Some Like to Ice Cycle

Sunday, February 6 by JerryFoster

Enjoy this video of hardy Canadian bicyclists enjoying the winter bicycling in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Anyone up for a West Windsor Ice Cycle?

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NJDOT New Bicycling Manual

Sunday, January 16 by sandy

NJ Bicycle Manual CoverThe NJDOT just published (only online) the New Jersey Bicycle Manual. It’s not just for kids, either. Here’s a list of the covered topics, from the table of contents:

  • Selecting, Fitting & Equipping Your Bike
  • Quick Maintenance Checks
  • Off to a Good Start
  • Traffic Basics
  • Sharing the Road
  • Parking Your Bike
  • Difficult Situations
  • Riding at Night & in Rain and Snow
  • Riding with Others
  • Riding on Shared-Use Paths
  • NJ Bicycling Law & Roadway Restrictions
  • Traffic Signals, Signs and Road Markings

The manual includes lots of clear diagrams and photos to help cyclists navigate in a variety of situations (even how to share the road with pedestrians and horseback riders).

This is an excellent resource for both novice and experienced cyclists.

Read the WalkBikeJersey Blog review, but be sure to read the whole manual, too.

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Freehold’s Bike and Pedestrian Plan

Tuesday, December 28 by sandy

Freehold Freehold residents and shop owners this month discussed a plan  to make the borough’s downtown friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians. Issues included adding a traffic signal, where to place bicycle racks, building more sidewalks, and police enforcement.

There’s still some apprehension among some people about some of the ideas put forth by some consultants, and the biking and walking community may be called on again to show their support. The borough will draft its own bicycle and pedestrian plan, due for release early in 2011. Councilman John Newman also noted the need for a Complete Streets policy.

Read more on the WalkBikeJersey blog.

Here’s some of what WalkBikeJersey had to say:

  • The plan presented by the consultants from Michael Baker Jr. was well thought out and clearly showed an understanding of the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians…Similar to the plan they put together for Morristown, the suggestions for Freehold also included a liberal use of bicycle lanes and sharrows on major streets where appropriate, accompanied by a reduction in motor vehicle lane width and limited elimination of on-street parking (the one street that they recommended this last action, they never observed cars parked on the street). They also suggested extending the Henry Hudson Trail further into town using the old railroad right-of-way, which is currently not used.
  • Despite general opposition from many downtown merchants, the proposed plan does call for bicycle parking be placed in select curbside locations on Main Street, which follows the bike parking standards detailed by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. However, if a curbside parking plan cannot be ratified by the Borough Council, the consultants did provide a “Plan B” bike parking proposal that would provide better parking options if bicycle parking is still not allowed along the Main Street storefronts.
  • Probably the most unique part of the plan (and undoubtedly the coolest) was the bicycle map of the Borough that included a Bruce Springsteen bicycle tour. Freehold Borough has many historic sights due to its 300+ years of history and its close proximity to the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth… Still, Freehold is known the world over for being the birthplace of Bruce and there are many sights around town associated with “The Boss.” While there are eight other historic sights and places of interest in the Borough, there are nine sights uniquely associated with Springsteen and the proposed bike map points them all out.

Read our previous post about Freehold.

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How West Windsor Gets to Work

Monday, December 27 by sandy

Morning CommuteJohn Boyle of the WalkBikeJersey Blog analyzed the U.S. Census data from the American Community Survey for 2005-2009 (not data from Census 2010) to see how New Jerseyans get to work. Included on the blog is a spreadsheet listing all 522 New Jersey communities with the numbers and rankings for biking, walking, and taking transit.

The numbers don’t reflect those who use multiple ways to get to work, but only the mode used for the longest part of the trip or most frequently used. So if you ride your bike to the Princeton Junction station, take the train to New York City, then walk to your office, your commute would only be counted as “transit.”

Here’s how West Windsor ranks, out of 12,198 people counted:

  • No. 144 of the 522 state municipalities for the percentage of people who bicycle (0.39%);
  • No. 342 in the state for the percentage of those who walk to work  (1.31%);
  • No. 39 for those who take transit (17.97%).

Not surprisingly, that puts West Windsor commuters way ahead of those in the entire country who take transit (4.95%), but somewhat below those who walk (2.9%) or bike (0.5%).

To see the spreadsheet for all New Jersey municipalities, go to the WalkBikeJersey Blog.

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Safe Routes Intersection Mural

Tuesday, December 21 by sandy

Philadelphia Intersection MuralThe National Center for Safe Routes to School awarded Philadelphia’s South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Universal Institute Charter School (UICS) one of its 2010 mini-grants to encourage safe walking and bicycling to school.

Students and neighbors from SOSNA and UICS painted an intersection mural, “a low-cost way to alert and inform motorists of the school zone,” at 15th and Catharine Streets.

Leading up to the painting project, members of Safe Routes Philly taught bicycle safety to 5th and 6th graders in UICS.

Let us know if you have a creative idea for safe routes in West Windsor.  Guidelines for mini-grants are listed on the Safe Routes website.

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A Friendlier Hamilton?

Saturday, December 18 by silvia

Walking at the Grounds for SculptureHamilton is in the middle of a review of its master plan, a long-term vision for planning and development. One goal is to add more bicycle and pedestrian paths.

The workshops on the master plan are continuing; this is the time for residents to make their views known. You can read more about what’s happened so far here.

It’s encouraging to see more New Jersey communities (Newark, Hoboken, Freehold …) are looking at infrastructure improvements for bicyclists. Here’s the latest on what we’ve read about Hoboken (and Jersey City).

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Sharrows for Princeton?

Thursday, December 16 by silvia

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee is asking Princeton Borough and Princeton Township to install “sharrows” along four streets:

  • Harrison Street from Faculty Road to Mt. Lucas Road;
  • Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Valley Road;
  • Nassau Street from Harrison to Bayard Lane; and
  • Paul Robeson Place/Wiggins Street/Hamilton Avenue from Bayard Lane to Snowden Lane.

Sharrows are shared lane markings that are being used in New York City, among other places, and were included for the first time this year in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a bible for transportation engineers. The markings depict a bicycle with directional arrows and are highly visible to motorists and help guide bicyclists to an appropriate place in traffic (and far enough from the risk of hitting an opening car door).

The advisory committee says sharrows are needed to fill the gap between sidewalks for novice cyclists and off-road trails for recreational cyclists. Those using their bikes for transportation (to Princeton University, the Dinky, downtown, and shopping centers, for example) and seeking direct routes currently are left out. Sharrows would work on Princeton’s narrow streets, where parking is a priority and there is no room left for bike lanes.

In its report, the committee wrote that “shared lane markings may be the only feasible and affordable intervention to improve the safety and comfort of cyclists on Princeton streets.” It noted that the four roadways it recommended for sharrows are where 60% of the bicycle accidents from 2008 through May 25, 2010 occurred and estimates that adding these markings to the road will cost $13,000 for every two miles of roadway.

The Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee Sharrows Policy Paper was presented to the Princeton Borough Council last week, and it isn’t clear when the borough and township will decide whether to follow the recommendations. The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance hopes that both will evaluate these recommendations seriously.

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Shared Space: Safe or Dangerous?

Wednesday, December 15 by JerryFoster

from Shared Space: Safe or Dangerous?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?

Four European experts reported results of their studies of the shared space experience in the Netherlands in 2007 at the Walk21 Conference held in Toronto. Shared space was implemented several locations between 1998 and 2001, with studies published between 2003 and 2007.

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.

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Sustainable Jersey

Thursday, December 9 by sandy

Sustainable Jersey logoWest Windsor Township has been awarded a Silver Certificate by Sustainable Jersey. SUSTAINABLE JERSEY ™ is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money, and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. So far, 67 New Jersey municipalities have been certified.

As part of the Sustainability Actions, West Windsor Township Council passed Resolution 2009-R060 and the Township created a Green Team on which WWBPA President Jerry Foster serves as an advisor. Read the complete Sustainable Jersey West Windsor Profile.

We think it’s also time for West Windsor to apply for Bicycle Friendly Community status from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). Hoboken and Montclair were recently awarded honorable mentions.

And we’d like to see West Windsor work toward becoming a Walk Friendly Community, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Just applying can be helpful in making West Windsor more pedestrian-friendly:

“By applying for a Walk Friendly Community designation, your community will receive specific suggestions and resources on how to make needed changes for pedestrian safety. Through the questions in the assessment tool, your communities will be able to identify the areas of needed improvements that can form the framework for your comprehensive pedestrian improvement plan.” (from Walk-Friendly FAQs)

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Pedestrians and Bicycles in Roundabouts

Sunday, November 28 by sandy

Washington State’s Department of Transportation has created five videos to explain how a roundabout works. The third one shows how pedestrians and bicycles should use them.

1. What they are and what they aren’t

2. How do I drive a roundabout?

3. Pedestrians and cyclists

4. Safety benefits

5. What does this mean for me?

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Newark Gets NJ’s First Protected Bike Lane

Saturday, November 27 by silvia

New Jersey Future, a website that reports on open-space preservation, transit-oriented development and more, writes:

Bicycling has grown steadily in popularity over the past decade across the country, both as a form of recreation and, more often, transportation. One sign of this shift in New Jersey has been the appearance of bicycle advocacy groups including the Brick City Bike Collective in Newark, the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance, and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, to help push for the rights of bicyclists and pedestrians. Infrastructure to accommodate this new interest in bikes, however, has been slower to develop.

That is starting to change, albeit slowly. The state, several towns and at least one county have already adopted “Complete Streets” policies that call for the accommodation of all users, not just motorists, when designing new and retrofitted roads. Now, the City of Newark is working on what will be the state’s first protected bike lane. The lane, which will run on Mt. Prospect Avenue in the city’s Forest Hill District between Branch Brook Park and the Heller Parkway, is part of a larger effort that will include new sidewalks, flower planters, trash receptacles, trees, traffic signals, and benches along the stretch. The project is being done with the help of Sam Schwartz Engineering, and is funded by the city’s Urban Enterprise Zone. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

The bike lane is an innovative and exciting development for Newark, and should inspire more cities to construct their own protected bike lanes. Yet the fact that this project is so noteworthy indicates how far we have to go in making our streets safe and inviting for everyone. Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations should be the norm, not the exception, when designing our roads, and should be as an integral component of every project’s budget, not a special add-on paid for by supplemental funds. The state Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets policy goes a long way toward making this a reality, but it applies only to state roads, which make up a small percentage of the all the roads in the state. It is up to counties and municipalities, like Newark, to adopt Complete Streets policies of their own, and make sure that projects like these are routine, not remarkable.

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West Windsor’s New Woonerf

Wednesday, November 24 by JerryFoster

PJ Promenade as Shared SpaceTownship Council adopted a new concept Monday night for shared streets, also called a woonerf, for the Princeton Junction Transit Village. What’s a woonerf, and how does it work?

Developed by Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman, a woonerf is a street where pedestrians and bicyclists share the roadway with motorists as equals.  This concept goes by a number of other names, such as Living Streets, Home Zones or shared space.

The safety of such spaces depends on extremely slow speeds and one-on-one human eye contact to negotiate movement through the space. Read about one town’s experience with removing traffic lights.

The WWBPA made several recommendations to improve the bikeability of the proposed area, including more bike parking at the Farmers Market and in residential parking structures, as well as requiring back-in diagonal parking for improved safety.

The WWBPA is confident that this plan, if built as shown in the pattern book, will be eminently walkable, and will provide those bicyclists who are comfortable in traffic with a wonderful place to stop and enjoy the amenities, like the Farmers Market. We are hopeful that motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians will embrace the new shared street and quickly learn to navigate without traditional traffic control.

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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 rsvp_njbikemap@rbagroup.com 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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Biking to Quaker Bridge Mall

Friday, November 19 by silvia

Quakerbridge Mall mapCycling shoppers can look forward to Quaker Bridge Mall’s expansion and renovation, which will include improved bicycle and pedestrian access to the mall. The plan is to provide trail links to both the Avalon Run community southeast of the mall and to Yorkshire Village on the other side of Route 1, behind Mercer Mall, as well as a path along the southern portion of the mall’s loop road.

A macadam path is to be added from Grover’s Mill Rd on the southeast side of the property to the Route 1 access bridge on the southwest corner of the parcel. The path will continue over Route 1 via a new bike/pedestrian lane to be added to the bridge that now connects the mall to Route 1 near Patio World Fireplace & Hearth and Toys R Us. Lawrence Township is working with the Yorkshire Village homeowner’s association to extend that path to Canal View Drive. From that point it is relatively easy to access the D&R Canal towpath (and then the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail and the East Coast Greenway) via the existing residential street and path leading to the neighborhood’s community center.

The size and shape of the new path over Route 1 is still to be determined, as is the timeline for the whole project. The mall’s expansion, which was originally expected to be completed by now, has been delayed by the recession. The mall’s legal counsel was recently before the Lawrence Township planning board seeking a 20-year extension in their overall plan. The township granted an eight-year extension and underscored the importance of bike/pedestrian access over Route 1.

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance supports Lawrence’s efforts to improve bicycle and pedestrian access over Route 1, which will improve connections for West Windsor residents as well. The current bridge over Route 1 on Quaker Bridge Road isn’t suitable for bicyclists and pedestrians. The WWBPA also wants to see the off-road path along Clarksville Road that is in West Windsor’s master plan become reality at some point and is pleased to see that a multi-use trail along Clarksville is part of the new apartment complex now under construction near the railroad bridge.

Our thanks to Lawrence Township’s bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, the Sustainable Transportation Committee, for this report.

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A View From the Other Side

Tuesday, November 16 by silvia

Bike, bus and traffic

courtesy of www.pedbikeimages.org / Laura Sandt

Here’s one way to promote better understanding between cyclists and various kinds of motorists: swap roles. A town in New Zealand tried this with cyclists and bus drivers. The bus drivers got on bikes and cyclists rode with bus drivers, where they realized  how difficult it is for bus drivers to see behind and to the side, exactly where cyclists tend to be. As for the bus drivers, one cyclist and transportation planner noted: “My bus driver buddy said it was a relief to get out from the main traffic and into a bike lane where he felt a bit safer.”

“It was amazing to see how quickly people’s viewpoints change once they can see the road through other eyes,” he added.

While an experiment like this won’t eliminate all the tensions between motorists and cyclists, it — and some common courtesy — could help reduce the tensions on the road.

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Upcoming Events

May 09   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

May 11  WW Community Day – Duck Pond Park

May 15  Ride of Silence (rain cancels – check WWBPA facebook page)

May 18  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

May 18  WWBPA bike clinic Hightstown – 1st Presbyterian Church 10am-12pm

May 25  WWBPA volunteering at BikeFest – WW Community Park

June 01  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Learn to bike

June 13  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

June 15  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Bike tune up clinic – Bring your bike

June 29  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

July 11   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

July 13  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

July 27  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug 8    Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Aug 10  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug 24  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 07 WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 12 Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Sept 21  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Bike Drive – Collecting bikes to support Trenton Boys & Girls Club

Oct 10   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Oct 12   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Oct 26  WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market; Halloween parade

Nov 14  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Dec 12  Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

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