The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is organizing its third annual Walk to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday May 5 to mark the opening of the market for the season.
This free family-friendly walk is open to people of all ages, and those in wheelchairs and strollers as well. We will meet in the Maurice Hawk School parking lot at the back of the school, and start strolling at 9 a.m.; please arrive by 8:50 a.m. so we can leave on time. Our mile-long route will take us to Berrien Avenue on the school path, and then down Berrien to Alexander Road. We will then cross Alexander Road by the Arts Center and turn left onto the new sidewalk constructed last summer with the help of a Safe Routes to Transit grant obtained by West Windsor Township. We will cross Wallace Road and continue up over the roundabout and along more of the sidewalk along Alexander Road, including a key portion installed last year, to Vaughn Drive, where we will turn right and proceed to the Farmers’ Market.
Children of all ages will be challenged by a game of “I Spy” along the way.
We’ll follow a different route back to the Hawk parking lot for those who are interested.
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.’”
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.”
The WWBPA partnered with the Princeton Joint Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to promote nighttime visibility recently, at St. Paul’s church in Princeton. We were able to take advantage of their excellent audio/visual facilities in the basement meeting room, with about 15 people attending.
Thanks to our Princeton partners and to our volunteers, especially Lenora,
one of our members, who gave the safety presentation in Spanish, and was very good at engaging the audience. Thanks also to the Hunterdon Area Resources for Transportation (HART) Transportation Management Association, who developed the base of our bilingual presentation.
Bicycle and pedestrian friendliness doesn’t have to be a win-lose battle between competing interests, but can be a win-win for everyone. The right design balances safety, capacity and livability for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians in a way that makes all groups comfortable sharing the space.
Notably, the roadway design should make motorists comfortable traveling at the posted speed limit, which should be 35mph or less so drivers will stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
One nearby example of pedestrian friendliness sometimes discussed is Mercer County Rt 526 in Robbinsville, where recent development included all the design items to make a pedestrian friendly area.
Does it work? Check these pictures – they apparently need a lighted sign board to remind drivers re: the speed limit, and to watch for pedestrians. Why might the roadway design not support the speed limit?
Representatives from the Mercer County Department of Transportation and Infrastructure will present plans for the Old Trenton Road (CR 535) Bridge replacement project and answer questions at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 14 in Room D (downstairs) of the West Windsor Municipal Building.
Plans for the replacement of the bridge over the Assunpink Creek call for a turn lane and signal controlled intersection with Robbinsville-Edinburg Road (CR 526) southbound and a turn lane at Edinburg Road northbound. The turn lane will allow the smooth movement of traffic as well as a queuing lane for those cars turning between the two signals.
The design provides a single lane in each direction with a dedicated left turn lane which, due to long queues of left turning vehicles at both intersections, would extend across the new bridge. The design is documented in the West Windsor and Mercer County Master Plans available at the Municipal building.
The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance wants to ensure the plan also is friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians.
What an incredible year for new sidewalks and bike lanes in West Windsor!
You’ve probably already seen the improvements around the train station, including better crossings, the sidewalk on the Schlumberger side and the striped shoulders that give cyclists some added comfort. There also are three key links in the sidewalk network that went in last month and finally allow people to walk to and from the Toll Brother developments, Windsor Haven and the farmers’ market over the railroad bridge on Alexander Road and to the library, Maurice Hawk and the Arts Center. Those parking at the Wallace Road lot for Arts Council events now have a much more direct walk as well.
Now work has started on Penn-Lyle Road that not only will repave the road surface but add sidewalks to the east side of the road between Village Road West and Stony Brook Way as well as bike lanes on both sides of the road. This will let more students walk or bike safely to High School South.
We also hear that work is progressing for the multi-use trail planned along South Post Road near the ballfields. If all goes smoothly, the project could soon go out to bid, with an aim of construction in September or October.
The WWBPA has long advocated for these improvements, and we thank township officials, including the mayor and council, for making them.
The WWBPA had something for everyone in May. Where did you see us?
On May 7, we led our second annual walk to mark the start of the farmers’ market season. About 20 people, from grandparents to grandchildren, joined for a walk from Maurice Hawk School to the Farmers’ Market at the Vaughn Drive Parking Lot. The first stop was at the Arts Center on Alexander Road where Greening of West Windsor (GroWW) was holding an Herb Sale to benefit the plantings at the Arts Center. We observed the new sidewalk along Alexander Road from Scott Avenue to Wallace Road under construction, and noted that on next year’s walk we would use it. Crossing Wallace at Alexander instead of at Scott is much safer because cars have a much greater sight line to the pedestrians. We proceeded to the station, under the tracks, and along the pathway to the Farmers’ Market, where the WWBPA handed out maps and held a drawing for a T-shirt, a reflective vest, a set of lights, a set of ankle bands and a couple of Share the Road decals.
As part of National Bike to Work Week, we joined Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association for a chilly “bikers breakfast” at the station on May 17, offering food, drink and encouragement to cyclists and others. We hope some are ready to get back on a bike, even if not to get to work.
On May 28, we were at BikeFest, talking to participants about what we do and offering ideas on where to ride.
Our “Ride of Silence,” to honor cyclists killed or injured on the roads, was delayed by rain until June 1. We rode through West Windsor, led by a police car and funeral hearse. If you missed us, check out the photos.
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?
The guide, created through a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is intended to give Safe Routes to School practitioners, teachers, school administrators and others the necessary background information to fully understand the positive benefits of teaching bicycle and pedestrian education in the classroom, and to provide these audiences with easy access to currently available curricula. The guide and its accompanying inventory are organized into descriptive categories that will help in choosing the right curriculum for specific classroom needs.
WWBPA member Leo Donner is grateful for a street light that was replaced and a pedestrian signal that was repaired at the intersection of Vaughn Drive, Alexander Road and Bear Brook Road last year. “During dark nights this winter, the lighting has really helped, he writes. “I’ve noticed, both as a pedestrian and driver, the enormous benefits of visibility.”
But, he adds: “The lighting did not prevent a recent close call for me, though. I was crossing the intersection, starting with a walk signal, and was nearly hit by two cars, one turning left from Vaughn and the other turning right from Bear Brook. Given the current sequencing of signal lights at that intersection, they both had green lights.”
He says the real solution is a change in the signal sequencing to provide a phase in which turns into the crosswalks are forbidden by signal while a walk light is active (e.g., by keeping the Vaughn/Bear Brook Light red and having a variable “No Turn on Red” sign illuminate simultaneously). But in the meantime he’d like to see two things:
(1) Signs at the intersection currently state “Yield to Pedestrians,” instead of “Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk.” State law was recently changed the “yield” to “stop,” and I’ve noticed signs have been changed elsewhere in West Windsor. Could this also be done at this intersection, where it is especially necessary?
(2) Improved police enforcement. I rarely see police at this intersection during rush hours.
The WWBPA supports his suggestions and will be following up. We’ve previously made recommendations for the intersection and would like to see pedestrians get a small head start across the road.