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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A Safer S-Curve in the Spring

Monday, January 10 by sandy

Alexander Road S-CurveThe West Windsor-Plainsboro News reports that the Alexander Road S-curve reconstruction, with safer pavement and bike lanes, will begin this spring:

According to Brian Aronson, the township?s assistant manager of engineering, utility relocation along the S-curve is currently taking place. ?Construction activities have ceased until the early spring,? he said.

The work was triggered by an accident on the S-curve in September, 2005, that killed Rebecca Annitto, of Princeton Township, just before her 15th birthday.

The Township Council awarded a $769,000 bid for the reconstruction project in September. It also approved a $35,000 contract with Remington & Vernick Engineers for professional engineering services for the project.

West Windsor received three bids for the project, ranging from $769,096.50 to $879,269.17, when it opened the bids in July. Lucas Construction was deemed the lowest responsible bidder and was awarded the contract.

The project includes widening the road to 38 feet, with one lane of travel and a five-foot bike path in each direction. Features of the new road included elevation of the roadway to create a banking effect, use of high friction pavement, and improved striping and signage. The estimated cost of the project is about $500,000, with $190,000 in funding from a Department of Transportation grant.

The project is estimated to take 60 days to complete.

The WWBPA has long been advocating for modifications to the S-curve and held a fact-finding and informational “West Windsor Walk” in September 2006 to draw attention to conditions.

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What Changed at the Top in 2010

Saturday, January 8 by sandy

Proposed Schuykill trail segmentThe U.S. Department of Transportation posted its 2010 Record of Accomplishment, and the WWBPA sees some good things in it. Highlights include anti-distracted driving regulations and encouragement for more transportation opportunities. In particular, it helped level the playing field for bicyclists and pedestrians. This is a big accomplishment, particularly as some think bicyclists and pedestrians could lose out in some of the new Congress’s budget battles (see this analysis from the League of American Bicyclists).

Here’s some of what DOT did, in its own words:

In March 2010, DOT formulated key recommendations for state DOTs and communities to integrate the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians in federally-funded road projects. DOT discouraged transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians and encouraged investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.? Such recommendations include treating walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes, ensuring convenient access for people of all ages and abilities, and protecting sidewalks and shared-use paths the same way roadways are protected.? Through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grants program, DOT funded major projects across the country that allow Americans to safely and conveniently get where they need to go on a bike or on foot.

One of the TIGER grants “will repair, reconstruct and improve 16.3 miles of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that will complete a 128-mile regional network in six counties around Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey,” including the Schuylkill Trail, with artist’s rendering above.

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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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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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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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Thanks, Congressman Oberstar

Monday, November 15 by sandy

The WWBPA trustees sent the following Letter to Congressman Jim Oberstar (MN), the chairman of the House Transportation Committee who lost his bid for re-election earlier this month. He has served in Congress for 36 years and was a champion for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, including the Safe Routes to School program.

November 13, 2010
Congressman Jim Oberstar
2365 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Oberstar,

The trustees of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance (WWBPA) thank you for your steadfast advocacy of Safe Routes to School and of bicycle-friendly programs and policies. We know that support and funding for many of these initiatives would not have happened without your leadership.

As a local, grassroots organization, the WWBPA incorporates the principles of the Safe Routes program in our effort to make West Windsor Township, New Jersey and the surrounding region safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. We also advocate for ?Complete Streets? (our town has signed on; our county is our next goal) and bicycle lanes as well as fund bicycle racks and promote bicycling and walking through a number of events.

We will miss your vision and vocal support for non-motorized transportation in Congress. It is up to us and the many like us across the country to honor your legacy by working for better and safer roadways, complete with bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and clearly marked crosswalks in all communities.

With sincere thanks,
Trustees,
West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance

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Drivers, Cyclists, and Pedestrians

Sunday, November 14 by sandy

A StreetSmart demonstration urges drivers, riders,?and pedestrians to look out for each other.

Street Smart

For more, please go to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s blog, Fast Lane.

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Charity Ride In Honor of Joe McBride

Tuesday, November 9 by JerryFoster

American Diabetes Association LogoOn Saturday, November 13 at 9:00 am, a charity ride will be held in honor of Joe McBride, a member of the Princeton Free Wheelers bicycle club, who was killed in a motor vehicle collision last week while riding his bike near Washington Crossing, PA.

Join the Hill Slugs on Saturday, November 13, as we ride one of Joe McBride’s favorite routes along the Delaware River and the ridge above Frenchtown.? The ride will be C+/B difficulty, 13 – 16mph average speed, for about 50 miles. Joe didn’t like big hills, so we’ll stay away from the nasty ones. ?There will be one rest stop in Upper Black Eddy, PA, and an additional, optional, stop in Sergeantsville.

Meet in the CVS parking lot off of Route 29 in Lambertville, and please arrive about 20 minutes early, to be ready to leave at 9am. ?Wet roads cancel the ride.

Please bring a check made out to the American Diabetes Association or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Leaders: ?Laura Lynch and Joe Miller. ?Contact Laura Lynch (perpetualheadwinds@gmail.com) if you have any questions.

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Be Safe, Be Seen

Monday, November 1 by silvia

reflective vestsIt’s that time of year again: Dark when you leave for work, dark when you get home — or both. And everyone seems to be wearing a dark coat.

Whether walking or bicycling, make sure you catch the attention of motorists well before they’re next to you. Where’s that blinking rear bicycle light? A front light? How about a reflective vest? You can’t overdo it (and lights are the law). The same goes if you’re walking. Wearing light colors (or having a bit of reflective material on your shoes) isn’t enough.

Don’t think you need to go that far? Notice how quickly (or not) you notice a cyclist or pedestrian when you’re in a car.

Not sure where to buy a safety vest? The WWBPA sells them for $10, and also has a great deal on entry-level front and rear lights. Drop us an email.

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Upcoming Events

Monthly meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month via Zoom due to Covid. We will eventually resume meeting in the West Windsor Municipal Building, room D (lower level).

Find us at the West Windsor Farmers Market (Vaughn Drive parking lot) from 9 am to 1 pm every other Saturday from May 21 through Halloween.

June 4 — Learn to Bike class for kids at the WW Farmers Market

June 9 — monthly meeting

July 14 — monthly meeting

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