Mercer First to Complete Streets (Policies)

Saturday, January 10 by JerryFoster

Complete Streets logoFive years after Montclair and NJDOT adopted New Jersey’s leading Complete Streets policies, this week Mercer County became the first to have all roads covered – state, county and every municipality. Congratulations to Mercer County for reaching this very important milestone toward making our communities more bicycle and pedestrian friendly!

Complete Streets policies require road improvements to support biking, walking and transit for users of all ages and abilities as the rule rather than the exception, and provide for incremental improvements without mandating retrofits.

Complete Streets benefit everyone, e.g. better safety (not just for cyclists and pedestrians, but mainly for motorists), higher property values (see walkscore.com) and improved security (more eyes on the street). Those who walk or bike feel better, are healthier and live longer – students who bike or walk to school score better on standardized tests.

Realizing these benefits will take time, as responsibility for our roads is divided between the state (for federal and state roads), counties and municipalities. Even a short trip can include roads and/or bridges under the care of many jurisdictions – for example, biking around Princeton’s Carnegie Lake involves traversing 3 counties and 5 municipalities, plus a state and maybe even a federal road.

What does a Complete Street look like? It depends – Complete Streets are not cookie-cutter. All of these pictures might be considered examples in some sense, while each may have additional possibilities to make them even more complete.

See if you can pick out which picture shows which Mercer County municipality – Trenton, Hamilton, Ewing, Hopewell Township, Pennington, Hopewell Boro, Princeton, Lawrence, West Windsor, East Windsor, Hightstown and Robbinsville.

biking on the sidewalk w adult Hightstown Stockton Dutch Neck nb Robbinsville Pond Rd MS 56 cycles ped xwalk Hamilton Estates G Dye Roundabout Cyclist East Windsor Dutch Neck Dorchester 4 xwalks Nassau Sharrows
Lawrence Johnson Trolley Trail Xing Hopewell Denow Roundabout 1 Pennington Cyclist Texting Hopewell Boro Broad St Xing
Ewing Presbyterian Church Xing
Trenton Bike Lane Paver and Asphault

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West Windsor’s New Biking Instructor Coach

Tuesday, January 29 by JerryFoster

Congratulations to WWBPA member Les Leathem for earning his League Certified Instructor Coach designation from the League of American Bicyclists! Les recently returned from the final seminar in Houston, and is now qualified to teach new biking instructors.

Of course Les also teaches biking as well. Several classes aimed at helping people learn how to ride safely on the road are planned for this spring:

At All Saints Church, Princeton (Fri: 6:30-9pm, Sat: 9am-2:30pm)

April 19/20, May 17/18, June 14/15

At Bernie’s Bicycle Center, Hamilton ( Wed: 630-9pm, Sat: 9am-12 noon)

April 17/24/27

Course cost is $50 for the general public, $40 for members of WWBPA. For more information contact Les Leathem at ljleathem@verizon.net or 609-578-0625

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Our Trail-to-Trail Community Bike Ride (and Walk)

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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Alexander Road S-Curve Completed

Wednesday, December 7 by JerryFoster

Among the amazing number of recent achievements, the Alexander S-Curve ranks high.  Starting at the Delaware and Raritan Canal, the new roadway includes bike lanes on both sides and a sidewalk on the south side of the road. The road was the site of a fatality several years ago, and the construction was delayed to avoid concurrence with the Meadow Road project. Thanks to the township for their very busy year and all the great results!

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St Paul’s Nighttime Visibility Event

Saturday, December 3 by JerryFoster

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.

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Spanish Speakers (And Other Volunteers) Wanted!

Friday, November 11 by silvia

Help us promote nighttime visibility among “invisible” cyclists and others.

We will be at St. Anthony’s of Padua in Hightstown at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20 and at St. Paul’s in Princeton at 7 p.m. Monday Nov. 28. At each event, we will give a short presentation in Spanish (and English)  that also includes some basic “rules of the road.” We’ll then offer visibility and safety items such as reflective vests, lights and helmets for half price, funded in part by a generous donation from the West Windsor Policemen’s Benevolent Association. We need people who can help with the presentation as well as Spanish and non-Spanish speakers to help fit helmets, model vests and otherwise encourage “invisible” cyclists to be more visible to motorists at night.

Interested in helping? Email us at wwbikeped@gmail.com

Would your place of worship be interested in a safety presentation? Or have another suggestion? Email us!

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Bike the Sharrows

Thursday, September 22 by silvia

Sustainble Princeton invites everyone to experience the new sharrows on its “Be Green, Be Seen” mass bike and skate ride on Sunday, Oct. 2. The group will set off from Hinds Plaza (by the Princeton library) at 3 p.m. for a two-mile ride. (“Be Green, Be Seen” will run until 5 p.m.) Sharrows have been installed on a number of local roads, including Nassau, Harrison and Witherspoon streets. The route will cover parts of those streets plus Hamilton Avenue.l

What’s a sharrow? A shared-lane marking when it’s just not feasible to install a full bicycle lane. You can read about their success elsewhere here.

Here’s the full message from Sustainable Princeton:

Unlock those bikes and come ride on the bike sharrows!
Cyclists and skateboarders, all ages, all skill levels are invited to take part in a short ride along the newly marked sharrows along Princeton’s streets.
Bike for the environment, bike to support the BYOBag campaign or just bike for fun… but please join us to show that we love the new Sharrows and look forward to more support for healthy, sustainable, fun-loving bikers and skaters.
Remember your helmets!
The more people who attend the ride, the bigger the statement.
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Sharrows Are Coming to Princeton

Saturday, July 30 by silvia

From Friday’s Princeton Packet:

Sharrows, or shared lane markings, will be installed next month on roadways in the two Princetons.

The thermoplastic markings will allow cyclists and drivers to safely “share the road” along the area’s streets that are too narrow for separate bike lanes.

Nassau Street will be marked from Route 206 to Snowden Lane. Markings will also be placed on Wiggins Street and Hamilton Avenue in the borough. In the township, the markings will be placed on Harrison Street to Mount Lucas Road.

Harrison and Witherspoon Street will be marked their entire lengths.    A maximum of 87 symbols will be installed in the borough; and the State Department of Transportation will install additional 60 on Nassau Street. Approximately 72 will be installed on the township roadways.

The borough’s share of the installation costs is $14,800. The township is paying the remainder of the $29,920, or $14,400. Each symbol costs about $170. The actual number of symbols that end up being installed will determine final cost.

Traffic Lines Inc. of Farmingdale will be doing the work for the two municipalities.

Installation will begin mid-August.

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Answers to the Mercer County Main Street Quiz

Monday, July 25 by JerryFoster

Picture 1

Here are the answers to the Mercer County Main Street quiz! This picture tour of other towns’ main streets is intended to better illustrate what West Windsor’s own Main Street will look like after the project is completed.

Picture 1 is West Windsor’s Main Street today:

  • View: South / East on CR 571 from the driveway of the Sovereign Bank
  • Speed limit / volume: 40mph / 18K (2009)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: very wide, narrowing sharply
  • Sidewalks: many gaps
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: strip mall and individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front

Picture 2

Picture 2 is Princeton:

  • View: North on SR 27 (Nassau St) from the intersection of Washington Rd
  • Speed limit / volume: 25mph / 17K (2009)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: none
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: yes
  • Streetscape: stores built to the sidewalk, houses converted to stores with small front yards, trees create partial canopy

Picture 3

Picture 3 is Hopewell:

  • View: East on CR 518 (E. Broad St) from the Boro Bean coffee shop driveway near Blackwell Ave. crosswalk
  • Speed limit / volume: 30mph / 9K (2007)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: none
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: yes
  • Streetscape: stores built to the sidewalk, houses converted to stores with small front yards, trees create partial canopy, flags, banner over roadway, federally-funded decorative paving stones being installed with roadway repaving, high visibility crosswalks with in-street movable reminder signs

Picture 4

Pictures 4 and 5 are both Pennington – Picture 4 shows their classic Main Street and Picture 5 shows the arterial road (SR 31) that bypasses Main Street but more closely resembles West Windsor’s CR 571. Picture 4:

  • View: North on CR 640 (S. Main St.) from the church cemetery near Delaware Ave intersection.
  • Speed limit / volume: 25mph / 6K (2008)
  • Lanes: 2
  • Shoulder: none
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: yes
  • Streetscape: stores built to the sidewalk, houses converted to stores with small front yards, trees create canopy, flags, federally-funded sidewalks, medians and bulb-out crossings being installed

Picture 5

Picture 5 is Pennington’s arterial bypass around Main Street:

  • View: South on SR 31 from the driveway of the strip mall containing Harts Cyclery near Broemel Place
  • Speed limit / volume: 35mph / 21K (2005)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: wide
  • Sidewalks: complete on east side
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: strip malls and individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front

Picture 6

Picture 6 is Lawrenceville:

  • View: North on US 206 from the driveway of the Lawrenceville School near the intersection of Craven St.
  • Speed limit / volume: 30mph, 25mph in school zone, 17K (2007)
  • Lanes: 2, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: none
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: school bordering east side, stores built to sidewalk and houses converted to stores with small yards, parking behind stores, trees create partial canopy, bus stop shelter, crosswalks with in-street movable reminder signs

Picture 7

Picture 7 is Hamilton:

  • View: West / North on SR 33 from east of STS Tire store near George Dye Rd.
  • Speed limit / volume: 45mph / 19K (2008)
  • Lanes: 2, two-way center left turn lane
  • Shoulder: wide
  • Sidewalks: many gaps
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: strip malls and individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front

Picture 8

Picture 8 is Robbinsville:

  • View: West on SR 33 from the turn lane into North Commerce Square
  • Speed limit / volume: 45mph / 19K (2008)
  • Lanes: 2, beginning of two way center left turn lane heading west, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: yes
  • Sidewalks: north side only, gaps
  • On-street Parking: not west, but east out of picture view north side of the street only
  • Streetscape: individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front, new Downtown Robbinsville development north side of street, banners, decorative lighting, stores built to sidewalk

Rt 571 Concept Illustration

Last, and most important is the proposed CR 571 design for West Windsor’s Main Street:
  • View: cross section of street
  • Speed limit / volume: 40mph / existing count is 18K (2009)
  • Lanes: 2, two way center left turn lane, turn lanes at intersections
  • Shoulder: yes
  • Sidewalks: yes
  • On-street Parking: no
  • Streetscape: strip mall and individual commercial properties with parking lots typically in front, illustration shows banners, decorative lighting, new stores presumably built to the sidewalk as Chase Bank has done and Rite Aid is doing.

So which other Mercer County town’s Main Street will most resemble West Windsor’s proposed design?

Only Hamilton and Robbinsville have a two way center left turn lane in  their main streets, and Hamilton’s streetscape more closely resembles West Windsor, rather than the new Downtown Robbinsville development. So Hamilton’s Main Street (Picture 7) is what we in West Windsor have to look forward to.

Why would we want this design for our Main Street? Lawrenceville’s US 206 handles nearly the same volume at much lower speeds, and even Pennington’s arterial SR 31 handles more volume at lower speeds, and without a 3 lane design. Today’s roadway is more like the Main Streets of other Mercer County towns than is the proposed design.

Please see the WWBPA’s recommendations for CR 571, and contact our public officials to express your support for these design changes – this project is the best chance we’ll have in many years to create a Main Street that we can be proud of!

Picture 1 is West Windsor’s Main Street today:
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Take the Mercer County Main Street Quiz

Thursday, July 21 by JerryFoster

Picture 1

The pictures are of various town’s main streets in Mercer County. Just match the town with the picture! Then look at the illustration for West Windsor’s proposed Rt 571 Main Street design, and identify which town West Windsor’s main street will most resemble when it’s implemented. Note that 1 town has 2 pictures, since their main street is parallel to another road that carries more traffic.

The towns are:

  • Hamilton
  • Hopewell
  • Lawrenceville
  • Pennington
  • Princeton
  • Robbinsville
  • West  Windsor

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Picture 6

Picture 7

Picture 8

Last, here’s the illustration from the Rt 571 design – which town will West Windsor’s Main Street most resemble? Sign in to comment, or send us an email at wwbikeped@gmail.com. Answers will be posted in a few days!

Rt 571 Concept Illustration

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Sharrows for Princeton?

Thursday, December 16 by silvia

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee is asking Princeton Borough and Princeton Township to install “sharrows” along four streets:

  • Harrison Street from Faculty Road to Mt. Lucas Road;
  • Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Valley Road;
  • Nassau Street from Harrison to Bayard Lane; and
  • Paul Robeson Place/Wiggins Street/Hamilton Avenue from Bayard Lane to Snowden Lane.

Sharrows are shared lane markings that are being used in New York City, among other places, and were included for the first time this year in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a bible for transportation engineers. The markings depict a bicycle with directional arrows and are highly visible to motorists and help guide bicyclists to an appropriate place in traffic (and far enough from the risk of hitting an opening car door).

The advisory committee says sharrows are needed to fill the gap between sidewalks for novice cyclists and off-road trails for recreational cyclists. Those using their bikes for transportation (to Princeton University, the Dinky, downtown, and shopping centers, for example) and seeking direct routes currently are left out. Sharrows would work on Princeton’s narrow streets, where parking is a priority and there is no room left for bike lanes.

In its report, the committee wrote that “shared lane markings may be the only feasible and affordable intervention to improve the safety and comfort of cyclists on Princeton streets.” It noted that the four roadways it recommended for sharrows are where 60% of the bicycle accidents from 2008 through May 25, 2010 occurred and estimates that adding these markings to the road will cost $13,000 for every two miles of roadway.

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee Sharrows Policy Paper was presented to the Princeton Borough Council last week, and it isn’t clear when the borough and township will decide whether to follow the recommendations. The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance hopes that both will evaluate these recommendations seriously.

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