Community Bike Ride a Sunny Success

Monday, October 17 by JerryFoster

43 people enjoyed a? nice ride on a beautiful fall day, a little over 5 miles round trip from Community Park to McCaffrey’s and back. Thanks to everyone who participated, including our WWBPA trustees, student advisers and volunteers who planned, led and directed the bicyclists, and even handed out a few bandaids, and special thanks to McCaffrey’s for donating the refreshments!

The fall colors were out in full force (see our facebook page for more pictures) and we enjoyed the Trolley Line Trail as well as the bike lanes on Rabbit Hill Road and Bennington Street.? Also appreciated were new high visibility crosswalks at Davenport and Southfield Road by the shopping center. We also saw a policeman patrolling the Trolley Line Trail on motorcycle.

The group included all? ages, from those enjoying a ride in a trailer to us older kids (at heart), and split into 3 smaller groups pretty quickly – the fast group led by the speedy student advisers, a middle pack of family members, while the last group comprised those with the smallest bicyclists.

We got a number of positive comments, including a request to do this more often. With the new bike lanes on Village and Penn Lyle, we have more routes to choose from, thanks to the township and county.

Click for slide show by Mark Shallcross

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West Windsor Wins Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community Award

Wednesday, September 14 by JerryFoster

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is very pleased to announce that the League of American Bicyclists proclaimed West Windsor Township a Bicycle Friendly Community, at the Bronze level.

This is the first time a New Jersey municipality received such an honor, the result of more than 10 years of effort on the part of many residents and with the support of the mayor, township council and county and state officials.

It could not have happened without the support of our members, who have demonstrated that they value a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community, both with their membership contributions and their time spent helping others to ride. As an all-volunteer organization, we appreciate our members’ willingness to help, whether it’s to write letters of support or to teach children to ride a bike for the first time.

This honor isn’t only for our officials and the WWBPA, but for all our community partners who help make bicycling happen. We especially thank BikeFest and our area bike clubs, who organize so many successful biking events, the SMART/JORBA volunteers, who maintain the off-road trails in Mercer County Park, and all the many individuals, organizations and businesses who have helped make West Windsor a better place for daily cycling, whether to work, school or the Farmers’ Market.

Finally, a special thanks to our intern, Kim Meersma, who worked with many people to gather the information necessary to put together a very detailed application.

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Tour East Aurora’s Main Street

Saturday, August 20 by JerryFoster

East Aurora, NY is a pleasant town outside Buffalo with a Main Street that might offer West Windsor a few pointers. See the photos and color commentary, and let us know if you think these design elements might work for our Route 571 Main Street!

Main Street, also US 20A, is a busy road on a Friday just past 5pm, but the roundabout seems to keep the cars moving. From this western end, Main Street extends east a little over a mile, similar to West Windsor’s Rt 571 from the tracks to about South Mill Rd. The roundabout has stores and driveways, including fast food outlets.

Looking east from the roundabout, notice the center two-way left turn lane, a key feature of the Route 571 design. Also notice that the bike lanes are maroon-colored pavement, to make them stand out, and that there is on-street parking on both sides. A new Rite Aid is on the left (familiar?) and just off camera on the right is the Sunoco station (might feel like home already!), below.

Note the nice street sign for the Sunoco station. East Aurora is known for a number of things, including being the home town of Millard Fillmore (he was a U.S. President, if you were wondering), the birthplace of Fisher-Price toys and a center of the 19th-century Arts and Crafts design movement. They take their signage pretty seriously as a result, though they apparently couldn’t get Sunoco to redesign their sign to fit the Arts and Crafts style font that graces many other signs around town, as well as their town’s web site.

Moving east, notice this building, currently a bistro (it’s been a number of other things in the 7 years we’ve been visiting regularly – our daughter’s camp is nearby). They have taken away parking spaces in front of their building to put in an outside dining area. Nice! There are also a number of bikes parked in front of the dining? area. I noticed a lot of bicyclists around town, including a spandex-clad road warrior in the bike lane and more casual bicyclists riding on the sidewalks.

Moving east, the road narrows to 2 lanes, but still includes colorized bike lanes and on-street parking. This shot is in front of the post office, so you’ll notice the drive-up mailbox, but also the attractive sidewalk and lamppost planters. Hidden behind the sidewalk planter is an artsy bike rack and a bench is just visible behind. Perhaps the road sign gives us an indication of what it takes to get a main street like this?

Still moving east, this picture shows the? railroad underpass. Notice the bicyclist on the sidewalk, and the people in the car waving to him; people are very friendly in East Aurora. The bicyclist and I had a nice chat, since he was very interested in why I was taking so many pictures. He alluded to some of the controversies that the town went through to get their main street, including a big debate about the number of on-street parking spaces (the snide comment about the street signs wasn’t just my editorializing). He couldn’t entirely grasp why I liked it so much. Please leave a comment below with your opinion!

Just under the railroad tracks and past an intersection, a two-block traditional downtown area has stamped pavement colored to look like bricks. This space includes the center left-turn lane even though there are no driveways to turn into, and maintains the bike lane (nary a bike symbol, sigh). But what is really interesting is the ADA compliant on-street parking on the right and across the street, where the sidewalk is ramped up at the two ends to meet the curbed sidewalk area.? There were several of these facilities along the roadway. Of course West Windsor’s main street is not planned to have on-street parking, so this type of ADA parking would not be applicable. What is significant is how they solved the issue of making an extremely wide roadway pedestrian-friendly by using the stamped pavement.? It’s not exactly the same, but a little similar to using these sorts of treatments in the shared spaces of West Windsor’s transit village: The message of pedestrian-priority space is conveyed.

Just past the bricked area, the roadway changes back to two lanes plus on-street parking again, and the CVS pharmacy anchors the eastern end of Main Street. Note the speed limit sign: 30mph, much more pedestrian-friendly than the proposed 40mph in West Windsor’s design.

What might be improved in this design? There is a lack of tree canopy, but that’s likely because the trees are all newly planted. It would be interesting to know the history of why the two-block bricked section is so wide. Google Street View shows it with asphalt still during construction, but perhaps there used to be angle parking, or way back perhaps even a trolley line from Buffalo.

Another issue is the bike lanes. No casual bicyclists seemed to be using them: The group of teenagers, the dad pulling a kid-trailer, the various others were all bicycling on the sidewalk.? This is likely because the bike lanes aren’t very wide, and place bicyclists between the heavy traffic and the parked cars, right in the way of opening doors (the “door zone”), which is dangerous.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Let us know what you think!

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Are We a Bicycle-Friendly Community?

Saturday, July 23 by silvia

Bicycle Friendly Community logoWest Windsor’s government, with the help of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance, has submitted its application to become a bicycle-friendly community. The WWBPA is delighted and is excited to find out how we rate. We’re expecting to hear this fall.

What is a bicycle-friendly community? This is a program from the League of American Bicyclists that judges how a community fares across what it calls the Five Es: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. We believe West Windsor has made great strides in recent years by adding miles of bike lanes and creating the Trolley Line Trail. BikeFest is another important contributor to our bicycle-friendliness. The West Windsor Police, among other things, was a visible supporter of the Ride of Silence held in May. And of course, the WWBPA not only consistently advocates for bicycle-friendly roads but has installed bike racks and lockers and is constantly encouraging and educating cyclists (and motorists). The latest example of our education efforts, of course, was our wildly successful “learn to bike” class in May that got about 50 kids off training wheels and enjoying the freedom of two wheels.

The League notes: “Bicyclists are an indicator of a healthy, vibrant community. Bicycle-friendly towns, like those with good schools and enjoyable downtowns, are communities that offer improved quality of life for families, which can lead to higher property values, business growth and increased tourism. Many communities today struggle with traffic congestion, environmental degradation, declining public health and skyrocketing transportation costs. Bicycling is part of the solution to these problems.”

The highest award is platinum, followed by gold, silver and bronze. There also is an “honorable mention” category, which isn’t quite bicycle-friendly. So far, no New Jersey community has done better than an honorable mention. We hope West Windsor will.

Even getting this far would not be possible without the support of all our members. We thank you.

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Upcoming Events

Monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month, either at 6:45 pm at the WW library or at 7 pm via Zoom. Email us at [email protected] for details, including the Zoom code.

Find us at the West Windsor Farmers Market (Vaughn Drive parking lot) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday from May through Halloween.

May 21 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

May 22 — Ride of Silence (postponed from May 15)

May 28 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 1 — Learn to bike class at WW farmers market

June 4 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 11 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 13 — monthly meeting

June 15 — find us at the farmers market

June 18 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 25 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

June 29 — find us at the farmers market

July 11 — monthly meeting

Aug. 8 — monthly meeting

Sept. 12 — monthly meeting

Oct. 10 — monthly meeting

Nov. 14 — monthly meeting

Dec. 12 — monthly meeting

Become a Member/Donate

Pace Car Program

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Department for free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

March 14 — annual meeting; guest speaker is Charles Tennyson, head of transporation for Princeton University

April 11 — monthly meeting

May 9 — monthly meeting

June 13 — monthly meeting

July 11 — monthly meeting

Aug. 8 — monthly meeting

Sept. 12 — monthly meeting

Oct. 10 — monthly meeting

Nov. 14 — monthly meeting

Dec. 12 — monthly meeting

Become a Member/Donate

Pace Car Program

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Department for free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

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