jersey challenge using the East Coast Greenway.
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Monday, February 14 by silvia
Here’s a challenge for those who love to walk: Walk the length of the East Coast Greenway in New Jersey — 100 miles — this year.
The challenge comes from Freewalkers.org, the group that started last year with the NJ2NY50 walk, 50 miles from Metropark to Penn Station. Participants can walk the Greenway at any time during the year or take part in some or all of the three walks the group is organizing: the Great Canal Walk (Trenton to New Brunswick along the D&R) on April 9; the Tween Walk (New Brunswick to Metropark) on April 16; and The Big Walk (Metropark to New York City) on May 21.
More information and registration is at Cross-Jersey Walk.
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Friday, January 14 by silvia
Here’s a study we like: dollar for dollar, building bike infrastructure creates more jobs than road works.
The findings, publicized by the League of American Bicyclists and quickly making its way around the blogosphere, examined the costs of engineering, construction, and materials for different projects in Baltimore and found that bike lanes create about twice as many jobs as road construction for the same amount of money. (Pedestrian infrastructure also tops roads.) Some of it has to do with the need for labor compared to materials. You can read the entire study here.
For those who say roads are paid for with gas taxes and tolls, well, no, they’re not. Not by a long shot, as this analysis points out.
High Point to Cape May Bike Route
As the LAB points out, it’s one more way bicycle infrastructure is good for the economy. An LAB study notes that bicycle industry and bicycle tourism can boost local employment levels and economic activity. West Windsor is fortunate to be located along the East Coast Greenway, with hotels and other businesses that are accessible from the route, and just off the state’s mapped route from High Point to Cape May (Note: this file is more than 50 MB; be patient while it downloads–the guide is worth it).
For more routes, see the NJDOT’s Biking in New Jersey Tours.
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Tuesday, January 4 by silvia
Some of the participants in the NJ2NY50 Walk
The East Coast Greenway is planning two long walks in New Jersey in 2011.
On April 9, walkers will head from Trenton to New Brunswick following the East Coast Greenway, which uses the D&R Canal towpath for that stretch. Participants can walk all or part of the route, which is about 35 miles.
There also will be a repeat of the 50-mile walk from Metropark to New York Penn Station on May 21. This walk, called NJ2NY50, was a huge success in 2010 and is scheduled this time for May 21st.
Take part in both and you could essentially walk across New Jersey! More information will be on the East Coast Greenway’s website closer to the events. But it’s not too early to start training.
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Friday, November 19 by silvia
Cycling shoppers can look forward to Quaker Bridge Mall’s expansion and renovation, which will include improved bicycle and pedestrian access to the mall. The plan is to provide trail links to both the Avalon Run community southeast of the mall and to Yorkshire Village on the other side of Route 1, behind Mercer Mall, as well as a path along the southern portion of the mall’s loop road.
A macadam path is to be added from Grover’s Mill Rd on the southeast side of the property to the Route 1 access bridge on the southwest corner of the parcel. The path will continue over Route 1 via a new bike/pedestrian lane to be added to the bridge that now connects the mall to Route 1 near Patio World Fireplace & Hearth and Toys R Us. Lawrence Township is working with the Yorkshire Village homeowner’s association to extend that path to Canal View Drive. From that point it is relatively easy to access the D&R Canal towpath (and then the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail and the East Coast Greenway) via the existing residential street and path leading to the neighborhood’s community center.
The size and shape of the new path over Route 1 is still to be determined, as is the timeline for the whole project. The mall’s expansion, which was originally expected to be completed by now, has been delayed by the recession. The mall’s legal counsel was recently before the Lawrence Township planning board seeking a 20-year extension in their overall plan. The township granted an eight-year extension and underscored the importance of bike/pedestrian access over Route 1.
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance supports Lawrence’s efforts to improve bicycle and pedestrian access over Route 1, which will improve connections for West Windsor residents as well. The current bridge over Route 1 on Quaker Bridge Road isn’t suitable for bicyclists and pedestrians. The WWBPA also wants to see the off-road path along Clarksville Road that is in West Windsor’s master plan become reality at some point and is pleased to see that a multi-use trail along Clarksville is part of the new apartment complex now under construction near the railroad bridge.
Our thanks to Lawrence Township’s bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, the Sustainable Transportation Committee, for this report.
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