Wanted: A Trail Through the Acme Woods

Tuesday, December 14 by silvia

wooded pathThe revitalization of the Acme shopping center (really called Windsor Plaza) is crucial to the health of Downtown Princeton Junction. And all plans that call for a town center or village center there and have been endorsed by over the past couple of decades have included a path through the woods to serve as a safe, off-road route to the train station for pedestrians and bicyclists. The current plan for the path, contained in the Redevelopment Plan, is from the back of the shopping center to Borosko Place.

The new owner of site, Irv Cyzner, and the current Planning Board, don’t seem to want that path (read the Princeton Packet article, “Planners stay ruling on Czyner). But many residents support a trail.

Mr. Cyzner’s plans remain before the planning board, and a fourth public hearing on his proposals, this time to discuss a variance on the size of the shopping-center sign, is scheduled for 7 p.m.? Wednesday, January 12 at the Municipal Center.

This is our last chance before the planning board vote to voice our support for this vital bicycle and pedestrian link. Please come show your support.

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Freehold, Springsteen and Bikes

Sunday, December 12 by silvia

Metz Bicycle MuseumFreehold is about to release a study by the New Jersey Department of Transportation about how to make the borough friendlier for bicyclists. But turning the study into reality is hardly a slam-dunk. Its supporters need our vocal support to help businesses overcome fears about cyclists on the sidewalk and bikes that aren’t locked to bike racks, among other things. (We say cyclists can bring in extra business, particularly if downtown is on a safe route to the Shore.) The key meeting is Monday, Dec. 20.

Read this email that the WWBPA received from John F. Newman, a Freehold councilman for the Springsteen connection and more:

About one year ago,?I was elected as a councilman in Freehold Borough.? One issue that immediately reared its head was an ordinance that was passed (before I was sworn in) which required bikes to be parked at bike racks in town, despite a dearth of bike racks.

I railed against this issue, and soon thereafter secured a NJ DOT grant to have a bike-ped study of the town.? That study is about to be unveiled to the public for their review and comment, but I am learning of some opposition to the study, namely how it could affect the downtown.

I am reaching out to bicycle advocates so that they can assist me in garnering support to ATTEND the meeting and bring their views of the benefits of a bike-friendly community. Being in Freehold Borough, some items in the DOT study were to link the Henry Hudson Trail to the downtown, link the rest of the 1.9 square mile borough to the downtown, and linking the borough to points outside its boundaries, such as the Monmouth Battlefield and other nearby parks. Also, within town is proposed a bike path/trail. This will?map out places of historic interest and a tour of Springsteen’s Freehold. Of course, the study also takes into account safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

As noted, there is some resistance. I would appreciate it if you and your friends could help me by attending the December 20, 2010 meeting. The public portion starts at Freehold Borough Hall at 4:00 until 6:30; then the council meeting starts at 7:00 where a presentation will be made directly to the mayor and council.

Your support and input will be greatly appreciated as well as your comments on the beneficial aspects bike-friendly communities – the concept still has to be sold.

You can read more about what Freehold has been doing on WalkBikeJersey. The state also has mapped a route that goes through Monmouth Battlefield.

And did you know this about Freehold’s role in bicycling history?? Cycling champion Arthur Augustus Zimmerman resided in the town during his racing career in the 1880s and 1890s, and from 1896-1899 operated the Zimmerman Bicycle Co.; the company’s bicycles were known as the “Zimmy.” Today, Freehold Borough is home to the Metz Bicycle Museum, where the only extant “Zimmy” can be seen.

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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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Bike Lanes, Paths or Highways?

Friday, November 26 by sandy

Separate bike lanes and paths, or share the road? This is a lively debate in the bicycle advocacy community,? almost as controversial as whether bike helmets are good for cycling because they save lives or bad because they discourage too many potential cyclists (also known as the “dork factor”).

Some say paths separated from the roadway are safer and encourage more cyclists. But such paths are costly, have their own conflicts (different speeds among cyclists and between cyclists and pedestrians). Plus, the law says bicyclists have a right to the road (and must follow all the rules of the road). By taking their place in the road, share-the-road proponents say, drivers must acknowledge the presence of cyclists and either pass them safely or go at a slower speed. Poorly designed bike lanes, such as those too close to parked cars and/or traffic, might mean less safety, as one study found. The WWBPA has recommended a two-foot buffer between a lane of parked cars and a bike lane to prevent cyclists riding into a door that is being opened (“dooring”).

One idea in between is “bicycle boulevards,” which optimize low-volume and low-speed streets for bicycle travel and discourage cut-through vehicle traffic (a plus for residents!). In Denmark, Copenhagen is extending its bicycling network outward into the suburbs, creating what the blog Copenhagenize calls “bicycle superhighways,” for commutes of six miles or more. Other interesting ideas are “green wave” traffic lights, which coordinate the signal timing to hit green lights along your route, “branded” signage for specific routes, even bicycle service stations along the way.

What’s your take?

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New Jersey?s First Statewide Bike Map

Tuesday, November 23 by silvia

We have a state highway map; now we’re going to get a state bike map!
The New Jersey Bicycle Map, funded through the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and managed by The RBA Group, is in the works. This will provide a map of the preferred bicycling routes for the entire state.?Their target is to have the map ready for the public in the summer of 2011.

Share your routes!? To make sure they hear the needs of cyclists from around the state, NJDOT is hosting three meetings (all during regular working hours, unfortunately for most of us).

North Jersey
Wednesday, December 1
10 a.m. to noon
Frelinghuysen Arboretum
55 East Hanover Ave
Morristown

Central Jersey
Tuesday, December 7
9:30am to 11:30am
NJDOT Headquarters
1035 Parkway Ave
Trenton

South Jersey
Wednesday, December 8
10 a.m. to noon
The George Luciano Family Center
Cumberland County College
Vineland

Prior to the meeting, all are encouraged to review the draft map on the interactive website, (http://bikemap.com/njbike/). You must register first and answer a few questions but then you can download PDFs of the latest drafts. If your town, county or other organization has data that might help in the correct or complete the map, you are also encouraged to upload it to that sight. Once you register on the site, you will receive e-mail notices each time a new map is posted.

Please RSVP to Elizabeth Cox, The RBA Group at 973-946-5736 or [email protected] a week before the meeting. Attendees will be sent an agenda and directions. If you are unable to attend, participation is encouraged through the website.

Once all the work is done, a PDF of the final map will be posted on a website. Printing of the maps will be sponsored by organizations interested in supporting cyclists. If your organization would like to help sponsor printing, please contact the NJDOT project manager.

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Teen Reports on New York City Biking

Tuesday, October 12 by JerryFoster

A West Windsor teen offered this report after her first bike trip on New York City streets on a warm and sunny October afternoon:

“Biking in New York City is a unique experience. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just interesting. There are many bike lanes all over the city, and they are extremely nice–that is, except when people park their cars in them!

“The main downside to New York City bike lanes is that they’re erratically placed. Bike lanes will stretch on for blocks and be extremely easy to see and follow, and then they’re gone without warning, and bicyclists are forced to either bike in the left lane and oftentimes ignore ‘Left Turn Only’ lanes or bike on the sidewalks, neither of which is especially fantastic. However, more often than not, there are bike lanes. And on many smaller streets, if there is no bike lane, there are ‘Share the Road’ little painting things on the street itself (a bicyclist with two chevrons over top). My dad tells me they’re called ‘sharrows.’

“Anyway, biking through New York is extremely nice, especially on the waterfront. There are waterfront paths on the Hudson and on the East River that are both bicycle and pedestrian friendly.”

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New Bike Routes in New Jersey

Monday, October 11 by silvia

Family CyclistsNew Jersey’s Department of Transportation has added three new bike routes, in Ocean, Bergen, and Essex counties. Existing route maps that can be downloaded from NJDOT’s website, including one for a ride along the D&R Canal, the Last Covered Bridge Ride that touches Princeton, and the Battle of Monmouth ride.

Among the new ones, the Double Trouble bike tour goes past Wells Mills Park, Albert Music Hall and Waretown Pier. The 54-mile tour begins and ends at Double Trouble State Park, off of Exit 77 of the Garden State Parkway. Read about it and the other routes here.

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Quaker Road Path

Sunday, October 10 by sandy

Princeton is extending the reach of its trail network along Quaker Road, which will get bicyclists, joggers and walkers closer to the D&R Canal towpath on a multi-use trail.

Now under construction in Princeton Township is a?6-foot-wide stone path that will “link?[the Updike Farm property of] the?Historical Society with the Princeton Battlefield parking, and from that parking lot area one can then continue along the existing path to Mercer Road and continue either to the borough or further out to the township. It?s part of an overall system that will link that area of the township to the rest of the township,? said Robert Kiser, Princeton Township engineer, quoted in the Princeton Packet on September 28, 2010.

It also will connect to the Stony Brook path that was dedicated on October 3.

Horses, Institute for Advanced Study Woods

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East Coast Greenway Bike Tour

Saturday, October 9 by sandy

Join the Pennsylvania branch of the East Coast Greenway Alliance for a fundraising bike tour from Trenton to Philadelphia.

Saturday, October 16
8:15 AM – 5:00 PM

Tickets are $50 and there is a registration limit of 40 riders. All proceeds go to the East Coast Greenway Alliance to help construct more of the trail from Maine to Florida. Pre-registered riders from central Jersey can join the group in Trenton (the train from Philly will arrive at 9:38 a.m.; find them in the lobby of the main entrance) and will need to make their own way home. Septa and the RiverLine in Camden are both options.

For more information, go to Trenton to Philly ECG Ride.

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New Trail Link in Princeton

Wednesday, September 29 by silvia

First Pedestrians on Stony Brook BridgeAfter 15 years of work, the Stony Brook Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathway and Bridge Project in Princeton is completed! Critical links were added this year, and bicycle/pedestrian bridges and pathways now connect the Princeton Battlefield and Institute Woods area to Mountain Lakes Preserve and Woodfield Reservation in Princeton.

The new pathways and bridges can be accessed from Rosedale Road at Greenway Meadows Park or from Route 206 at Hutchinson Drive, north of the service entrance to TPC Jasna Polana.

A dedication ceremony is planned for Sunday, October 3. The celebration will take place at 4 p.m. at the 125-foot bridge across the Stony Brook. Parking for the celebration is also available at the Hun School Athletic Complex parking lot off Winant Road.

Those wishing to walk the new trail or ride the bike route to the celebration should meet in the Greenway Meadows Park parking lot across from Johnson Park School at 3 p.m. Steve Hiltner, naturalist for Friends of Princeton Open Space, will lead a 30-minute walk. Members of the Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee will lead the ride along the bike route, also at 3 p.m.

More information is available from the Friends of Princeton Open Space.

See our previous post about the Stony Brook Recreational Trail.

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Walkway Over the Hudson

Wednesday, August 25 by sandy

view down hudsonOn a clear summer day, driving back to West Windsor from a bicycling weekend in New York State and Vermont, we took a break to stretch our legs along the Walkway Over the Hudson. What a treat! The walkway offers excellent views north and south along the Hudson, across to Poughkeepsie, down to the trains traveling along the riverbanks and to boats along the river. Lots of people use the walkway for exercise and sun, though there aren’t yet any benches along the span.

Walkway Over the HudsonTwenty years after a 1974 fire ruined the tracks of the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, built in 1888, Poughkeepsie’s Bill Sepe began advocating to convert the rail bridge to a pedestrian and bicycle trail. The dream became a reality when the walkway opened in October 2009, celebrating the ?400th anniversary of the voyage of Henry Hudson in his ship, the Half Moon, from New York harbor to the site of Albany, NY.

Walkway Over the HudsonPeople of all ages and abilities use the walkway, and it’s is a terrific asset for area?residents or workers, who can stroll/jog/bike across and back before or after work or at lunch. Developers might not have thought there would be many people coming from the Highland side, since there were only about a dozen metered (2-hour limit) parking spaces, though we and others parked on the road without fees. As we approached Highland from the Thruway, there were a few signs for the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, which will eventually connect the Walkway Over the Hudson to the trail systems in the Shawangunks and the Catskills.

Walkway Over the HudsonWarnings on the walkway Web site note that the temperature of the concrete can be up to 20 degrees hotter than the air, so people are advised to carry water, especially for pets, and to be careful of the dogs’ paws on the hot surface.

To learn more, go to
Walkway Over the Hudson Park Web site and?Rails-toTrails Conservancy article.

Walkway over the Hudson

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Johnson Trolley Line Trail Work

Wednesday, August 18 by silvia

Johnson Trolley Bridge

Johnson Trolley Line Bridge on the Ewing-Lawrenceville Boundary looking south into Ewing. Jim Castelize working to clear brush, June 2010.

Another trail to discover in Mercer County: the just-renovated section of the Johnson Trolley Line connecting Whitehead Road Extension in Ewing with the portion of the Johnson Trolley Line in Lawrenceville. WWBPA member Van Cotter, a member of the Ewing Environmental Commission, reports that it is now walkable and bikeable with mountain and touring bicycles.

The trail surface is hard-packed dirt/cinders with some rocks and a few old rail ties.? In wet weather, there are some puddles.? The trail passes through pleasant mixed deciduous forest including many native tree species: ash, oak, maple, sassafras, etc.

Biking/walking north, the trail crosses a bridge into Lawrenceville and picks up the Johnson Trolley Line in Lawrenceville. The trail there is broken by I-95, and there is talk of creating an overpass over the interstate to reconnect the Johnson Trolley Line, similar to what was done for the D&R Canal over Route 1.

The trolley line that ran along this route once connected Princeton and Trenton. The trail renovation was a joint effort of the Ewing Environmental Commission, Ewing Township Department of Public Works, and local Boy Scout Troop 15. Future work could include extending the renovation south to Spruce Street in Ewing.? This section is privately owned and thus will require securing permission from the owner(s). Other work could include painting the bridge at the Ewing Township-Lawrenceville line and adding signs identifying the trail.

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Celebrating the D&R

Tuesday, August 17 by silvia

Battle Monument, Trenton

On a perfect day for a bike ride, 75 people came out on Saturday, August 14 to celebrate the completion of the missing segment of the D&R Canal towpath between Trenton and New Brunswick ? representing New Jersey?s longest segment of the East Coast Greenway. ??Many members of the WWBPA rode, as did West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh and Council President Diane Ciccione as well as New Jersey Assemblywoman Grace Spencer. Lawrence Mayor Pam Mount was there for the start, and Congressman Rush Holt spoke (but didn?t ride), noting that he began championing this project when he first went to Washington 12 years ago. The 1.5 mile stretch of macadam belies the obstacles. Not only were there negotiations with Conrail but a number of other surprising obstacles came into play ? such as issues with billboards. But all of that is now dust under the wheels.

Riders took it slow, taking nearly an hour to ride the seven miles ?to reach the Battle Monument in Trenton. After a ?40-minute rest break hosted by the Trenton Cycling Revolution, the group returned along the same seven-mile route. The ride was capped off with sandwiches, salads and sodas at the Brearley House in Lawrence Township, provided by the East Coast Greenway and New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition.

The WWBPA thanks Don Pillsbury from the Lawrence Sustainable Transportation Committee for this report.

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Bike Ride History Tour

Sunday, August 15 by sandy

Griggstown Bridgetender's HouseD&R CANAL WATCH BIKE RIDE HISTORY TOUR
Saturday, September 4 ? 10:00 a.m. ? Griggstown
History bike rides on the D&R

Join canal enthusiast Bob Barth for a leisurely bike ride on the historic Delaware &?Raritan Canal towpath. We will stop at historic villages and canal structures, such as locks and swing?bridges, and talk about why the D&R was one of the most successful canals in the United States.

Helmets required. Bring water and snack. The ride will last approximately three hours.
Meet at the Griggstown Causeway parking lot.
Questions? Call Bob at 201-401-3121.

For independent rides along the towpath in the Millstone Valley,
see the National Scenic Byways suggested route:
Bicycle Ramble along the D&R Canal Towpath.

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World’s Top 10 Cycle Routes

Thursday, August 12 by sandy

Cycling Group in Quebec

Cycling Group in Quebec

Traveling the world? National Geographic lists its Top Ten Cycle Routes:

Interested in more routes in the U.S.? Click for the Top 10 American Bicycle Routes.
Want rides closer to home? Click for Regional Biking and Walking Routes.

What would make your list?

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Top 10 American Bicycle Destinations

Wednesday, August 11 by sandy

Acadia 2009

Cycling along the carriage roads in Acadia National Park

Traveling to a different part of the country? Want to bicycle when you’re there? HotelsCombined.com has released its Top Ten American Bicycle Destinations, with trails for various ability levels, throughout the country.

Or go to Trails.com and search for a trail (hiking, biking, or backpacking) where you’re heading.
Want rides closer to home? Click for?Regional Biking and Walking Routes.
Interested in cycling the world? Check out National Geographic’s Top 10 Cycle Routes.

What trail would you recommend?

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Perils for Pedestrians (and Bicyclists, too)

Tuesday, July 27 by sandy

Perils for PedestriansPerils for Pedestrians is a monthly television series promoting awareness of?issues affecting the safety of people who walk and bicycle. Producer John Z. Wetmore interviews advocates and government planners from around the country (and sometimes the world) about problems such as missing sidewalks and crosswalks, dangerous intersections, speeding traffic, and obstacles to wheelchair users and people with disabilities; solutions to such problems are offered.

The most recent episodes are available at on YouTube and older episodes (the series began in 1996) are linked from the index on pedestrians.org.

The shows are broadcast on the Princeton Public Access TV Channel (available in West Windsor on Verizon FiOS Channel 45). This summer they are shown on Tuesdays at 7 PM, Fridays at 1:30 PM, and Sundays at 11:30 AM.

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Council Adopts Washington Road Resolution

Tuesday, July 20 by sandy

Washington RoadOn July 19, 2010, West Windsor Township Council adopted a resolution,?requesting “that Mercer County establish a bicycle route from the Delaware and Raritan Canal to the Princeton Junction Train Station at West Windsor along Washington Road.”

Route 1 Circle

This is just a first step. The Departments of Transportation for both Mercer County and the State of New Jersey will have to come on board, since this is a county ?route and it crosses U.S. Route 1, for which the State of New Jersey is responsible. It’s not clear how quickly they will act.? Join the WWBPA in reminding officials that this is the best way for cyclists to go between West Windsor and Princeton and that bike lanes will make the route safer for all. Come to our next meeting (Aug. 12) to learn more about how you can help.

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Bicycle Highways

Friday, July 9 by sandy

Did you know that the U.S. Bicycle Route 1, between Virginia and North Carolina, and Route 76, through Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois, opened in 1982?

The U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) is a proposed national network of bicycle routes, spearheaded in part by Adventure Cycling, a nonprofit group that began with the idea of a cross-country ride to mark America’s Bicentennial in 1976. It’s also gotten the attention of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Work has picked up recently, and Michigan is leading the way. Route 20 is under way and Route 35 should follow. As the network develops, look for it to connect many existing trails. Still to be decided is where it will go in New Jersey. (Adventure Cycling’s Atlantic Coast route skips the state,? but the East Coast Greenway goes right past West Windsor.)

Links:
Adventure Cycling: U.S. Bicycle Route System News and Updates

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Big Step Forward in Towpath “Link”

Monday, July 5 by silvia

The asphalt has been poured for the 1.5-mile stretch of the D&R Canal Towpath/East Coast Greenway in Trenton that will fill the gap in the route that runs past West Windsor to create a 70-mile path from New Brunswick to Frenchtown for bicyclists, joggers and walkers. Signs, fences and gates still need to be installed, but the lion’s share of this $400,000 project is done.

The section connects with a path near Old Rose Street and uses an old railroad bridge to cross over Route 1 before continuing north to Mulberry Street. Read more in the Trenton Times.

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Upcoming Events

Monthly meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month via Zoom. We hope to eventually resume meeting in the West Windsor Municipal Building. Email us at [email protected] if you would like 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.

Feb. 27 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

March 5 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

March 12 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

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

March 19 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

March 26 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

April 2 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

April 9 — Weekly walking group at Community Park

April 11 — monthly meeting

April 15 — deadline for scholarship applications

April 27 — Learn to fix a flat bike tire; WW library

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

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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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