Fourth of July Holiday Travel Options and AAA Travel Report

2 Jul

The 2015 AAA report estimates that 41.9 million people will be traveling during the July 4th weekend, a slight increase from last year.  Gas prices are still lower than in previous years and many of these people, over 80%, will be travelling by car. AAA also estimates a large number of people will be opting for air travel and public transit.  During this 4th of July holiday public transit comes with many choices and special deals for those planning a getaway or just seeing the fireworks.

AAA Infographic

Infographic credit: AAA

Check out some of these options for your holiday travel:

  • NJ Transit offers bus and train passes to the Jersey Shore, schedules and details available here
  • NJ Transit early Getaway schedule available here
  • NJ Transit service to Macy’s Fireworks on the Hudson River is available here
  • Amtrak Getaway offers available here
  • Amtrak also offers a number of special scheduled trains for those who want to see the July 4th Fireworks in NYC and Philadelphia available here
  • Septa’s late night schedule is available here
  • Path will be operating on a Saturday schedule, details available here

Bike shares are another way to get around in places like NYC, Princeton, and Philadelphia, and available in the following places:

Car-share options:

A great tool for anyone traveling, our traffic alerts for Mercer County and Ocean County  are always available at www.gmtma.org  and can be accessed on your mobile device (just not while you are driving).

If you didn’t make any plans yet, here is what’s happening in Mercer County  and in Ocean County.

Stay safe and enjoy your Holiday Weekend!

Bike to Work Week 2015 Findings, Concerns, and Suggestions for Improvement

26 Jun

As we promised last week, here are some of the findings from this year’s Bike to Work Week event.

We asked our riders where do they usually ride and interesting to find out that while fitness and recreation seems to be the most popular reason for biking, commuting to work was the second most popular reason. Here is the breakdown:

58.71% of the total participants listed Commuting to Work, 72% percent of the total participants also listed Fitness and Recreation, 48% percent of the participants also listed Social Activities among other rides, and 43% also listed Errands and Shopping.

We asked our Bike to Work  registrants about their concerns and suggestions for what type of improvements are needed:

What most influences your decision to ride your bicycle for any given trip?

Most influence

What is your primary concern when deciding to ride your bike?

Primary concern

 

We also asked our Bike to Work registrants if there was a specific improvement they would like to see. Some of the specific concerns are listed below:

Alexander Road could be made safer for bicyclists.
Alexander Road is terrifying! Even this morning a vehicle tried to run me off the road!  Not to mention the dangerous pot holes.  Also the light at Alexander/Bear Brooke/Vaughn remains dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians as motorists continue to turn right on red and make left turns into folks in the crosswalk! 
More bike lanes/sharrows or signage to make drivers pay attention to cyclists.
Pass a 3-foot law for cars passing bikes that doesn’t penalize drivers for crossing the center line.
Make Rt. 206 bike friendly between Trenton and Princeton.
Improved sight-lines on Scudders Mill – Rt 1 overpass from the multi-use path especially the N bound U-turn lane.
Upgrade towpath or bike lane connections through Ewing and Trenton.
Widen Lower Harrison St Princeton between Lake Carnegie and Rt 1.
Some kind of bicycle accommodation along Route 27Employer entrance gates should be made bike friendly.
Safer intersection at Ingleside and Washington-Crossing Pennington Road (traffic light).
Improved road conditions!  Even where there are specific bike lanes the road conditions are poor due to potholes debris in bike lane etc.
In Plainsboro addition of a bike/ped path on the Schalks Crossing bridge over the railroad tracks separated from traffic by a concrete barrier. The bridge would need to be widened.  A nearby example in Plainsboro of a “good” bridge is the Scudders Mill bridge over the railroad tracks.
Improvement of CR518 between Hopewell Borough and Montgomery Township.
Finish the paths to nowhere.
Bike lanes on Alexander Road.
Safe way to cross Route 1.
Showers at work!!!
Just one?! Shower at work.  Bike lanes on urban arterials. 

As we can see there is more work to do to make our communities more bike-friendly and for bike commuters to feel safe.  Clearly marked bike lanes, signage and feeling safe are the biggest concerns cited by our riders.

Even so, people enjoy riding their bikes and find a way to get on their bike. These are just a few of the comments that riders have shared after completing their Bike to Work Week rides:

Great challenge.  I need to do it more often!

Great to be able to bike to the train station. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

It was great to see so many people biking.

My family bikes everywhere work school grocery shopping for fun… Thanks for organizing this program to raise awareness for bicycling!

I ride to work each day of the year even in snow.  If too icy I walk the bike.  It is the only way to go! 

I saw a number of new commuters out this week hope to see them after this week as well.

I usually live in Sweden and always bike to work every part of the year. So I do the same here. I wouldn’t feel good otherwise.

And finally an exciting encounter with nature, but that didn’t stop this rider from enjoying the ride and the great weather

I got goosed by a goose! A momma goose hissed and honked at me when I rode a bunch of big and little geese. Then she flapped her wings and flew right into my bike helmet. After that a tree was blocking the path. But the weather was perfect all week and the flowers were beginning to bloom and the air smelled like new flowers.

As always, let us know what you think, contact us  if you have a story you would like to share, or if you have anything to add to these findings.

 

GMTMA’s Bike to Work Week and Photo Contest Winners

19 Jun

A big thank you to everyone who rode their bike to work during GMTMA’s Bike to Work Week challenge this year! In just one week you eliminated 300 car trips and rode over 1800 miles!

While many people that registered for bike to work week do regularly or occasionally ride their bike to work, 15% of our bike to work registrants were first-time bike to work riders. Sixty percent of these new riders were women.  Some could not bike to work but chose to swap an errand typically done by car with a bike ride. Cargo bikes proved to be great for running errands and grocery shopping.

33% of the participants that reported their rides for the week, rode to work five times, 23% rode three times, and 8% ride their bike seven days.

The longest commute by bike was 32 miles/day which adds up to 160 miles per week and five people reported more than 100 miles rode in a week.

This year’s participation by gender:

gender

The incentive to ride was great this year, besides the great weather, we had 25 prizes to give out thanks to our generous sponsors:

Hart’s CycleryMcCaffrey’s SupermarketWhole Earth CenterKopp’s CycleSt. Lawrence RehabREISourland CyclesHalter’s Cyclery,Knapps CycleryWhole Foods Market (Princeton) and NJ Bike Tours.

The prizes ranged from Trenton Thunder tickets, $25, $50 and $100 dollars gift cards to helmets and bike tune-ups.

The winners are: Jenny M., Deniz D., Robert W., Sharon H., Sena V., Jim S., Christian J., Marc B., Sam B., David B., Vanshaj B., Daniel W., Chris S., Elizabeth M., Joseph K., Charles K., Michael L., Philip C., Ellen F., Ken M., Jenny G., Ted B., and Edwin S.

The Bike to Work Week Team Challenge prize goes to a group of four riders from Maser Consulting.

Maser Consulting Team

Maser Consulting Team

The Visions of Bicycling photo contest winner is Deniz D.

Who needs a car on a beautiful spring day? We are a car-free family. You ask if that is even possible in New Jersey? It sure is and we love it! Here’s a classic example of a resourceful bicycle moment: my wife managed to get an entire piece of plywood home (cut to fit in our daughter’s chariot, yet just the right length for our project). But if that wasn’t enough, she stopped to pick up a watermelon along the way. The best part was the proud smile on her face when she got back home!

-Deniz D.

Kudos to Deniz and his family and thank you for the great picture!

GMTMA Visions of Bicycling photo contest winner

GMTMA Visions of Bicycling photo contest winner

And as one of the riders said: “It’s not over yet!!   The more I ride the more I enjoy my bike! Thanks for the extra push on my spring and summer riding. “

We hope this was an incentive to get you started and you will keep biking every chance you get.

Don’t forget to join us for the next Bike to Work Week Challenge!

Until then send us your stories or join us as a guest blogger.

We will follow up with a post about all the suggestions we received to make our communities more bike friendly.

National Safety Month Tips

12 Jun

June is National Safety Month and the focus this year, among other things, is on learning more about transportation safety.

Car crashes are still the leading cause of unintentional death in US but we can change that if we take steps to ensure safety.

To begin, don’t be an aggressive driver! More than half of all traffic fatalities are the result of aggressive driving.  Bring your patience along on every trip!  For signs of aggressive driving go here .

Don’t use your cell phone while you’re driving.  Doing other activities while driving – like texting or eating – distracts you and increases your chance of crashing. Almost 1 in 5 crashes (17%) that injured someone involved distracted driving.

Get enough rest and do not drive until you know how certain medications might affect you. Drowsy driving leads to more than 1500 people being killed each year.

nhtsa.gov

nhtsa.gov

If your teen just started driving take them to practice driving once a week, limit night time driving, and limit the number of passengers in their car. A great resource for parents of teen drivers  can be found here.

Other transportation safety tips to consider:

Car Seat Safety – Here is a checklist of things to consider when installing a car seat.

Never leave your children or your pets in a hot car – The temperature inside a car can get close to the temperature of a hot oven. Even if you are just running into a store for a few minutes, take your child or pet with you! A list of tips on how to avoid that can be found here.

Brakes Safety Carcare.org is advising us to look for the following signs that might indicate something is wrong with the brakes:

Noise: screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.

Pulling: vehicle pulls to one side while braking.

Low Pedal: brake pedal nearly touches the floor before engaging.

Hard Pedal: must apply extreme pressure to the pedal before brakes engage.

Grabbing: brakes grab at the slightest touch to the pedal.

Vibration: brake pedal vibrates or pulses, even under normal braking conditions.

Light: brake light is illuminated on your vehicle’s dashboard.

With more and more people switching to bikes for their transportation needs, it is important to keep in mind the following bike safety tips:

  1. Be predictable and signal your intentions to others:
  • When you turn left, extend your left arm to your side
  • When you turn right, hold your arm up an “L” shape or extend your right arm
  • If you want to stop or slow down, hold your arm down in a “L” shape
  1. Go with the flow of traffic not against it
  2. Be ready to stop at driveways
  3. Make yourself visible, wear something reflective, have a white light in the front of you bike and a red light on the back, mirrors, and bell
  4. Wear a helmet

Enjoy your summer and be safe!

Other sources: healthfinder.gov, http://www.nhtsa.gov/Bicycles

GMTMA Launches New Program

5 Jun

Good moves slide

GMTMA is excited to announce the launch of the brand new “Good Moves” program. Good Moves is a personalized transportation planning service for Mercer and Ocean counties residents. It is a free resource that provides personalized transit schedules, bike maps, carpool matching, and more! No more wondering about how to get from Point A to Point B without driving alone in your car!

We want residents to know that driving alone in a car isn’t the only option for getting around. There are other transportation options including transit, biking, and walking that are easily accessible. Good Moves is a valuable resource to residents that are new to the area and are unfamiliar with the plethora of transportation options. However, Good Moves is available to anyone!

To kick-off the program we sent direct mailings about our service to new residents in the area.  We quickly began to receive requests for information from people who are ready to make a good move.

A Lawrenceville resident requested a personalized public transportation plan and a biking map to ride to get to transit.  

Another resident wanted a personalized plan including public transportation options to Manhattan.

Good Moves is happy to connect all of these people to sustainable transportation options in their community! Not only does taking other transportation options besides a car connect you to your community, but it provides numerous other benefits! You will save on the cost of gas and the upkeep of a vehicle and reduce carbon emissions and road congestion. Additionally, walking and biking around town offers exercise and health benefits.

If you are interested in receiving your free personalized transportation guides, visit http://www.gmtma.org.

Bicycles, Women, and Advertising in the 19th Century

29 May

To celebrate the end of Bike to Work Month let’s take a look back at the history of the bicycle and see how far we have come.

Photo credit: pixgood.com

Photo credit: pixgood.com

Whether it is bicycling to work, to the park, or around the neighborhood both men and women can enjoy taking their two wheels out for a spin. However, the advent of the bicycle did not begin with a smooth ride. Bicycling became a popular mode of transportation in the late 19th century. During this time, there was much controversy over women riding bicycles. Something that is such a non-issue today, turned into a big issue in the 1890s!

Advertisements for the bicycle that were targeted to women began to appear in newspapers. Women typically tended to the home and raised their children. This was considered the “woman’s sphere”– the pre-determined roles of a woman in society. Bicycles were viewed by members of society as masculine. They thought bicycling did not “fit” into their world. Therefore advertisers, who wanted to make money selling to women, had to be creative when marketing bicycles to women. They had to make their ads work within the rules of society to make bicycling acceptable for women.

Advertisers were attempting to tell women through advertisements that it is okay to live outside the women’s sphere by buying and riding a bicycle. However, their advertisements reinforced the traditionally accepted values of the woman’s sphere. Instead of promoting adventure or athleticism, they connected the bicycle to romance and marriage. The bicycle was so much more than that—it allowed women to be mobile and travel outside of the home. Women could move outside of the sphere and into larger parts of the world.

Women took advantage of the benefits the bicycle provided them. Bicycling gave women freedom. It allowed them to get out of the house and move about freely. Women were changing the social rules of their own lives. The bicycle gave women the opportunity to both figuratively, and literally, ride out of the woman’s sphere.

One-third of our bike to work registrants this year were women!

 

Summer Safety Travel Tips

22 May
Photo credit: pixshark.com

Photo credit: pixshark.com

 

Memorial Day weekend is here, which means it is the unofficial kickoff to summer! People start to head out on road trips and vacations, meaning that there are more drivers on the road during the summer months. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that there are higher fatalities during the summertime.

Before you get behind the wheel, read these safety tips to ensure a safe summer:

  1. Check the air pressure in your tires. Prevent flat tires or a blowout by checking the pressure in your tires at least once a month.
  1. Never leave children or pets unattended in a car. In only 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees. Even if you are just running into a store for a few minutes, the car can heat up to dangerous and fatal temperatures. Always take your child or pet with you!
  1. Watch out for bicyclists! Warm weather can bring out many bike riders, both experienced and novice. When you are driving, be cautious of bicyclists by slowing down and moving into the next lane when it is safe to do so. Always be scanning the road for bicyclists and other pedestrians.
  1. Keep an eye out for children. During the summer, kids are out of school and are spending more time outside. Watch for children playing, walking, and riding bikes. Go slow through neighborhoods.
  1. Don’t drive distracted. Never talk or text on the phone while driving. If you are on a road trip, have someone else in the car use the phone to get directions. If need be pull over to the side of the road or find a rest stop to use your phone. Taking a life isn’t worth a text message! Keep your eyes on the road at all times.

These tips can help keep you and other drivers and pedestrians safe all summer long!

 

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