Give Pedestrians a Head Start

Sunday, December 5 by sandy

New York City and Washington, D.C. have begun changing the timing of traffic lights to increase pedestrian safety. The Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), or Pedestrian Head Start, gives pedestrians a few?seconds to begin crossing the street before drivers have the green light.

This has been demonstrated to work well in large cities, but we believe it could also be useful in West Windsor, particularly at the Route 571/Wallace Road/Cranbury Road intersection (this intersection is currently under construction) and possibly at the Alexander Road/Vaughn Drive intersection (see our previous recommendations for this intersection after a 2008 West Windsor Walk).

See how they work.

LPI ? Leading Pedestrian Interval from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

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More Room for Trails

Saturday, December 4 by silvia

Birch FungusWest Windsor’s latest acquisition of open space fits in with a strategy of developing a network of trails linking natural areas.? The latest purchase is 27.59 acres along Clarksville Road next to a nesting area for? blue herons.? The trail will run from Clarksville Road to parking lot (or nearest walking path) at the rear of Duck Pond Park, which fronts on Meadow Road, and will be developed in partnership with Friends of West Windsor Open Space (FOWWOS).

Because the path would cross Duck Pond Run and go through rather thick woods protected by wetlands restrictions, permits from the State Department of Environmental Protection will be needed.

FOWWOS was instrumental in developing the trails in the Millstone and Zaitz Preserves with help from the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance.

This latest acquisition will be paid for by funds from the township’s dedicated open space fund, Mercer County’s open space fund, and FOWWOS.

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Progress on Path Along South Post Road

Friday, December 3 by silvia

South Post RoadThe township continues to work toward a multi-use trail along South Post Road from Village Road to Mercer Lake alongside the Mercer Oaks golf course. Permits and contracts are expected to be awarded in time for work to begin in the spring of 2011.

This trail, which was suggested by the WWBPA, will provide a safe route to the Conover Road ballfields and to the Rowing Center, which received six bike racks this year from the WWBPA. It is being funded by a $120,000 NJDOT grant awarded in 2009.

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Tale of Two Engineers ? One Visionary, One Recovering

Thursday, December 2 by JerryFoster

A revolution is underway in how towns are being redesigned for livability, and it’s playing out right here in West Windsor. The late Hans Monderman launched a movement for better safety without signs and signals, while in the Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, another engineer realizes that “Wider, faster, treeless roads not only ruin our public places, they kill people.”

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), recounts the work of the late Hans Monderman, a Dutch traffic engineer who held to a maxim: ?When you treat people like idiots, they?ll behave like idiots.? In appropriate settings, he removed the signs and signals that tell drivers what to do. His goal? ?I don?t want traffic behavior, I want social behavior.? His work underlies the design for the promenade in the new transit village west of the train tracks.

In Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, Charles Marohn relates his professional experience “convincing people that, when it came to their road, I knew more than they did.” Why? “I had books and books of standards to follow.” Finally, “In retrospect I understand that this was utter insanity. Wider, faster, treeless roads not only ruin our public places, they kill people.”

This realization is slow in coming to our Rt 571 Main Street design, where the state guidelines are in place but the design hasn’t taken them into consideration.

Please help the county engineers learn from the transit village engineers by supporting the WWBPA’s recommendations for Rt 571 Main Street – slower speed, medians with pedestrian refuges and a pedestrian-activated signal that stops traffic at the crossing at Sherbrooke Drive.

This redesign is our chance to make drivers comfortable with the slower speed – just posting a lower speed limit will not effectively slow traffic. Our tale of two West Windsors might have the happy ending of a pedestrian-friendly Main Street and transit village promenade, leading to higher property values for us all.

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New Path on Clarksville Road

Wednesday, December 1 by silvia

Princeton Terrace PathA multi-use trail has been built along the new apartment complex under construction just south of the railroad bridge. This is another step in making Clarksville Road friendlier for both cyclists and pedestrians, on top of the wider shoulders created along parts of Clarksville north of the Municipal Center this summer. This trail should expand as land parcels are developed. West Windsor’s master plan calls for an off-road path along Clarksville (and turning the road into four lanes) all the way to Quaker Bridge Mall, about a mile away. This is something many WWBPA members and friends have asked about and a safe route to the? mall for cyclists, walkers and joggers is something the WWBPA supports.

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