The Princeton Junction train station now has more bike parking for our many bike commuters.
A new eight-locker unit has been added to the east side, near the first set of steps in the daily parking lot (with room to add more as needed), and four new bike racks have been added to the west side between the Trenton-bound tracks and the Dinky.
The WWBPA coordinated the project, which involved six entities, and managed the installation of the new concrete pads, which was contracted to Trenton’s Capital City Contracting Co. The lockers and racks were supplied by New Jersey Transit, and West Windsor Public Works handled the installations of both the lockers and racks. All of this was made possible through a four-way cost-sharing among the West Windsor Parking Authority, West Windsor Bike Fest, Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA), and the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance through its membership dues. Thanks, all, for helping make West Windsor a more bicycle-friendly community!
The racks were filled the day after they were installed, and the new lockers will help shrink the existing waiting list. Anyone wishing to rent a bike locker should contact GMTMA at 609-452-1491 x224. The cost is $7.50 per month for six months ($90 per year). Contracts are automatically renewable.
We are seeing more people biking to the train station. If you’d like to try it but need some help selecting a route, email us at email@example.com
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.
On this last day of National Bike Month, we want to share an inspiring story from David Porsche, a bike commuter we met at the Princeton Junction train station and who says thanks for being such a bike-friendly community. His route takes him along Clarksville Road from the southern end of town and he has found that almost all motorists are courteous–yes, during rush hour.
“I started bicycle commuting to the Princeton Junction train station a few years back. I ride between five and 12 miles each way (to and from) Monday through Friday. I ride all year round and in all types of weather. The accessibility to safe roads and plentiful bicycle resources at the train station has made the transition from gas guzzler to cyclist incredibly easy.
Since I have started bicycle commuting I have lost over 80 pounds and feel like I have been given a fresh lease on life. I have even joined one of the local area Fire Departments as a volunteer firefighter, something that was physically not possible before I decided to saddle up.”
David says he wanted to save money on parking and tried the bus, but he kept missing it and having to wait a long time for the next one. (All of us New York commuters know about train delays!) When he saw someone hop on a bike, he knew he’d found his solution. So thanks to the anonymous cyclists who inspired David, and we hope he will inspire you to try biking, whether to work, the station or for your next errand around town.
Want some more inspiration? A bike commuter on average loses 13 pounds in the first year. (David is clearly above average!) A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour. And just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. (All this comes from Trek’s 1 world 2 wheels booklet, available from the WWBPA.)
And thanks, David, for your “before” and “after” photo! Also inspiring!
The WWBPA is partnering with New Jersey Transit, West Windsor Township, West Windsor Parking Authority, West Windsor BikeFest and the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association to add bike lockers to the Princeton Junction train station.
The lockers, which were unused at the Maplewood train station, were recently disassembled and brought to storage by township employees, and will be reassembled when the concrete pad is poured on the New York-bound side of the tracks at Princeton Junction station.
Thanks to all our partners for helping to make this happen!
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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.”
A new rapid flashing beacon was installed recently at the new crossing between Schlumberger and the Princeton Junction train station. The crossing, which is only accessible via a new sidewalk connecting to Route 571, flashes yellow strobes when a pedestrian presses the crossing button. Thanks to the township for including this crossing and sidewalk in the extensive set of new sidewalks installed over the past few months, with funding from a Safe Routes to Transit grant.
These pedestrian-activated beacons have been very successful in getting cars to stop for crossing pedestrians in studies, and have a significant cost advantage over other treatments, since they are solar-powered. A similar beacon was installed at the Trolley Line Trail crossing of South Mill Road.
Since it’s new, it remains to be seen if commuters will cross at this location once they discover it. Most have been crossing at or east of the Schlumberger driveway across from the Amtrak driveway and then walking through the station parking lot, which is more direct. When I walked it, one commuter was doing that while another pedestrian who was walking her dog used the crossing with the flashing beacon.
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We’ve organized an educational walk, we’ve advocated and campaigned, we’ve waited and waited, and now with the completion of the new Rite Aid we finally have pedestrian crosswalks across all four roads at the Cranbury/Wallace/Route 571 intersection in Princeton Junction.
This intersection had the dubious honor of being top-ranked (or maybe bottom-ranked) in the 2008 WWBPA intersection inventory. As with many of the recent sidewalk and intersection improvements, this huge addition to walkability and safety was done with relatively little Township money; in this case the funds were largely state, county and private.
Is the intersection now perfect? It’s certainly a lot better, but lack of pedestrian refuges on the Route 571 crossings, poor visibility for vehicles coming off the bridge and turning right onto Wallace, and countdown lights that are still unreachable for wheelchair users forces us to give the intersection less than a triple-A rating.
In the “you can’t get there from here” department, lack of sidewalks on either side of Route 571 mean that it’s not possible to walk safely from the new Rite Aid to the soon-to-be-remodeled Acme shopping center. Well that’s technically not quite true: the safe route is now along Wallace, up Scott and along Alexander.
Sometimes things move slower than we’d like, but this intersection, along with many other intersection and sidewalk improvements over the last six months, is making West Windsor a better place to walk, or in the case of our wheelchair-bound trustee Michael, roll.
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.
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.
West 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.
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?
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.
A small number of bicycle lockers are available for rent at the Princeton Junction train station. These lockers are on the westbound side, along the Dinky tracks. Cost is $90 per year, payable every six months. The lockers are administered by Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, 609-452-1491.
Lockers and bike racks were added this year in a project jointly funded by the WWBPA, GMTMA, BikeFest and West Windsor Parking Authority, with racks and lockers supplied by New Jersey Transit and with installation assistance from West Windsor’s public works department.
West Windsor is planning to fill in several gaps in the sidewalk network near the Princeton Junction train station.
The Township has acquired an easement along the Alexander Road frontage of Princeton Polygraph, the building between the old compost and mulch site and the U.S. Trust building at the corner of Vaughn Drive. As a result, a contract has been awarded to install sidewalks on the missing link on that side of the road from the roundabout to Vaughn Drive.
In addition, sidewalks will be installed on sections of Wallace and Alexander roads near the Arts Center, including the missing link across from the Arts Center, so that there is a complete connection between Scott and Wallace roads.
Improvements near the train station are being funded by a state Safe Routes to Transit grant.
Sidewalks are going in as part of the first phase of the Penn-Lyle improvements. One section will be from Old Village Road on the same side as the Trolley Line Trail to the point where the sidewalk now begins. Another addition will bridge the gap where the road crosses Duck Pond Run. This will create a continuous sidewalk from Village Road to High School South and Clarksville Road. (Bike lanes also will be added from Westwinds Drive to New Village Road.)
The township also has acquired an easement along the Alexander Road S-curve from Princeton University and has awarded a contract for sidewalks there.
Weather permitting, some work on all these projects will be done this year; otherwise, work will start once the weather warms up in the spring.
The township is still working on acquiring an easement for a sidewalk on the curve of North Post Road so that there can be a sidewalk link from the Municipal Center and library to the train station.
The WWBPA thanks the township for these improvements and others this year. They will go a long way toward making it safer for high school students to walk to school and for anyone wanting to walk to the train station.