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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Join Us for Trail Maintenance

Sunday, June 19 by silvia

Millstone River Trail

Millstone River Trail

Help the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance and Friends of West Windsor Open Space do some maintenance on the Millstone trails.

We will meet at 10 a.m. on Sunday June 26 in the Millstone Preserve parking lot on Millstone Road. We will be clearing trails of brush, weeds and downed trees. If there are enough people, we will tackle Rogers Preserve as well. Otherwise we will do that in late July.

Bring clippers/loppers, rakes and weed-whackers or something else to take out the weeds. You may want to wear gloves and carry a bottle of water. We’ll be done by noon.

Email with any questions, and feel free to bring some friends.

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Fabulous Day in Freehold

Saturday, June 18 by silvia

About 20 people from West Windsor and neighboring communities headed earlier this month to Freehold and the Metz Bicycle Museum, a museum filled with what must be more than 100 bicycles collected over 60 years by a former Cranbury resident who, we learned, came up with the idea for those scalloped cement blocks to edge gardens.

Most of us used part of the Henry Hudson Trail, a well-used, shaded and paved path on what was once a freight railroad line. We were accompanied from Marlboro High School by a number of local residents who gave us some extra local flavor: Freehold High School, Bruce Springsteen’s alma mater (we heard a few stories about him!); the Battle of Monmouth monument; and lunch on Main Street.

A smaller  group of hardy cyclists peddled from West Windsor to Freehold (about 22 miles). They had the bright idea to stop for ice cream on the way home!

Our youngest cyclist, 9-year-old Ashley, hitched her bike to Dad’s some of the time. We learned she’s a budding fashionista with real affinity for shoes. So guess what her favorite bike had?

See more of our pictures here.

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Ride to the Metz Bicycle Museum

Friday, April 15 by sandy

Metz Bicycle MuseumJoin us for a bike ride along part of the Henry Hudson Trail, beginning and ending in Marlboro, with a stop in Freehold for lunch and a tour of the unique Metz Bike Museum, housing more than 2,000 items, including 125 of the rarest bicycles, childrens’ antique toys, gadgets, and mousetraps! If there’s time, we may check out some Springsteen sites in town.

Sunday, June 5, 2011
11 a.m. to about 3 p.m.

Cost: $10 adult (children under 12, $5) for admission to the museum. We’ll collect cash on the day.

RSVP: wwbikeped@gmail.com. We must know how many people will join us, as the Metz Bicycle Museum tour requires at least six people and can only handle a maximum of 30 people at a time.

Henry Hudson Trail

Meet at 11 a.m. at the Bicycle Hub bike shop in Marlboro, where you can park you car. We estimate the route is about 8 miles each way.

Bicycle Hub
239 Route 79
Marlboro, NJ 07765
732-946-9080

Henry Hudson Trail
from Marlboro to Freehold

The Bicycle Hub of Marlboro is located on State Highway 79, one mile north of County Road 520 (toward Matawan) in Marlboro township. When using a GPS type navigation system use “239 State Highway 79, Morganville, NJ 07751.

Freehold Bike Brochure

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Buffered Bike Lanes Bring Out the Bicyclists

Thursday, January 27 by JerryFoster

Buffered Bike Lanes Work for Kids

The data is in! Implementing buffered bike lanes in New York City resulted in a 190% increase (nearly tripled!) in bicycling based on before and after counts. More significantly for pedestrians, the percentage of bicyclists on the sidewalk fell from 46% to 4%, and 32% of these cyclists riding in the bike lanes were children legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk!

Buffered bike lanes, which are placed between the sidewalk and the on-street parked cars, are a key feature of the Princeton Junction Redeveloment Plan, although they are replaced in the Transit Village area by the Shared Space concept, which mix bicycle and motor vehicle travel lanes.

According to a recent report, these dramatic results were for weekday counts between 7am-7pm. Weekend counts more than doubled (125% increase), and cyclists riding on the sidewalk fell from 20% to 4%, 43% of whom were children legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk.

Want to have fewer people biking on the sidewalk? Implement buffered bike lanes – they work for bicyclists of all ages and abilities.

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What Changed at the Top in 2010

Saturday, January 8 by sandy

Proposed Schuykill trail segmentThe U.S. Department of Transportation posted its 2010 Record of Accomplishment, and the WWBPA sees some good things in it. Highlights include anti-distracted driving regulations and encouragement for more transportation opportunities. In particular, it helped level the playing field for bicyclists and pedestrians. This is a big accomplishment, particularly as some think bicyclists and pedestrians could lose out in some of the new Congress’s budget battles (see this analysis from the League of American Bicyclists).

Here’s some of what DOT did, in its own words:

In March 2010, DOT formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities to integrate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in federally-funded road projects. DOT discouraged transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians and encouraged investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.  Such recommendations include treating walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes, ensuring convenient access for people of all ages and abilities, and protecting sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected.  Through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants program, DOT funded major projects across the country that allow Americans to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on a bike or on foot.

One of the TIGER grants “will repair, reconstruct and improve 16.3 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that will complete a 128-mile regional network in six counties around Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey,” including the Schuylkill Trail, with artist’s rendering above.

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Hightstown’s Rail Trail

Sunday, January 2 by silvia

Hightstown HeronHightstown’s Roger C. Cook Greenway is featured in the winter issue of the Rails to Trails Conservancy‘s magazine. The trail uses part of the old Camden & Amboy rail corridor and, the article notes, is at the heart of an effort to rejuvenate and reinvigorate the borough. It’s used by pedestrians, cyclists and inline skaters.

Three sections of the Greenway are now open, including the Heritage Trail that includes the old rail corridor and a refurbished whistle-stop. Future plans call for extending it to surrounding communities, such as East Windsor.

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Why an Accessible Trail

Wednesday, December 29 by silvia

Michael at Municipal ComplexThe WWBPA is slowly making progress on improving the accessibility of sidewalks and crosswalks. Some work has already started or is in the capital budget and should be completed this fiscal year, so by June 30. Such improvements, particularly those affecting access between township properties, such as the Municipal Complex and parks, transportation and businesses, are not only obvious but in many cases are required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. These improvements make a huge difference not only to people like Michael Ogg, a WWBPA trustee and a wheelchair user for several years, and other people with disabilities, but also to the general public: those pushing strollers, the elderly, young children on bicycles.

West Windsor WoodsBut what about a trail that goes nowhere? A trail whose purpose is simply to allow its users to enjoy the outdoors or to explore the woods? Yes, there are trails around Community Park and the Ron Rogers Arboretum, certainly the Trolley Line Trail, but not in the woods. West Windsor is fortunate to have so much open space, but shouldn’t people who use wheelchairs also be able to enjoy it? The WWBPA thinks so and is exploring with Friends of West Windsor Open Space the possibility of creating an accessible trail. A good candidate location is in the woods adjacent to the Ron Rogers Arboretum with a trailhead at the “hat” memorial.

A suitable surface is boardwalk or crushed stone: solid enough for wheels but still permeable and environmentally appropriate. Tell us what you think about this.

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Dutch Neck Improvements

Wednesday, December 22 by silvia

Village Road and South Mill RoadWest Windsor is seeking one-year extensions on state funding for a number of bicycle, pedestrian and roadway improvements, including on Village Road West from Penn Lyle Road to Edinburg Road in Dutch Neck. The project is described on the township’s website as improved visual enhancements such as high-visibility crosswalks and in-street pedestrian signage for Village Road West at the intersections with Reed Drive, Oakwood Way, and South Mill Roads.

Other extensions are being sought for projects on Village Road West from about St. David’s Church to North Post Road; Wallace Road from Alexander Road to Route 571 (by the train station); the South Post Road bikeway from Village Road to the rowing center; and the next phase of the Penn Lyle Road improvements, which involves widening the road between Clarksville Road and Canoe Brook Drive.

Bob Hary, the township’s business administrator, said the intent is to put all the projects out for bid in the spring. He said at Monday’s council meeting that the extension is needed because the funding didn’t coincide with the township’s capital improvement plans.

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Remembering 9/11 on Bikes and on Foot

Monday, December 20 by silvia

911 mapThe September 11th National Memorial Trail is being established as a National Historic Trail on the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 and will be a tribute to all those that perished in America’s single worse terrorist attack.

The route is to be a triangle that connects the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA, where Flight 93 went down. Much of it is on existing routes, including the D&R Canal/East Coast Greenway through West Windsor. Other parts still have to be determined, particularly the route from Shanksville to New York.

Organizers aim to have the trail segments planned by September 11, 2011, and many completed segments dedicated.

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Wanted: A Trail Through the Acme Woods

Tuesday, December 14 by silvia

wooded pathThe revitalization of the Acme shopping center (really called Windsor Plaza) is crucial to the health of Downtown Princeton Junction. And all plans that call for a town center or village center there and have been endorsed by over the past couple of decades have included a path through the woods to serve as a safe, off-road route to the train station for pedestrians and bicyclists. The current plan for the path, contained in the Redevelopment Plan, is from the back of the shopping center to Borosko Place.

The new owner of site, Irv Cyzner, and the current Planning Board, don’t seem to want that path (read the Princeton Packet article, “Planners stay ruling on Czyner). But many residents support a trail.

Mr. Cyzner’s plans remain before the planning board, and a fourth public hearing on his proposals, this time to discuss a variance on the size of the shopping-center sign, is scheduled for 7 p.m.  Wednesday, January 12 at the Municipal Center.

This is our last chance before the planning board vote to voice our support for this vital bicycle and pedestrian link. Please come show your support.

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New Path on Clarksville Road

Wednesday, December 1 by silvia

Princeton Terrace PathA multi-use trail has been built along the new apartment complex under construction just south of the railroad bridge. This is another step in making Clarksville Road friendlier for both cyclists and pedestrians, on top of the wider shoulders created along parts of Clarksville north of the Municipal Center this summer. This trail should expand as land parcels are developed. West Windsor’s master plan calls for an off-road path along Clarksville (and turning the road into four lanes) all the way to Quaker Bridge Mall, about a mile away. This is something many WWBPA members and friends have asked about and a safe route to the  mall for cyclists, walkers and joggers is something the WWBPA supports.

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Bike Lanes, Paths or Highways?

Friday, November 26 by sandy

Separate bike lanes and paths, or share the road? This is a lively debate in the bicycle advocacy community,  almost as controversial as whether bike helmets are good for cycling because they save lives or bad because they discourage too many potential cyclists (also known as the “dork factor”).

Some say paths separated from the roadway are safer and encourage more cyclists. But such paths are costly, have their own conflicts (different speeds among cyclists and between cyclists and pedestrians). Plus, the law says bicyclists have a right to the road (and must follow all the rules of the road). By taking their place in the road, share-the-road proponents say, drivers must acknowledge the presence of cyclists and either pass them safely or go at a slower speed. Poorly designed bike lanes, such as those too close to parked cars and/or traffic, might mean less safety, as one study found. The WWBPA has recommended a two-foot buffer between a lane of parked cars and a bike lane to prevent cyclists riding into a door that is being opened (“dooring”).

One idea in between is “bicycle boulevards,” which optimize low-volume and low-speed streets for bicycle travel and discourage cut-through vehicle traffic (a plus for residents!). In Denmark, Copenhagen is extending its bicycling network outward into the suburbs, creating what the blog Copenhagenize calls “bicycle superhighways,” for commutes of six miles or more. Other interesting ideas are “green wave” traffic lights, which coordinate the signal timing to hit green lights along your route, “branded” signage for specific routes, even bicycle service stations along the way.

What’s your take?

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Upcoming Events

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

Apr 29  WWBPA to participate in Community Day at Duck Pond Park (11am-4pm)

May 1     Scholarship applications due for Graduating High School Seniors

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

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

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)

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

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)

Aug 19    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 9     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 14   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

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

Oct 7       WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Oct 12     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Oct 28     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Halloween

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