Archive | May, 2012

Buy a Bike, Save Money

31 May

We’re at the end of Bike Month and Bike to Work Week, and as a gift, the cyclists of the world are getting some more vindication for their riding ways. A new study by the League of American Bicyclists, the Sierra Club, and the National Council of La Raza analyzes data that finds that bicyclists in the United States save at least $4.6 billion a year by riding instead of driving.

It costs between 20 and 30 cents per mile to operate a car, depending on the vehicle. This is based on expenses like gas, oil, maintenance, etc., that go up when you drive more. This figure doesn’t include the hidden costs of vehicle ownership like depreciation, taxes, and insurance — factors which make the actual per mile cost to operate a car much higher. When you start multiplying cost per mile to operate a car by the distance you ride, you can easily calculate how much money you save by riding a bike.

According to the report, the average annual operating cost of a bicycle is $308, compared to $8,220 for the average car, and if drivers replaced just one four-mile car trip with a bike trip each week for the entire year, it would save more than two billion gallons of gas, for a total savings of $7.3 billion a year, based on $4 a gallon for gas.

More Americans are choosing to bicycle for everyday transportation. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of bicycle commuters grew 40 percent nationwide, and was even greater — 77 percent — in the some cities, according to the report.  Yet “government funding of safe bicycling projects is not keeping up. Though biking and walking account for 12 percent of all trips in the U.S., these transportation modes receive only 1.6 percent of federal transportation spending.”

The average American household spends more— 16 percent of its budget—on transportation than on food or healthcare. Low-income families spend as much as 55 percent of their household budgets on transportation, the report noted. Those dollars add up. The New America Foundation has shown how burdensome car ownership has become even for middle class families. And for low-income families, car-related costs can eat up half of the money they take in. Many don’t have a choice about car ownership; the country’s infrastructure has been built around the automobile.

If your round-trip commute to work is 20 miles, you can save $8 a day by commuting on your bike instead of in a car, and that’s not even including any tolls or parking fees. Plus, you’d get exercise, fresh air, and help the environment. This nifty online calculator can help you figure out exactly how much you can save by biking to work.

Click here for the full fact sheet: “Pedaling to Prosperity,”  here for more about National Bike Month, and here to read: New Report Finds That More Biking and Walking Do Not Increase Crash Rate.

Nee more incentive to get out of your car and onto your bike? Participate in the 2 Mile Challenge. CLIF Bar will donate $1 for every trip you log to bike nonprofits, up to $100,000.

Finally, if you’re looking for an affordable bike, check out the Trenton Bike Exchange, where they sell refurbished bicycles at great prices, all for a good cause!

Advertisements

Route 1 Jughandle Closures to Begin Soon

30 May

After being postponed last winter, the 12-week pilot program to close the left-hand jughandle turns off Route 1 north at Washington Road and Harrison Street in West Windsor will begin either Monday July 30 or Monday August 6. NJDOT will use construction barrels and other obstructions to prevent northbound drivers from making left or u-turns off Route 1 and onto Washington or Harrison.

The pilot is NJDOT’s attempt to reduce congestion along Route 1 north through Lawrenceville, West Windsor, Plainsboro. NJDOT will monitor traffic on that section of Route 1 as well as other nearby roads to see if traffic is relieved during the pilot; results will be presented to the public at the end of the trial period, and if it is deemed successful, the state plans to close the jughandles permanently.

When the pilot begins, drivers may no longer turn left from Route 1 north onto Harrison or Washington. Instead, drivers will be directed north to Scudder’s Mill Road and onto Route 1 south.

The jughandle closure plans were discussed at a transportation forum last week hosted by the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce; Greater Mercer TMA’s Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes moderated the panel. At the meeting, panelists expressed concern about the potential of increasing traffic on other local roads, but all agreed that the traffic congestion on Route 1 is a problem that must be dealt with in some way.

On the Move readers, what do you think? Do you think this project will help relieve traffic on Route 1? Do you have any other ideas for how to alleviate the road’s congestion?

Kick Off the Summer on Transit

24 May

Memorial Day weekend is the official start of the summer season, and with that means more traffic on the roads, especially on the weekends. This weekend, as usual, is expected to have very heavy traffic. But NJ Transit is ready to help you have a relaxing holiday weekend and beat the traffic. They’re starting “early getaway” rail and bus service at 1pm on Friday, May 25 with extra trains, discounts for kids, and other discounts.

On Friday, May 25, extra outbound trains will operate on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, Raritan Valley, Morris & Essex, and Port Jervis lines starting at approximately 1 p.m.  Extra buses will operate from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on more than two dozen bus routes starting around noon.

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, trains will operate on a weekend/major holiday schedule on all lines.  Bus schedules vary by route—customers are advised to check their timetables or visit njtransit.com for schedule information.

Summer Savings: NJ Transit is offering some great discounted travel packages to destinations including the Jersey Shore, Six Flags Great Adventure and Monmouth Park:

  • Beach Packages:  Save up to $6.50 on admission to one of five beaches— Long Branch, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach and Belmar—by purchasing round-trip train fare and a beach pass for one price at NJ Transit ticket vending machines (choose “Special Promotions” and select “Beach Package”) or at ticket windows.  Customers can purchase the package for $31.50 from New York Penn Station or any station on the Main, Bergen County or Pascack Valley lines (except from Metro-North stations), and for $23.50 from Hoboken Terminal or Newark Penn Station.

  • Shore EZride Jitney provides shuttle service to beaches, shopping and dining locations in Long Branch, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach Friday through Sunday.  For jitney info and shore activities, go to visitmonmouth.com.

  • Six Flags Great Adventure or Hurricane Harbor:  Save up to $51 by purchasing round-trip bus transportation and park admission together.
    NJ Transit provides express bus service to Six Flags from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York, Newark Penn Station, Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal and the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden.

  • Monmouth Park:  Board a train anywhere on NJ Transit’s rail system and save up to $6.00 when you travel to Monmouth Park Racetrack.  Simply purchase a round-trip package to Monmouth Park from ticket vending machines (choose “Special Promotions” and select “Monmouth Park”) or at ticket windows, and receive Grandstand Admission and an official track program for $1 plus round-trip train fare.

For details on Summer Services and customer discounts, visit njtransit.com/summer.

On weekends, kids ride free: Every weekend, families riding NJ Transit can save with the Family Super Saver Fare, which allows two children 11 and younger to travel free with each fare-paying adult.  For the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the program will be extended and in effect from 7 p.m. Friday, May 25 until 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 29.

For more information, visit njtransit.com. 

2012 Safe Routes to School Awards: Call for Applications

23 May

The National Center for Safe Routes to School announced last week that it is now accepting applications for the 2012 James Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award an exemplary SRTS program in the United States.

The application deadline is Thursday, June 28, 2012, at midnight Eastern Time.

The Award, given annually, recognizes schools and communities that have improved the safety or increased the number of elementary and/or middle school students who walk and bicycle to school. 

Past winners include:

  • 2011: Heatherwood Elementary School (Boulder, Colo.) and Omro Middle School (Omro, Wis.) both received the Award.  Heatherwood took on ambitious infrastructure, education and encouragement activities that increased the percentage of students regularly walking and bicycling to school. Omro integrated active commuting into its school culture through an innovative cycling program using a fleet of 35+ bicycles maintained by the school’s “Young Mechanics.”
  • 2010: Alpine Elementary School (Alpine, Utah) increased the percentage of children who regularly walked and bicycled to school and encouraged families to shift habits to a less car-focused commute.
  • 2009: Ben W. Murch Elementary School (Washington, D.C.) built community support and infrastructure for safe walking and bicycling to school and overturned a school policy that had discouraged walking and bicycling to school.
  • 2008: Bear Creek Elementary School (Boulder, Colo.) engaged 70 percent of the student population in walking and bicycling throughout the school year.  
  • 2007: The Michigan Department of Transportation successfully and expeditiously implemented a statewide Safe Routes to School program.

Click here for more information and application guidelines. And if you’re just interested in starting up an SRTS in your community, contact GMTMA! We can help.

Help GMTMA’s Ride Provide Program Win a FREE Car!

22 May

We are delighted to announce that Greater Mercer TMA’s Ride Provide program is a finalist in Toyota’s “100 Cars for Good” campaign.

Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program will be awarding 100 vehicles to 100 nonprofits over the course of 100 days based on votes from the public. A total of 500 nonprofits were selected from more than 4,000 applications nationwide, and we are one of the finalists. We’re hoping to win a much needed new car for our Ride Provide program.

You can help us win by voting on July 25! July 25 is the only day you can vote for us. All voting is conducted online via Facebook. You can view the page with our video entry here. The voting period begins on July 25 at 10:00 a.m. ET and ends at 11:59:59 p.m. ET.

Greater Mercer TMA’s Ride Provide program is a community based non-profit transportation service for seniors 65 and over and visually impaired adults residing in Mercer County and Plainsboro, New Jersey. RideProvide helps members maintain their independence and reduces isolation by providing a safe, reliable transportation option. RideProvide provides door to door transportation, in the comfort of a private vehicle, throughout our service area without restrictions on trip purpose. Ride Provide’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of senior citizens and visually impaired adults by providing a dependable transportation alternative to keep them connected to their communities, reduce their need to drive when they are no longer able to safely do so and enable them to access healthcare.

The new vehicle will be used to transport seniors and visually impaired adults anywhere they need to travel within our service area. Our program has grown quite a bit since we began just over five years ago. During the last 12 months we provided 9,200 rides and traveled 95,000 miles. All of our original cars were donated and most had many miles when they were given. Due to the aging of our vehicles and the increasing cost of repairing the old cars it is becoming essential to upgrade all of our cars. We also would like to have more fuel efficient vehicles, not just for the cost savings, but to also reflect our organization’s emphasis on green transportation. The fuel efficiency of a new Toyota and the reduced maintenance of a new car would help us reduce our costs significantly and allow us to provide more rides. Safety is always our number one concern and we know that a new Toyota vehicle would give us that comfort level.

Remember – you can help us win, but only if you vote on July 25. If you’re worried you’ll forget by then, simply click here, then click on the Greater Mercer TMA link, and you can set a reminder for yourself so we will automatically  remind you to vote that day.

Like our Facebook page so we can send you reminders as well. And please tell your friends!

It’s New Jersey Walk & Bike to School Week!

21 May

This year, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has established the first ever statewide New Jersey Walk and Bike to School Week, May 21-25, 2012.

This week, the whole state is working to promote New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School program — a nationwide effort to make walking and bicycling to school safe and appealing. The goal is to help schools make walking and cycling to school safe and fun. 

GMTMA is here to help provide technical assistance to schools, community groups, PTAs/PTOs, and other local entities who are interested in starting a Safe Routes program for kids in your community. We can help develop walking school buses, conduct walkability and bikeability audits, create school travel plans and help apply for infrastructure grants. Contact us for more information!

Did You Ride Your Bike Last Week?

20 May

Image

Last week was Greater Mercer TMA’s Bike to Work Week. If you rode your bike last week, we thank you!

By riding your bike last week, you helped clear the air, reduce auto traffic, and made yourself healthier too. If you registered for Bike to Work week, you can now track your miles and answer a few short questions by filling out our Bike to Work Week survey. If you complete the survey, you’ll automatically be entered into our drawing to win one of the great prizes donated by our generous sponsors.

Click here to complete the Bike To Work Week survey!

And if you have any good biking to work stories, let us know! We want to feature them here on our blog.

Just because Bike to Work Week is over, that doesn’t mean you can get off the bike. So keep on riding. Do you want to know how many people ride bikes in America, who’s riding, and how many miles of bike lanes there are? The Census Bureau collects American Community Survey data to let us know. Find out who’s riding bikes in the largest 244 cities in the U.S.

Interested in biking more often and want to freshen up on your skills? The League of American Bicyclist’s Ride Better page has detailed the Rules of the Road and commuting tips. Simple bike maintenance and fix-it info can also be found on the page.