Bike Commuter Journal – How Things Change, or Not

Friday, April 4 by JerryFoster

Please welcome Steve Kruse as our guest bike commuter this week ? he chairs the Princeton Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and bike commuted from Princeton to Plainsboro through 2005. Steve joins us via an article he wrote almost 17 years ago, Two Wheels To Work, which appeared in the U.S. 1 Newspaper, May 28, 1997, used here with kind permission of author and publisher.

It’s great to get a view from last century, to see what has improved, and what hasn’t. Steve’s article mentions road conditions, policies, motorists both considerate and not, and several planned improvements to the area.

Steve noted that “New Jersey does not spring to mind as an especially bicycle-friendly place.” Is that still true? Maybe, but NJ DOT adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2009, so future improvements should include accommodations for biking and walking, transit users and those covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. As our readers know, the state has jurisdiction over only the federal highways and interstates and a few other major arteries. Fortunately for today’s Princeton to Plainsboro bike commuters, Mercer and Middlesex counties, as well as Princeton and Plainsboro have all adopted Complete Streets policies – click here to see everyone in New Jersey who’ve adopted Complete Streets.

Significant improvements have also been made to onstreet bike lanes in West Windsor, which are beginning to form a network. Steve mentioned staying out of the “door zone” of onstreet parked cars on Harrison – Princeton’s shared lane pavement markings (“sharrows”), including on Harrison, guide cyclists (and notify motorists) to the safe lane position away from cars. Plainsboro continues to extend it’s network of paved multi-use paths. The League of American Bicyclists have designated West Windsor and Princeton Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Communities, and Princeton University earned New Jersey’s first Bicycle Friendly University award.

As you read Steve’s article, what do you notice has changed? What has not?

This post also appeared in On the Move, the blog for Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association.

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Bike the Sharrows

Thursday, September 22 by silvia

Sustainble Princeton invites everyone to experience the new sharrows on its “Be Green, Be Seen” mass bike and skate ride on Sunday, Oct. 2. The group will set off from Hinds Plaza (by the Princeton library) at 3 p.m. for a two-mile ride.?(“Be Green, Be Seen” will run until 5 p.m.)?Sharrows have been installed on a number of local roads, including Nassau, Harrison and Witherspoon streets. The route will cover parts of those streets plus Hamilton Avenue.l

What’s a sharrow? A shared-lane marking when it’s just not feasible to install a full bicycle lane. You can read about their success elsewhere here.

Here’s the full message from Sustainable Princeton:

Unlock those bikes and come ride on the bike sharrows!
Cyclists and skateboarders, all ages, all skill levels are invited to take part in a short ride along the newly marked sharrows along Princeton?s streets.
Bike for the environment, bike to support the BYOBag campaign or just bike for fun? but please join us to show that we love the new Sharrows and look forward to more support for healthy, sustainable, fun-loving bikers and skaters.
Remember your helmets!
The more people who attend the ride, the bigger the statement.
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Sharrows Are Coming to Princeton

Saturday, July 30 by silvia

From Friday’s Princeton Packet:

Sharrows, or shared lane markings, will be installed next month on roadways in the two Princetons.

The thermoplastic markings will allow cyclists and drivers to safely ?share the road? along the area?s streets that are too narrow for separate bike lanes.

Nassau Street will be marked from Route 206 to Snowden Lane. Markings will also be placed on Wiggins Street and Hamilton Avenue in the borough. In the township, the markings will be placed on Harrison Street to Mount Lucas Road.

Harrison and Witherspoon Street will be marked their entire lengths. ???A maximum of 87 symbols will be installed in the borough; and the State Department of Transportation will install additional 60 on Nassau Street. Approximately 72 will be installed on the township roadways.

The borough?s share of the installation costs is $14,800. The township is paying the remainder of the $29,920, or $14,400. Each symbol costs about $170. The actual number of symbols that end up being installed will determine final cost.

Traffic Lines Inc. of Farmingdale will be doing the work for the two municipalities.

Installation will begin mid-August.

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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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