An Upgrade to Mercer County Park

Sunday, June 17 by silvia

Thank you,  James Jenkins, for this report:

As a frequent bicycle commuter through Mercer County Park, I was recently surprised to find significant road construction taking place on the main park road.

The appearance of road construction crews was an indicator of some great news for users of the park.  The once-gravel shoulder of the main park road is now paved and lined as a bicycle lane.  Previously, bicyclists using the main park road had to contend with a very narrow lane for traffic and bicycles.  In addition, the transition between paved road and gravel posed a potential safety hazard.  The problem no longer exists.

Kevin Bannon, Mercer County Park Commission’s executive director, is obviously thrilled with the completion of the project, too.  He pointed out that the road situation was one of the more common complaints heard from park users.  He requested the funding for the project in 2010 and received approval from the Freeholder Board and County Execute Brian Hughes (who, I’m told, is also a huge fan of the project).

The cost of the project is $601,614, which includes all logos, striping, signs, crosswalks and turnarounds.

Thank you, Mercer County! We know the park is already popular with bicyclists, and this will make it safer and even more appealing for a wider range of cyclists. The WWBPA hopes we can one day see a bike route or multi-use trail through the park to Mercer County Community College.

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More Bike, Pedestrian Improvements Planned

Monday, June 4 by silvia

West Windsor residents will continue to see improvements in bicycle and pedestrian safety around the township over the next year, thanks to continuing Capital Budget Programs.

Money has been allocated to extend bike lanes on Edinburg Road between Village Road East and the east entrance to Mercer County Park.  Cyclists, remember that when the bridge over the Assumpink (and a stretch of Old Trenton Road) is closed for replacement later this year, you can take a shortcut through Mercer County Park and continue through West Windsor on Edinburg. Just yield to pedestrians on the path!

Funds also have been budgeted for to build the missing links in the path running parallel to the Dinky tracks on the Alexander Road side between Vaughn Drive and Route 1. This will be a great help for those wanting to bike-commute to work but not wanting to be on Alexander Road. One day we hope it will link to a bike and pedestrian bridge over Route 1.

There will be improvements in the timing of traffic signals along Alexander Road, which should make crossing safer for pedestrians. The township will also continue with its crosswalk improvements, signage and striping enhancements, and sidewalk repair where street trees have caused damage.

The final phase of the Meadow Road improvements will be started, including a sidewalk from Clarksville Road to Duck Pond Park, making the park accessible from the new apartments on Clarksville Road and the Jewish Community Center accessible from the Estates at Princeton Junction.

And finally, this year will see the conceptual design for resurfacing of Canal Pointe Boulevard.  The WWBPA is hopeful that the township will follow the suggestions made by Orth Rodgers and enthusiastically supported by the WWBPA to put Canal Pointe on a road diet — giving it one travel lane in each direction, center turning lanes for left turns, decelleration lanes for right turns, and bike lanes.

These planned improvements show that West Windsor truly deserves its Bicycle Friendly Community designation. The WWBPA thanks township officials and the township council for these projects.

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JORBA Maintains Mercer County Park Trails

Wednesday, March 21 by JerryFoster

On a beautiful sunny (once the fog burned off) Saturday, 13 volunteers organized by the Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association (JORBA) met to re-route an eroded section of the Red Trail near the tennis courts in Mercer County Park. These  dedicated off-road bicyclists know that conservation and maintenance are part of responsible mountain biking. Thanks to Mick Tormey of West Windsor for organizing the work, and to all the volunteers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania who showed that they care about our trails!

Mountain bikers, check out the JORBA web site to find opportunities to maintain trails all over New Jersey. Public – private partnerships, like JORBA working with Mercer County Park officials, allow everyone to enjoy our public assets, and save our taxpayers a few dollars along the way.

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Work on Mountain-Bike Trails in Mercer County Park

Thursday, March 15 by silvia

From our friends at SMART/Jorba (the volunteers who maintain the off-road bike trails in Mercer County Park):

We will be holding our first trail day of the year on Saturday, March 17 and have a couple of projects planned. Depending on park approval we will be doing a re-route of the red trail east of the tennis courts. Building the trail and re-mediating the old damaged sections hould keep us busy for at least one trail day, if not more.
As is customary, we will meet at the Marina parking lot at 9 a.m. Please bring something to drink. We will have tools and gloves (some bug spray may not be a bad idea).

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Penn Lyle Road Improvements Completed

Thursday, December 15 by JerryFoster

It’s a challenge to keep up with all the improvements that have been completed this year, including the long-planned Penn Lyle Road project, which includes repaving, bike lanes and sidewalk connections. Thanks to the township for getting this done, even including porous pavement for the sidewalks!

Penn Lyle Road is a key connector between WW-P High School South and the bike lanes on Woodmere Way and Village Road, as well as to the Trolley Line Trail, a multi-use path that connects to Community Park and on to the bike lanes on Rabbit Hill Road, Bennington Drive and Southfield Road.

Including the new multi-use path along South Post Road, you can now bike from Mercer County Park, at either the Mercer Oaks Golf Course or at the Caspersen Rowing Center, to Village Elementary School or Grover Middle School, and on to McCaffrey’s grocery store, all via bike lanes or multi-use paths.  There are few gaps left in the biking or sidewalk network in the eastern part of the township.

Naturally, experienced bicyclists don’t regard these improvements as necessary, since they (we, actually) are comfortable driving our bikes in traffic, following the laws like anyone else on the road. For casual bicyclists, however, the bike lanes and paths provide the extra perception of safety that enables them to bike places they would not feel comfortable reaching without those facilities.

Please keep in mind that there are some things to watch out for when biking in a bike lane or on a path. Whenever there’s an intersection or driveway, many drivers  pay attention to the middle of the road to look for a car approaching, but may not look to the edge where the bike lane is, and so may not notice a bicyclist entering the intersection or driveway. Also, if cars are backed up, someone turning through a gap in the cars may not see an approaching bicyclist (or a pedestrian on the sidewalk at a driveway), since the driver is paying attention to the gap in cars but not yet to the space beyond. Just keep an eye out for these common causes of crashes, and you’ll be able to avoid them.

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South Post Road Multi-Use Trail Arrives

Wednesday, November 23 by JerryFoster

This past week saw the pavement laid on the new trail along South Post Road from Village Road to Conover Road. This trail will see heavy use by the rowers at Caspersen Rowing Center,  who do their warmup runs along this stretch of road, which borders the Mercer Oaks golf course. We also hope to see families use it as they head to the ballfields at the corner of Conover Road. Thanks to the township and county for working together on a grant for this trail!

Caspersen Rowing Center is run by the Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA), which was recently named 2011 USRowing Club of the Year by USRowing, the United States’ governing organization for Olympic and World Cup rowing. Located on Mercer Lake in Mercer County Park,  Caspersen Rowing Center is an Olympic and U.S. Women’s National Team Training Center, home to the Mercer Junior Rowing Club for high school students and the Mercer Master’s  Rowing Program for adults, as well as to area private school rowing programs. Mercer’s programs have many members in common with the WWBPA, including this author’s spouse and daughter. More information can be found at rowpnra.org.

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Help West Windsor Get Three Grants

Wednesday, October 5 by silvia

Part of the Dinky Line Trail

West Windsor is applying for three bicycle and pedestrian-friendly grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation. One will help pay for an extension of the Dinky Line Trail behind the office buildings along Alexander Road between Vaughn Drive and Route 1, giving bicyclists a safe alternative to Alexander Road and giving office workers a pleasant outdoor retreat. (See the map here: Dinky Line Trail Extension Map.) It falls under the Safe Streets to Transit program. Another, part of the Bikeways program, would help extend the bike lane on Edinburg Road to the eastern entrance of Mercer County Park, creating a family-friendly route to the park. The third, part of the Roadway Infrastructure Program, would allow for the repaving of New Village Road between Edinburg and Old Trenton Road, including the bike lanes and ensuring that ramps at the crosswalks are suitable for those on wheelchairs, pushing strollers and others. While at least the first two are in this year’s capital improvement budget, any state funding obviously means less local money (via property taxes) will be needed.

These grants are highly competitive, and state officials made clear at the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition‘s summit early this year that community support for the projects is an important consideration.

Of course, the WWBPA will write letters as an organization, but we’d also like to see some from individuals. Write a letter to the mayor (we are told they want original signed letters, not emails) this week for each project you want to show support. The Municipal Center address is 271 Clarksville Road, West Windsor NJ 08550. Apologies for the short notice, but the township wants the letters by Friday. The letter does not have to be long. Any personal experience with the area and why the improvement is needed would make it even better.

Help us show we want these improvements!

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Summer Camp Bike Programs

Thursday, February 24 by sandy

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
Mercer County Mountain BikingThis 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.

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