Archive | June, 2012

Extra July 4 and Summer Service and Deals on NJ Transit

29 Jun

As usual around big holidays, NJ Transit is offering some great extra service and deals for travelers with kids.

In celebration of the July 4th holiday, NJ Transit has expanded its Family Super Saver Farewhich allows up to two children 11 and younger to travel free with each fare-paying adult.  Usually limited to weekends and holidays, the Family Super Saver Fare will be in effect continuously from 7 p.m. Friday, June 29 until 6 a.m. Monday, July 9, on all trains (except for travel to/from Metro-North stations), buses and light rail lines.

In addition, NJ Transit will offer extra service in advance of Independence Day and on the holiday itself to give customers more travel options, whether leaving work early to get a head start on festivities or attending fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. Additionally, to help people get around on the Friday before the holiday weekend, on Friday June 29, extra buses will operate from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on more than two dozen bus routes starting around noon.

On Tuesday, July 3, extra outbound trains will operate on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, Raritan Valley, Morris & Essex, Pascack Valley 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 Independence Day, Wednesday, July 4, trains will operate on a weekend/major holiday schedule on all lines.  Hudson-Bergen Light Rail will operate on a weekend schedule.  Newark Light Rail will operate on a Saturday schedule.  River Line will operate on a Sunday schedule.  Bus schedules vary by route—customers are advised to check their timetables or visit njtransit.com for schedule information.

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Service

To accommodate spectators traveling to the New Jersey Waterfront to view the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display over the Hudson River, NJ Transit will supplement existing weekend rail service on the Morris & Essex Lines with additional trains to and from Hoboken Terminal.  An additional trip will also operate to Hoboken on the Port Jervis Line.  Hudson-Bergen Light Rail will operate additional trips between Tonnelle Avenue and Hoboken starting after 4 p.m.  Also on July 4, extra trips will operate to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on selected bus routes.

Detailed service information is available at njtransit.com/fireworks.

Summer Savings

With the summer season in full swing, now is a great time for customers to take advantage of NJ Transit’s 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.  Starting July 4, NJ Transit customers can ride the jitney FREE on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays plus Independence Day and Labor Day with a coupon available at njtransit.com/summer.  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 NJ Transit 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 NJ Transit’s Summer Services and customer discounts, visit njtransit.com/summer.

 

New Bike Parking at Princeton Junction!

29 Jun

If you’re looking to park your bike at the Princeton Junction train station, you’re in luck. Two years after our last bike parking collaboration, Greater Mercer TMA has once again teamed up with the West Windsor Bike-Ped Alliance, New Jersey Transit, West Windsor Township, West Windsor Parking Authority, and West Windsor BikeFest to add new bike lockers to the Princeton Junction train station.

The eight additional lockers, which were unused at  the Maplewood train station, were recently reassembled on the New York-bound side of the tracks at Princeton Junction station.

Four of the organizations (WWBPA, GMTMA, BikeFest, West Windsor Parking Authority) paid for the concrete pads. NJ Transit contributed the lockers and West Windsor Township public works handled the installation.  Still to come: the installation of additional bike racks on the newly poured pad by the Dinky.

Greater Mercer TMA is NJ Transit’s agent for bicycle locker rentals at the Hamilton, Princeton Junction and Point Pleasant Rail Stations. Call us 609.452.1491 x224  or send us an email for information.

Take the Summer Carbon Slimdown Challenge

26 Jun

While you’re dieting to get yourself into your bathing suit this summer, you might want to also consider going on a carbon diet. TerraPass, a company dedicated to helping people reduce their climate impact, is promoting its “Summer Carbon Slimdown” program, which allows users to pledge to do between 1 and 5 activities this summer that will help you have a “slimmer” carbon footprint.

One of the five tips involves transportation: Keep Your Car Out of Your Commute. They’re asking people to pledge to not commute by car at least one day per week, and instead telecommute, bike, walk, or ride transit. You can also use their online calculator to see what your transportation carbon footprint is, and see how much good you’re doing by not driving to work just once a week.

One of GMTMA’s primary missions is to help people and employers in our region reduce their carbon footprint from driving, so we are ready to help you keep your car out of your commute. This means that we are here to give you all the information and resources you need to get out of your car. We have a great program for green commuters, which you can register for here; a Park and Ride Locator, where you can find a convenient location to meet your carpool or vanpool; information on rideshare parking permit at the Princeton Junction Train Station;  information on how to find a carpool that works for you; info on how to find or start up a vanpool; and many resources on riding the bus and train, and bicycling and walking.

So are you ready to slim down this summer and keep your car out of your commute? We want to hear from you!

Boys & Girls Club Bike Drive: This Saturday!

25 Jun

Want to help keep kids on bikes? This Saturday, June 30, you’ll have a chance to donate bikes to a good cause. The West Windsor Bicycle & Pedestrian Alliance (WWBPA) is holding a bike drive on Saturday at the West Windsor Farmer’s Market. All donated bikes will  be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton. They’re accepting bikes of all shapes and sizes, in any condition. All donations are tax-deductible.

The bikes will then be refurbished by the Trenton Bike Exchange and sold at their store in Ewing; proceeds from the sales fund the Boys and Girls Club’s after-school programs. As of mid-June, this amazing group had already sold 937 bikes so far this year, and raised $27,000 for the Boys & Girls Club.

The West Windsor Farmer’s Market is located in West Windsor in the Vaughn Drive parking lot off of Alexander Road) between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For more information, contact WWBPA!

I Believe the Children Are the Future…

21 Jun

Are children the future of bicycling? According to Rutgers professor John Pucher, the anwer is yes.

Professor John Pucher has authored another installment of his bi-weekly chat with European Cyclists’ Foundation for his upcoming book,City Cycling. The book devotes a whole chapter to kids, and laments the fact that bicycling rates have fallen dramatically for kids in most countries.

According to Pucher, the downward trend can be explained by increased car ownership among parents, longer distances between home and school, increasing traffic danger, and parental fears about the personal safety of their children. “City Cycling” examines ways to reverse the downward trend in child cycling based on successful policies in some countries and cities.

In a recent interview with Velo City, Pucher notes that improving cycling safety, particularly on the trip to school, can help reverse this trend. Co-Editor of City Cycling, Ralph Buehler, noted that the Dutch are doing everything right when it comes to kids and cycling. The secrets to their success include:

  • The requirement that all Dutch children take in-class on-the-road lessons in safe cycling (and walking) by the 3rd or 4th grade
  • Proper infrastructure. “An extraordinarily well-designed, integrated, comprehensive network of cycling facilities separated from motor vehicles in the Netherlands provides safe routes for children to school as well as safe, convenient, and comfortable cycling for everyone,” said Buehler.
  • Driver training and licensing is rigorous and expensive, with a specific and explicit focus on the legal requirement to avoid endangering cyclists and pedestrians, especially children. In any crash involving child cyclists, motorists are virtually always found to be at fault and legally responsible for all damages. This creates cautious and considerate driving.

“City Cycling”appears in print in September but can already be ordered at a pre-publication discount ($18) at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL: Part of the Solution

New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is part of a nationwide effort to help solve these problems in the United States, and to make walking and bicycling to school safe and appealing. Greater Mercer TMA is working with schools and communities to help implement SRTS programs to examine conditions around schools and create activities to improve safety and accessibility, reduce traffic and air pollution around schools, and make bicycling and walking to school safer and more appealing, thus encouraging a healthy active lifestyle for kids.

SRTS programs bring a wide range of benefits to students and the community, including:

  • increasing the health, mobility, and independence of school-age children,
  • reducing congestion, air pollution and traffic conflicts around schools,
  • helping students arrive at school ready to learn, and
  • teaching safe pedestrian and bicyclist skills

GMTMA is the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s designated SRTS coordinator for Mercer and Ocean counties. At no cost, GMTMA can help your school and community implement a SRTS program by helping you with the following SRTS elements:

Travel Plans

  • Document existing conditions
  • Identify assets, barriers, goals and actions
  • Outline responsibilities and funding sources

Bike/Walk Events & Education Assistance

  • Walking School Buses
  • Bike Rodeos
  • Assemblies
  • Safety education and “How To” teaching materials

Evaluation and Monitoring

  • Establish baseline of existing conditions
  • Student arrival/departure counts
  • Parent/Caregiver surveys
  • Measure progress and adjust program as needed

SRTS Infrastructure Program

NJDOT offers local governments and schools a grant program for the planning and implementation of pe­destrian and bicycle infrastructure projects near schools. This is a highly competitive program and communities who participate in non-infrastructure programs and activities, such as SRTS Travel Plans, School Wellness programs and school walk/bike activities may receive extra points on their grant applications.

Want to learn more? Contact GMTMA’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator Rebecca Hersh at rhersh@gmtma.org.

The Evolution of Bike Lanes

7 Jun

There was an interesting post earlier this week in Atlantic Citiesabout how how bike investment and infrastructure has been changing in recent years. Of course bike lanes have been around for over a hundred years; as soon as bicycles became viable modes of transport, people have been lobbying for safe places to ride them. Broadly speaking, a bike lane is an exclusive lane for cyclists, but there are many variations on that theme, including shared lanes (“sharrows”), and cycle tracks, which are protected (usually separated) bike lanes for cyclists. Cycle tracks effectively form a “bike path” on the street; cars must drive and park next to the bike lane, not the curb, and bicyclists ride between the parked cars and the sidewalk.

After yours truly spent all day last Saturday drooling over the cycle tracks in Brooklyn, I found the discussion of cycle tracks to be of particular interest.  According to the article, cycle tracks “increase ridership by 18-20 percent compared to 5-7 percent for [conventional, non-separated] bike lanes.

Cycle tracks are much more prevalent in European countries, although several US cities have recently incorporated cycle tracks as a component of their bicycle facilities. Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Washington, DC, have all constructed cycle tracks, some permanently and some as pilot projects.

One benefit of cycle tracks is that many bicyclists feel more comfortable being separated from traffic. Consequently, there are some indications that the availability of cycle tracks may attract new riders who otherwise do not feel safe or comfortable riding directly with cars. Cycle tracks may also reduce cyclist collisions involving parked cars; they can prevent “doorings” by creating a 2-3 foot gap between parked cars and the bicycle travel lane.

Several studies have shown benefits in both safety and increased ridership associated with cycle tracks. An evaluation of cycle tracks in Montreal found, when compared with roads without this treatment, roadways with cycle tracks have a 28 percent lower injury rate and 2.5 times as many bicyclists. A before and after evaluation of cycle tracks in Copenhagen shows that collisions between intersections decreased by 10 percent while collisions at intersections increased by 18 percent. Cyclist traffic volumes increased 18-20 percent with the construction of cycle tracks. However, research indicates that the design and location of cycle tracks is very important, and they won’t work everywhere. They seem to be more appropriate along roads that have high vehicle speeds and high traffic volume, but few intersections and driveways. They also need a wide right-of-way.

On the Move readers, what do you think? Are there any stretches of roads in our region where you think a cycle track could be built? Would you be more likely to ride your bike if there were cycle tracks out there to use?

Register Now for Walk to School Day 2012!

5 Jun

On October 3, thousands of students, parents and volunteers will walk or bicycle to school to celebrate Walk to School Day 2012, and registration is now officially open for the 16th annual event. Walk to School Day participation reached a record high in 2011 with more than 4,000 registered U.S. events, and that number is expected to rise once again in 2012.

Walk to School Day event registration is free and available to individuals and organizations holding an October event in the United States. Events that register on the Walk to School website, www.walkbiketoschool.org, will be displayed on an interactive U.S. map on the website, where neighboring communities, media and other organizations can identify who is walking in their area.

Registering a Walk to School Day event provides organizers access to free, downloadable materials on the newly redesigned website, including stickers, certificates and customizable fliers. They can also easily create and share a walking or bicycling to school route via the new Map-a-Route tool. Registrants can also subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter for six weeks in September and October with tips and resources for organizing a Walk to School Day event.

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL

Walk to School Day is one way to get involved in New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School program — a nationwide effort to make walking and bicycling to school safe and appealing.

Greater Mercer TMA is working with schools and communities to help kids get fit, get healthy, and protect the planet. One way we’re doing this is through our involvement in the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.

SRTS is a federal, state, and local program to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. programs examine conditions around schools and create activities to improve safety and accessibility, reduce traffic and air pollution around schools, and make bicycling and walking to school safer and more appealing, thus encouraging a healthy active lifestyle for kids.

SRTS programs bring a wide range of benefits to students and the community, including:

  • increasing the health, mobility, and independence of school-age children,
  • reducing congestion, air pollution and traffic conflicts around schools,
  • helping students arrive at school ready to learn, and
  • teaching safe pedestrian and bicyclist skills

GMTMA is the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s designated SRTS coordinator for Mercer and Ocean counties. At no cost, GMTMA can help your school and community implement a SRTS program by helping you with the following SRTS elements:

Travel Plans

  • Document existing conditions
  • Identify assets, barriers, goals and actions
  • Outline responsibilities and funding sources

Bike/Walk Events & Education Assistance

  • Walking School Buses
  • Bike Rodeos
  • Assemblies
  • Safety education and “How To” teaching materials

Evaluation and Monitoring

  • Establish baseline of existing conditions
  • Student arrival/departure counts
  • Parent/Caregiver surveys
  • Measure progress and adjust program as needed

SRTS Infrastructure Program

NJDOT offers local governments and schools a grant program for the planning and implementation of pe­destrian and bicycle infrastructure projects near schools. This is a highly competitive program and communities who participate in non-infrastructure programs and activities, such as SRTS Travel Plans, School Wellness programs and school walk/bike activities may receive extra points on their grant applications.

Want to learn more? Contact GMTMA’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator Rebecca Hersh at rhersh@gmtma.org.