Trick-or-treating is fun, but it’s not just spooky out there — it’s dark! We challenge you to incorporate some reflective material in your kids’ costumes or even goody bag, so you don’t have to worry that they won’t be seen by motorists as they dart across the street for more treats.
Plus, the WWBPA has a treat for those who do and take part in the farmers’ market Halloween parade (10 a.m. this Saturday): a glow-in-the-dark bracelet. Treats also for those who decorate their bikes! Just stop by our booth to show off your trick.
Three more safety reason to come to the farmers’ market: the Princeton Junction Fire Department will be there with a truck, the Twin W squad will bring an ambulance and rescue squad rig, and the West Windsor Police Department will be there too.
Two dens of 8 and 9-year-old scouts from Pack 66 got a 90-minute lesson in bike safety led by Les Leatham, a West Windsor resident who is a bicycling instructor certified by the League of American Bicyclists, and some volunteers from the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance.
The group went through helmet fitting, the ABC Quick Check (Air, Brakes, Cranks, Chain and Cassette, Quick Release and a final check) that should be performed before heading out on a ride, talked about what they already knew about bike riding and some things they didn’t, including that bikes on the road must follow the same rules of the road as cars.
Then the group took a ride through Mercer County Park, and finished with a different sort of race: how slow can you go, without stopping, turning around or putting your feet on the ground. This tests their balance skills and ability to handle their bike in a fun way. The last one to reach the finish line was the winner.
Would your group, no matter the age, like a short lesson on bike safety and bike skills? Contact the WWBPA at email@example.com
The Penn-Lyle Road improvement project near High School South is complete, and its neighbors love it. No longer do school buses block one lane of traffic every afternoon as they line up waiting for students to transport home. At every other time of day, clearly marked bicycle lanes are a pleasure for bicyclists. After the improvements made last year to another stretch of this heavily traveled road, we now have bike lanes down the entire length, improving the bikeability of our community.
In addition, the reconfigured right turn lane, suggested by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (which also has suggested dedicated left-turn lanes in all directions at Clarksville and North Post Roads) improves visibility of approaching traffic from Clarksville Road for cars wanting to turn onto Clarksville Road from Penn Lyle Road, which traffic engineers are sure will cut down on accidents there.
This project, supported by the WWBPA, is another example of Complete Streets that take all users into account, and the traffic improvements have really made a difference. Thanks, West Windsor Township.
More than 2 1/2 years ago, Edward Boye was killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle on Dutch Neck Road in East Windsor, not far from the border with West Windsor. This month, the driver, Margaret Corrigan, was sentenced to three years in jail (and more here). Mr. Boye was disabled and used a special tricycle to get around. Ms. Corrigan was under the influence of medication when she struck Mr. Boye. She pleaded guilty to third-degree assault with an automobile and driving under the influence of narcotics in May after initially being charged with vehicular homicide.
Motorists, please share the road with cyclists, give them plenty of room while overtaking and refrain from passing on a curve when you can’t see oncoming traffic. Cyclists, follow the rules of the road, including riding the same direction as traffic, and be predictable and visible. With daylight hours shrinking, make sure your lights work, and consider adding a reflective vest to your safety gear. We sell them for just $10 at the farmers’ market.
Comments Off on Three-Year Jail Term in Cyclist’s Death
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.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) chose New Jersey as one of 13 states which “experienced pedestrian fatalities above 150 per year and above the national rate of 2.5 per 100,000 population.” These states receive extra attention in the effort to reduce pedestrian fatalities on our roadways. According to the article “Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety” in the current issue of Public Roads, “FHWA’s aggressive approach to reducing the fatality rate in 13 States and 5 municipalities is showing promising results.“
How can these proven safety features help West Windsor? The WWBPA recommends medians and/or pedestrian crossing islands for the new CR 571 design, along with a lower design speed and other measures, like a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK signal) at Sherbrooke Drive and 571.
A Rapid Flash Beacon, another type of pedestrian-activated signal, is planned for Sherbrooke and 571 – we hope it will greatly improve the safety of that crossing. Examples are at the trail crossing on South Mill and near the train station at Scott and Wallace. Studies of the Rapid Flash Beacon are promising, but of the 22 roadways in one study, only 1 had a posted speed limit as high as CR571’s 40mph, and only 2 had about the same volume (17K-18K average daily traffic), and only 1 had more volume. So we’ll hope for the best.
A Road Diet is when the road is reconfigured from 4 lanes down to 3, one travel lane in each direction and a center turn lane, plus bike lanes on each side. The WWBPA has long recommended road diets for Canal Pointe Boulevard and Alexander Road between Rt 1 and Vaughn Drive, and believes the treatment would be appropriate for Roszel Road and Carnegie Center Drive as well.
Why is the WWBPA for road diets in these areas but recommends medians and/or pedestrian crossing refuges for CR 571? The difference is in the number and density of driveways – our Rt 571 downtown area has too many compared to office park settings like Canal Pointe and Carnegie Center.
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.
Comments Off on St Paul’s Nighttime Visibility Event
The WWBPA responded to the county’s proposed CR 571 Main Street design recently, maintaining that it is unsafe for everyone: motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike. In the past 10 years, two pedestrians were killed on this stretch of roadway (2004 and 2005), while no motorists were killed. A 17-year-old motorist was killed in 2006, however, just west of downtown Princeton Junction, when she lost control of her car on the curve coming off the bridge over the train tracks.
The proposed wider-straighter-faster design does nothing to address these safety issues. Instead, it preserves the current 45mph design speed and 40mph posted speed limit. Drivers don’t respect crosswalks when they have to slow from high speed, and the proposed design does nothing to provide pedestrian refuges in the center of the roadway to promote safe crossing.
Rt 571 Concept Illustration
The design also features a new two-way center left turn lane (TWLTL) that studies have shown to be unsafe; AARP calls them “suicide lanes.” One study even showed that artificially lowering the posted speed limit, but not the design speed, caused an increase in crashes.
Here’s a picture of Hamilton’s SR 33 that most resembles what is planned. The 45mph design speed is simply not appropriate for the pedestrian friendly Main Street that our Redevelopment Plan envisions. A survey of other Mercer County towns shows that Princeton, Lawrenceville, Hightstown, Hopewell and Pennington all have 25 – 30mph speed limits on their Main Streets. Why not in West Windsor?
The current design shows why Mercer County should adopt a Complete Streets policy to complement the state and West Windsor township policies – our transportation network needs jurisdictions with consistent policies to benefit our taxpayers.
Thanks to everyone who has gotten involved to support our position! We appreciate all of you who have signed our petition at the Farmers’ Market, or who have contacted the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which recently conducted public outreach on this and other federally-funded projects.
More help is needed. Please contact our public officials to support our position. With a lower design speed and pedestrian refuges, our senior residents can cross Route 571 safely to the new Rite Aid, and our children can cross Route 571 safely to the new ex-Acme shopping center, as well as to the high school. And our teenage drivers should be able to keep control of their vehicles when going more slowly. Everyone benefits.
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.
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.
The WWBPA believes that building a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community benefits everyone, not just bicyclists and pedestrians. Now there’s even more proof, coming from Portland, OR.
In a recent email, Greg Raisman of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, notes:
“Portland has had 6 of the past 12 years with zero bicycle fatalities. 2010 and 2008 were two of those years with zero bicycle fatalities. However, that’s only one part of a more important story.
Our experience has been similar to other multi-modal cities. As cities work to make walking and bicycle riding more safe, it remains true that bicycle and pedestrian safety significantly improves. However, the greatest safety benefits are realized by people driving cars and trucks.
In Portland, the numbers speak loudly. Over the past 25 years, the City has seen a long-term, downward trend in total traffic fatalities that is being reduced approximately 6 times faster than the rate for the US. In 1986, there were 79 traffic fatalities, with 61 motor vehicle deaths. In 1996, there were 59 total traffic fatalities with 41 motor vehicle fatalities. In 2010, we had 26 total traffic fatalities with 11 motor vehicle fatalities.”
So there you have it – building a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community not only raises property values, it creates safer streets for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Everyone wins, not just bicyclists and pedestrians.
Comments Off on Bike and Pedestrian Safety Benefits Motorists More
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.
How many crashes have you had where your helmet prevented a more serious injury?
1 crash – 31%
2 crashes – 27%
3 or more crashes – 20%
I’ve crashed, but my helmet never touched anything – 16%
I’ve crashed, my helmet hit but did not help prevent a more serious injury – 1%
I’ve never crashed – 4%
The results are from about 2,200 responses to the January 13, 2011 question:
The West Windsor-Plainsboro Newsreports that the Alexander Road S-curve reconstruction, with safer pavement and bike lanes, will begin this spring:
According to Brian Aronson, the township’s assistant manager of engineering, utility relocation along the S-curve is currently taking place. “Construction activities have ceased until the early spring,” he said.
The work was triggered by an accident on the S-curve in September, 2005, that killed Rebecca Annitto, of Princeton Township, just before her 15th birthday.
The Township Council awarded a $769,000 bid for the reconstruction project in September. It also approved a $35,000 contract with Remington & Vernick Engineers for professional engineering services for the project.
West Windsor received three bids for the project, ranging from $769,096.50 to $879,269.17, when it opened the bids in July. Lucas Construction was deemed the lowest responsible bidder and was awarded the contract.
The project includes widening the road to 38 feet, with one lane of travel and a five-foot bike path in each direction. Features of the new road included elevation of the roadway to create a banking effect, use of high friction pavement, and improved striping and signage. The estimated cost of the project is about $500,000, with $190,000 in funding from a Department of Transportation grant.
The project is estimated to take 60 days to complete.
The WWBPA has long been advocating for modifications to the S-curve and held a fact-finding and informational “West Windsor Walk” in September 2006 to draw attention to conditions.
Because blind pedestrians cannot locate and evaluate traffic using their vision, they must listen to traffic to discern its speed, direction, and other attributes in order to travel safely and independently. Other people, including pedestrians who are not blind, bicyclists, runners, and small children, also benefit from hearing the sound of vehicle engines. New vehicles that employ hybrid or electric engine technology can be silent, rendering them extremely dangerous in situations where vehicles and pedestrians come into proximity with each other.
“The National Federation of the Blind commends the United States Senate for the wise and decisive action taken today to preserve the right to safe and independent travel for the blind,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities, and we must be able to hear vehicles in order to do so. This bill, which is the result of collaboration among blind Americans, automobile manufacturers, and legislators, will benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle technologies become more prevalent. We now call upon the House of Representatives to pass this legislation as quickly as possible so that it can be sent to the President’s desk for his signature before the close of the year.”
“I’m a major advocate of hybrids—I own one, I drive one, and I’ve seen firsthand their environmental and economic benefits,” said Senator John Kerry, the sponsor of the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act. “This legislation will allow us to continue to promote our energy independence and technological innovation while safeguarding those who use senses other than sight to navigate the roads.”
“The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is proud of this legislation, which is the result of our cooperative relationship with advocates for blind pedestrians,” said Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “We believe that this legislation represents a common-sense approach to ensure that the blind and other pedestrians remain safe as new vehicle technologies emerge.”
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.