Archive | February, 2011

Learn to Fix Your Bike

23 Feb

Want to learn to fix your bike? The West Windsor-Plainsboro Community Education presents a Roadside Bicycle Maintenance  class this spring. This 90-minute class will give you the confidence to take that longer bicycle ride. You will be introduced to basic tools and equipment and how to use them: how to repair a flat tire, how to re-install a chain, how to overcome a bent wheel on a ride (to get you home), plus have your questions answered. The class is on Monday,  April 4th 7-8:30 pm, and costs $20. For more information, visit WW-P Community EducationClick here to register online.

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Don’t Miss the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance Annual Meeting

23 Feb

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance (WWBPA) is one of our region’s bike-ped advocacy gems, working tirelessly to provide useful bike and ped information and activities to residents in their region, and advocate for smarter bicycle and pedestrian planning and policies. Their annual meeting, coming up on March 17, will feature Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, (www.bikeleague.org), the oldest national bicycling organization, will speak at the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance’s annual meeting — open to the public — on Thursday March 17. LAB recognizes bicycle-friendly communities, businesses – even universities. Andy will talk about what we can all do to make our communities friendlier for bicyclists and pedestrians and why it matters. In addition, WWBPA trustees will talk about plans for 2011, including their second annual Community Walk, their West Windsor Bikes: lose the training wheels event at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market on May 21 and their efforts to expand West Windsor-Plainsboro’s participation in International Walk to School Day. They’ll also be taking suggestions from members about projects and activities that they’d like to see. In addition, they will be honoring three people for their service to the community and introducing our next group of student advisors. It all takes place at 7 p.m. March 17 at the West Windsor Senior Center, off Clarksville Road at North Post Road, next to the post office. Light refreshments will be provided.

 

Make a Bike Movie!

23 Feb

In 2000, Brendt Barbur was hit by a New York City bus while riding his bicycle. Inspired to take action, he combined his passion for bikes and film and created the Bicycle Film Festival in 2001. The festival, which celebrates the bicycle through music, art, and film, has grown from its small beginnings to a worldwide event. In 2010, the festival’s ninth year, the festival was held in 39 cities around the globe and 250,000 attendees. Now in its tenth year, this international traveling celebration of bikes and the people who love them will be in New York City from June 22-26.

If you have a great story to tell about a bike, you should submit a short film to the 2011 festival; the deadline for submissions is April 1.

For a little inspiration, watch BFF’s compilation video of films from the past 10 years of the festival:

 

Pedestrians Still Getting Hit in Mercer County

16 Feb

As we mentioned last week, a new report by the transportation policy watchdog group the Tri-State Transportation Campaign identifies New Jersey’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians. While Mercer County fared better than many counties, and no Mercer County roads made the Top 10 list of most dangerous roadways for walking, the fact remains that 15 pedestrians were killed on Mercer County streets between 2007 and 2009. Tri‐State Transportation Campaign’s analysis of federal traffic fatality data reveal that Routes 129 suffered the highest number of pedestrian deaths over this period.

According to The Trenton Times, the most recent pedestrian death on Route 129 occurred in January 2009, when 3-year-old I’Maya Moreland died after a fire truck collided with a pickup truck, which hit the child and two other pedestrians. Moreland’s family sued Trenton, Mercer County and the Sovereign Bank Arena earlier this month, charging they failed to provide safe access to the arena.

A map created by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign showed about half of the Mercer County accidents happened Trenton. Two fatalities occurred along Route 206 near the Brunswick Circle in Lawrence, and two on Interstate 95 just east of the Scudder Falls Bridge. The data also showed that seven of the county victims were over 55 years old.

Mercer County is undertaking numerous pedestrian safety improvement projects. The Times article notes:

Mercer was awarded more than $3 million in federal stimulus money over the past two years for pedestrian safety and other road projects, including $425,000 for signal and push-button improvements, $360,000 for crosswalks that comply with Americans with Disability Act requirements and $300,000 for traffic signal improvements on Olden Avenue in Ewing, according to federal data.

A number of projects have been completed or are under way, Watson said. They include road modifications, signalization and push buttons at the intersection of Princeton Avenue, Calhoun Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Trenton and similar work at Hamilton Avenue and Chestnut Street in Trenton and at the intersection of Whitehead Road, East State Street and Roberts Avenue in Hamilton.

The county is installing flashing beacons at points where the Lawrence Hopewell Trail for bicycles and pedestrians crosses public roads, and on Princeton Avenue near the Project Freedom complex in Lawrence, to encourage motorists to stop for pedestrians. Watson said the county also collaborated with Hamilton last year to install a crosswalk and pedestrian island on Hughes Drive and Paxson Avenue, near the entrance to Mercer County Park.

To view the Mercer County factsheet, click here (PDF).  To view all of the county factsheets, click here.

“Smart Bus” Technology Coming to a Bus Near You!

15 Feb

NJ TRANSIT announced an initiative last week intended to give customers real-time information on trains and buses.

Last week, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors approved a contract that will allow NJ TRANSIT’s entire bus fleet to be equipped with smart bus technology.

The Board authorized a $22 million contract with Clever Devices LTD of Plainview, NY, for hardware, software and services for the installation of smart bus equipment on approximately 1,040 transit, cruiser and articulated buses.

According to NJ TRANSIT, the Clever Devices platform offers many operational and customer benefits, including automatic bus stop announcements, vehicle condition monitoring, passenger counting, and real-time location reporting. The technology, together with an upcoming procurement for a new radio system, will ultimately enable NJ TRANSIT to deliver real-time bus location and arrival information to any web-enabled device, letting customers know when their bus is expected to arrive at their stop.

The installation of smart bus platforms is expected to be completed in two phases by the end of 2012, while delivery of the remainder of NJ TRANSIT’s new smart buses is expected to be completed in 2013.

Rail customers will also see improvements. The My Transit alert system, which alters customers about delays, service disruptions and schedule changes, will now give customers weekend rail alerts and news of Access Link para-transit disruptions.

For more info, click here.

Don’t Walk Here

9 Feb

A new report by the transportation policy watchdog group the Tri-State Transportation Campaign identifies New Jersey’s most pedestrian-UNfriendly roads.

The “winner” is Route 130 in Burlington County. According to their analysis, between 2007 and 2009, 10 pedestrians were killed on that route, with most of the fatalities occurring where the roadway passes through relatively busy suburban areas such as Cinnaminson and Delran. At least three additional pedestrians have been killed on the Burlington Pike in the latter half of 2010. A concrete Jersey barrier bisects much of the route to discourage pedestrians from crossing. But with crosswalks spaced as much as a half-mile apart, even normally cautious pedestrians risk the traffic by crossing mid-block.

Other New Jersey routes topping the list were Blackhorse Pike in Atlantic county, Route 1 in Middlesex County, Route 549 in Ocean County, and Route 1&9 in Union County. Like the Burlington Pike, each of these roads is a wide, high-speed arterial lined with shopping centers and offices.

The analysis found the state’s most dangerous roads for walking over the three-year period were:

Rank Roadway Pedestrian Fatalities (2007-2009)
1 US-130 (Burlington Pike/Bordentown Rd), Burlington County 10
2 US-322/40 (Blackhorse Pike/Albany Ave), Atlantic County 7
2 US-1, Middlesex County 7
2 Route 549, Ocean County 7
2 US-1&9, Union County 7
6 US-30 (White Horse Pike/Absecon Blvd), Atlantic County 6
6 SR-21 (McCarter Hwy), Essex County 6
6 John F Kennedy Blvd, Hudson County 6
6 Route 35, Middlesex County 6
6 Route 28 (North Ave/Front St/Westfield Ave), Union County 6
11 US-9, Monmouth County 5
11 US-9, Ocean County 5

The group hopes that this new analysis will encourage state and local leaders to press for increased funding for pedestrian and bicycling projects. In particular, they are calling on legislators to ensure increased funding for the Local Aid program as proposals for the Transportation Trust Fund reauthorization. Pedestrian safety projects can produce dramatic safety improvements (and create much-needed construction jobs) at a fraction of the cost of a typical road project.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign applauded efforts that are already underway to improve safety in many of these corridors, and noted that New Jersey has made reducing pedestrian fatalities a statewide goal and sets aside significant funding for pedestrian safety projects.  NJDOT’s new Safe Corridors program was established to improve pedestrian safety along especially dangerous roads.  And the state recently revamped its methodology for awarding state and federal safety funds to target places with the greatest need. Furthermore, in 2009, the New Jersey Department of Transportation adopted an internal Complete Streets policy requiring that transportation planners and engineers consider all potential users of a roadway, including pedestrians and bicyclists, in the design of a new or significantly retrofitted road.

The Campaign’s analysis was based on recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The analysis excludes Interstates and other roads where pedestrians are prohibited. Federal data was not available for pedestrian injuries, many of which occur in urban areas like Newark, Trenton, and Camden.

County fact sheets showing the most dangerous routes for walking are also available.  The fact sheets also include an interactive Google Map showing the locations of each pedestrian fatality, with descriptive details for each victim killed on the county’s most dangerous route or routes.

The full report, as well as county fact sheets and Google Maps can be found at www.tstc.org/reports/danger11/


Bike Commuting on the Rise

8 Feb

In her ode to bike commuting and urban cycling, which includes good tips for how to make it easier for people, Lizzy Bennett highlights some interesting statistics:

It could be the rise of unemployment, the race to lower carbon emissions, or something in the water, but urban cycling is on the rise the United States. From 2006 – 2009, New York City built 200 miles of bike lanes and saw a 45% increase in commuter cycling. During the same time period, San Francisco built zero bike lanes and saw a 53% increase in bike commuting. Clearly infrastructure isn’t keeping folks off their bikes; even people in Los Angeles are bike commuting! And organizations like Peopleforbikes.org are helping folks realize the magic of bike commuting.

There’s strength in numbers, as they say, which is why more cyclists leads to…more cyclists. The more cyclists there are on the road, the safer it gets for all cyclists. Often, it takes an increase in cycling before the additional infrastructure will follow. Here’s hoping it does, around the country. On the Move readers, where would you like to see more bike infrastructure in Mercer and Ocean counties?