Is Roszel Rd a Complete Street?

Thursday, June 20 by JerryFoster

Roszel Repaved 3Roszel Road has recently been repaved, with new curb cuts on the sidewalk (one side only) to bring them into ADA compliance. Does that make it a Complete Street? Let’s look at the road in the context of it’s use to find out – we’ll use NJDOT’s Smart Transportation Guidebook (STG) as an objective source of a Complete Streets definition in the context of the road’s use.

Roszel connects Alexander Road (between Rt 1 and the train station) to the Carnegie Center office park, and is home to Tyco’s corporate headquarters among other office buildings. STG calls this context a Suburban Corridor, while West Windsor’s master plan classifies the road as a Principle Collector – STG calls this combination a Community Collector, and provides guidelines we’ll use to compare with the current design.

The NJDOT guidelines recommend paved shoulders and medians or a two-way left turn lane, since Roszel is a multi-lane road – neither of which were implemented.

Sidewalks are recommended “as appropriate”, with a footnote detailing specifics for state and federally funded projects, so sidewalks on one side might be appropriate in a charitable interpretation, but we believe sidewalks on both sides are appropriate in this case.

Bike lanes are listed “Evaluate for suburban and urban contexts” so their absence in the current road is mainly problematic because there are no paved shoulders or sidewalks on both sides to accomodate those cyclists who are not comfortable biking in the road. There’s still time to paint sharrows in the right lane, to encourage bicyclists to use the shared roadway.

Overall, a significant opportunity was missed – Roszel provides a connection to one of our town’s major employment centers, and paved shoulders, sidewalks on both sides and bike lanes/shoulders would have been much more bike and walk friendly. Given the low volumes, a 4-to-3 lane road diet would have been ideal and inexpensive, with no loss of roadway capacity.

What do you think?

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A Sidewalk to Connect Two Shopping Centers

Wednesday, May 30 by silvia

Sidewalks are being installed along Route 1 between Nassau Park (home to Target, Wegman’s and other stores) and Windsor Green (Whole Foods and others), connecting Nassau Park to Canal Pointe and the rest of West Windsor for pedestrians (and bicyclists, we’d wager). The WWBPA wasn’t involved with this project, but the worn path through the grass is evidence that plenty of people were walking this route even without a sidewalk. We also heard several compliments about it, from both sides of Route 1. Here’s one; thank you, Beth Zeitler!

One of the great things about living in Princeton is that I can get around on my bike or by walking in addition to using my car.  It’s easy to get around the Boro on a bike or on foot, and even to get across Route 1 to Plainsboro to run errands, but often I’d like to head south along Route 1, including to the shopping centers off Meadow Road and Nassau Park Boulevard. I know a lot of other folks do the same, for shopping, dining and entertainment as well as for work. The D&R Canal trail can be used to get to the shopping centers, however because it is removed from the street, it is difficult to visit multiple locations, and hard to use at night or in poor weather conditions.

I’m glad they are putting a sidewalk between the shopping centers along Route 1 to make the trip easier and more convenient for folks like me who’d rather get out of the car and use a bike or my feet to run my errands. I’m even happier for the people who will now have a safer commute to work, especially folks who are traveling on bikes out of necessity rather than choice. Infrastructure improvements like this help keep our community moving forward.

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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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Walking, Biking ‘Not in the Federal Interest’?

Friday, July 8 by silvia

community walk 2011From the League of American Bicyclists:

Key Congressional leaders are attacking Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational trails and are taking steps to cut off dedicated federal funding for bicycling and walking.

House Transportation Chairman John Mica (R-FL) announced today that his transportation bill will eliminate dedicated funding for bicycling and walking, including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and the Recreational Trails Program, and discourages states from choosing to spend their dollars on these activities that are “not in the federal interest.”  Chairman Mica’s statement that these programs remain “eligible” for funding is worthless; without dedicated funding for these three programs, they are effectively eliminated.

Things on the Senate side are not much better. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), the lead Republican negotiator on the transportation bill, declared that one of his TOP THREE priorities for the transportation bill is to eliminate ‘frivolous spending for bike trails.’ This is in direct conflict with Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) commitment to maintain dedicated funding for biking and walking.  However, the Senate is working towards a bi-partisan solution, and Senator Inhofe’s comments mean funding for bicycle and pedestrian programs is at risk of total elimination.

Help protect Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School and Recreational Trails. Contact your Members of Congress and tell them to reach out to Senators Inhofe, Boxer, and Congressman Mica to urge them to continue funding for these important bicycling and walking programs.

Need some good facts to bolster your argument?  Read on:

Not in the federal interest?  Biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips in the US – even as funding for biking and walking projects only accounts for 1.5% of the federal transportation budget. That is more than 4 billion bicycle trips and 40 billion walking trips a year, including trips to work, school, shopping and for recreation and tourism.

Frivolous?  Two-thirds of all pedestrian deaths are on federally funded highways.  One-third of children’s traffic deaths happen when children are walking or bicycling and are struck by cars.  Bicycling and walking programs build sidewalks, crosswalks and bikeways—improving accessibility and saving lives.

The Facts

  • Biking and walking are important forms of transportation, and funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements is a very efficient use of federal transportation dollars.  Portland, OR built 300 miles of bike lanes and trails for the cost of one mile of highway.
  • These projects create jobs and build local economies.  Building bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure creates 46% more jobs than building road-only projects per million dollars spent.  Cities that invest in bicycle and pedestrian projects turn downtowns into destinations, and capitalize on increased business activity.
  • Eliminating the 1.5% of transportation funding spent on bike/ped would have no meaningful impact on the federal budget, but instead, decreases transportation options for American families in a time of rising gas prices and an uncertain economy.

Why Act Now?  Both the House and Senate long-term transportation bills are being written as we speak.  We still have a chance of influencing the outcomes.  Let’s make sure that funding for biking and walking programs don’t disappear for many years.

We need every Senator to tell Senators Boxer and Inhofe that bicycling and walking are vital parts of our transportation system, and that there must be dedicated funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and trails to ensure that bicyclists and pedestrians are safe.  And we need every Representative in the House to tell Chairman Mica the same.

Please contact your Senators and Representatives TODAY to tell them that bicycling and walking are a critical part of a safe and equitable transportation system.  Ask them to tell Representative Mica and Senators Boxer and Inhofe that a federal transportation bill must continue dedicated funding for bicycling and walking.
You can find more ideas on what to say here.

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More Sidewalks and Bike Lanes!

Thursday, June 16 by silvia

What an incredible year for new sidewalks and bike lanes in West Windsor!

Schlumberger sidewalkYou’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.

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More Sidewalks

Wednesday, May 18 by silvia

The WWBPA is delighted to see that key links in the sidewalk network have been filled in over the past week.

A sidewalk has been added on Alexander Road from Wallace Road on the opposite side of the street from the Arts Center, making it possible to walk from the Wallace Road lot to the Arts Center (and beyond).

Another sidewalk fills in the gap between the roundabout at Alexander Road and Vaughn Drive, creating a key pedestrian connection over the railroad bridge.

Finally, a sidewalk has been added on the curve of North Post Road, creating a pedestrian connection from the roundabout to the library and municipal center.

The sidewalks were added just after the WWBPA’s annual walk to the farmers’ market; next year’s route will include them.

The projects were funded with a Safe Routes to Transit grant and were encouraged by the WWBPA.

Largely because of the WWBPA, the township has a regular sidewalk extension program. Let our elected officials know that you consider this program to be important!

According to the township’s capital improvement budget, plans through 2016 calls for sidewalks to be added on Cranbury Road between Sunnydale Way and Route 571; South Mill Road between Village Road East and Edinburg Road; Millstone Road between Cranbury Road and Plainsboro Township border; Cranbury Road between Clarksville Road and Van Nest Park; Clarksville Road between Cranbury Road and Princeton Hightstown Road; Rabbit Hill Road between Route 571 and Bennington Drive; North Post Road between Clarksville Road and Village Road West; Conover Road between Ginnie Lane and Aldrich Way; North Mill Road between Clarksville Road and Route 571.

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Filling in Sidewalk Gaps

Thursday, November 25 by silvia

RR sidewalk: one of West Windsor's newest sidewalk connections

one of West Windsor's newest sidewalk connections

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.

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