Wednesday, December 30, 2009
NJN reports that, according to a recent report by the NJ State Police* one of the reasons (others not fully explored by NJN) why pedestrian fatalities are up is that pedestrians are distracted by, phones, PDA's, MP3 players, etc.
Further in the NJN report they interview Tracy Noble of AAA Mid-Atlantic Region offices talks about "walking while distracted" however she also gets in a few seconds to talk about need for proper engineering that includes the needs of pedestrians.
The NJN report goes on to also interview Trenton Police Detective Rick Rivera who also talks almost exclusively about distracted or obstinate pedestrians. However, streetwise Trenton crossing guard, Antonio Wiley is able to get a quick quip in about drivers not respecting his authority and the pedestrians' right-of-way.
Now, I'm not at all saying that pedestrians are 100% innocent. We all know there is and have seen some really bad pedestrian behavior out on the streets. I am absolutely sure that many pedestrian crashes and fatalities are totally the fault of an obstinate and/or distracted pedestrians even on streets where all the best pedestrian facilities were provided.
However the tone of this article is completely unbalanced and sends a message that places most if not all of the blame for the rise in deaths on the pedestrians themselves. Not once, save for crossing guard Wiley, is there ever a mention of driver behavior being a cause.
For a comparison take a look at The Record's coverage of the same topic from the same date. While touching upon a pedestrian's responsibility while negotiating traffic, it in no way lays the blame at the feet of pedestrians the way NJN did.
As a avid follower of NJN News, I expected better of them.
* - Unable to locate cited report online so to provide link.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
...The borough has so far installed six racks at various downtown locations...
...Higgins said Monday that 10 more have been ordered. The racks will be able to accommodate about 90 bicycles, she said."
According to the ordinance, bicycles that are found not placed in a rack, or left on streets, sidewalks or on private properties without the consent of the owner will be seized and impounded by the borough. The owner of the bicycle may claim the bicycle after paying $20 per bicycle. In addition, there will also be a $1 per day charge for storage. The owner will also have to identify the bicycle by make and color.
2009-24 Bicycle Parking Racks
Friday, December 18, 2009
Also before you might forget, see what the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission had to say about providing bike/ped access. It is definitely not the answer you would expect.
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and the Federal Highway Administration have released the draft form of the Environmental Assessment for public comment and has announced public meetings to review the findings with public.
The document is over 200 pages but if you have a few hours to skim through it you can download it here. Several options of the bridge were weighed and the report reveals the "preferred alternative". It's a behemoth of a project with 9 lanes of traffic and 4 shoulders (two 14' interior and two 12' exterior).
The "optional" pathway would be placed on the north (upstream or southbound) side of the bridge and the criteria for its inclusion is as follows:
The addition of a bicycle and pedestrian facility on the southbound side of bridge is being considered; a decision will be made during Final Design when costs are refined and cost reasonableness can be determined.
The two meetings are:
Tuesday January 19, 2009 Villa Victoria Academy, 376 Upper Ferry Road, Ewing NJ
Wednesday January 20, 2009 Sharaton Bucks County Hotel, 400 Oxford Valley Rd, Langhorne, PA
At both meetings the Open House begins at 5PM and the Public Presentation begins at 7PM.
The public is invited to submit written comments by February 4, 2010:
1 - At the Public Meetings
2 - Via email at scudderfallsbridgeEAcomments@hntb.com
3 - Or via Letter:
Kevin Skeels, PE
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission
110 Wood and Grove Streets
Morrisville, PA 19067
For questions or more information regarding the project, please call the project hotline at 800-879-0849
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Furthermore, with crashes involving adult cyclists U.K. police found the driver solely responsible in about 60%-75% of all cases, and riders solely at fault 17%-25% of the time.
According to Cycle Touring Club (a.k.a. CTC - the equivalent of the League of American Bicyclists in the U.K.) spokesman Chris Peck, "We believe this report strongly supports our view that the biggest problem for cyclists is bad driving. With that in mind we are greatly concerned that the (U.K.) government still seems fascinated with analysing and promoting cycle helmets, the value of which appears to be inconclusive. We believe that the government should now focus on tackling the causes of injury which appears to be mainly inconsiderate and dangerous driving. Reduced speed limits, stronger traffic law enforcement and cycle-friendly road design are the solutions."
For more on this see the complete coverage from the Guardian. Also check out the coverage from the U.K. online road cycling site road.cc. Finally the complete report can be downloaded for free (but requires registration) directly from the Transport Research Laboratory.
Below is the New Jersey Complete Streets policy signed by Commissioner Dilts. This is a big step forward and we (the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia) are pleased that NJ DOT has joined the Delaware, Oregon and other states with complete streets policy (we at WalkBikeJersey are equally pleased).
The policy is long and involved so it will take some time for us to fully analyze its potential effectiveness. At first glance we like the inclusion of resurfacing projects and the offering of incentives for Local Aid projects (the transportation money for towns and counties). On the other hand we are concerned about Exemption 5 (highlighted below in bold italics) which suggest that safety or timing issues could result in the exclusion of complete streets elements (we at WalkBikeJersey agree). A broad statement that may offer lots of wiggle room for reluctant project managers. To take an objective eye on the policy consult the Complete Streets policy elements.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
To create and implement a Complete Streets Policy in New Jersey through the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of new and retrofit transportation facilities within public rights of way that are federally or state funded, including projects processed or administered through the Department’s Capital Program.
A Complete Street is defined as means to provide safe access for all users by designing and operating a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network of transportation options.
The benefits of Complete Streets are many and varied:
• Complete Streets improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, children, older citizens, non-drivers and the mobility challenged as well as those that cannot afford a car or choose to live car free.
• Provide connections to bicycling and walking trip generators such as employment, education, residential, recreation, retail centers and public facilities.
• Promote healthy lifestyles.
• Create more livable communities.
• Reduce traffic congestion and reliance on carbon fuels thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Complete Streets make fiscal sense by incorporating sidewalks, bike lanes, safe crossings and transit amenities into the initial design of a project, thus sparing the expense of retrofits later.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation shall implement a Complete Streets policy though the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of new and retrofit transportation facilities, enabling safe access and mobility of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users of all ages and abilities. This includes all projects funded through the Department’s Capital Program. The Department strongly encourages the adoption of similar policies by regional and local jurisdictions who apply for funding through Local Aid programs.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
1. Create a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network by providing connections to bicycling and walking trip generators such as employment, education, residential, recreational and public facilities, as well as retail and transit centers.
2. Provide safe and accessible accommodations for existing and future pedestrian,
bicycle and transit facilities.
3. Establish a checklist of pedestrian, bicycle and transit accommodations such as
accessible sidewalks curb ramps, crosswalks, countdown pedestrian signals, signs,
median refuges, curb extensions, pedestrian scale lighting, bike lanes, shoulders and
bus shelters with the presumption that they shall be included in each project unless supporting documentation against inclusion is provided and found to be justifiable.
4. Additionally, in rural areas, paved shoulders or a multi-use path shall be included in all new construction and reconstruction projects on roadways used by more than 1,000 vehicles per day.
Paved shoulders provide safety and operational advantages for all road users. Shoulder rumble strips are not recommended when used by bicyclists, unless there is a minimum clear path of four feet in which a bicycle may safely operate. If there is evidence of heavy pedestrian usage then sidewalks shall be considered in the project.
5. Establish a procedure to evaluate resurfacing projects for complete streets inclusion according to length of project, local support, environmental constraints, right-of-way limitations, funding resources and bicycle and/or pedestrian compatibility.
6. Transportation facilities are long-term investments that shall anticipate likely future demand for bicycling and walking facilities and not preclude the provision of future improvements.
7. Address the need for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross corridors as well as travel along them. Even where bicyclists and pedestrians may not commonly use a particular travel corridor that is being improved or constructed, they will likely need to be able to cross that corridor safely and conveniently. Therefore, the design of intersections, interchanges and bridges shall accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in a manner that is safe, accessible and convenient.
8. Design bicycle and pedestrian facilities to the best currently available standards and practices including the New Jersey Roadway Design Manual, the AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, AASHTO’s Guide for the Planning, Design and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices and others as related.
9. Research, develop and support new technologies in improving safety and mobility.
10. Make provisions for pedestrians and bicyclists when closing roads, bridges or sidewalks for
construction projects as outlined in NJDOT Policy #705 – Accommodating Pedestrian and Bicycle Traffic During Construction.
11. Improvements should also consider connections for Safe Routes to Schools, Safe Routes to Transit, Transit Villages, trail crossings and areas or population groups with limited transportation options.
12. Establish an incentive within the Local Aid Program for municipalities and counties to develop and implement a Complete Streets policy.
13. Improvements must comply with Title VI/Environmental Justice, Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and should complement the context of the surrounding community.
14. Implement training for Engineers and Planners on Bicycle/Pedestrian/Transit policies and integration of non-motorized travel options into transportation systems.
15. Establish Performance Measures to gauge success.
Exemptions to the Complete Streets policy must be presented for final decision to the Capital Program Screening Committee in writing by the appropriate Assistant Commissioner and documented with supporting data that indicates the reason for the decision and are limited to the following:
1) Non-motorized users are prohibited on the roadway.
2) Scarcity of population, travel and attractors, both existing and future, indicate an absence of need for such accommodations.
3) Detrimental environmental or social impacts outweigh the need for these accommodations.
4) Cost of accommodations is excessively disproportionate to cost of project, more than twenty percent (20%) of total cost.
5) The safety or timing of a project is compromised by the inclusion of Complete Streets.
An exemption other than those listed above must be documented with supporting data and must be approved by the Capital Program Committee along with written approval by the Commissioner of Transportation.
N.J.S.A. Title 27
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
However, according to The Press's editor, Jim Perskie, fault lies with the pedestrian victims and State Department of Highway Traffic Safety for initiating the wildly successful Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Program in South Jersey this year. See, according to Perskie's twisted logic, now that the police are reestablishing a pedestrian's right-of-way while in a crosswalk, this is somehow emboldening pedestrians to walk directly out into traffic so they get hit by cars who can not stop in time. Ridiculous!
First of all, being a devout reader of the NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian News Digest, I have not anecdotally noticed an outstanding increased trend in pedestrian fatal crashes by people walking out into traffic at crosswalks. Yes, there have been stories of pedestrians being killed while crossing legally in crosswalks but no noticeable spike.
Second, (sorry to break it to you Jimmy) but yielding (or stopping) for pedestrians is the law in every state in the U.S. and in most other civilized nations and is not some wacky idea that bureaucrats though up in Trenton. It's been the law here in New Jersey for 50 years.
Now stop for a second Jimmy. This might come as a surprise, but did you ever think that it might be the bad, reckless, if not homicidal behavior of New Jersey drivers that is to blame? Jim all you would have had to do is shut it for a moment to wait for the story to come over the wire the same day you wrote your piece, to read about the Air Force fighter pilot killed in Cherry Hill while working in his front yard by a driver who was speeding excessively.
While yes, there are jerks that dare drivers to hit them as they jaywalk into traffic, I'd suggest Jim, that before you make wild accusations from your position of influence, try to have more than your clear biases to back you up. We at WalkBikeJesey will keep an eye on you, particularly since this is not the first time you had something less than flattering to say about bicyclists or pedestrians.
In case Jim Perskie's editorial is pulled from the web we've included it verbatim below:
Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
There have been 24 more pedestrian deaths in New Jersey so far this year than in 2008 — and traffic-safety officials can’t figure out why.
“We’ve thrown the kitchen sink at it,” said Pam Fischer, director of the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
Do you think it might have something to do with the increased enforcement of a decades-old law that gives pedestrians the right of way when in a crosswalk? The law was virtually ignored for years. Whatever the statutes said, pedestrians were taught to stop, look both ways and wait until no cars were coming. It worked pretty well. Then the state started handing out grants for enforcing the crosswalk law — in the name of pedestrian safety, if you can believe it.
All of a sudden, streets were full of pedestrians stepping into crosswalks — and into traffic. Why not? The cars have to stop to let you cross. The law says so. The signs say so. Except they don’t. Not always, or even often. Sometimes a car headed in one direction stops. But the car headed in another doesn’t. And any car that does stop to let a pedestrian cross runs the risk of getting rear-ended.
The Press has run dozens of letters pointing out how dangerous this law is. A friend who is a police officer stopped me on the street to tell me how dangerous this law is.
Everybody seems to get it except state traffic officials.
The kitchen sink isn’t working, folks.
Go back to teaching pedestrians to look both ways and wait for traffic to clear before crossing, and who knows? Just maybe fewer pedestrians will get killed.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The deadline for Healthy Community Development mini grants submission is.
The & (NJDHSS), Family Health Services - Office of Nutrition & Fitness (ONF) and the on (NJCPFS) invite applications to implement a Healthy Community Development initiative.
The intent of the mini -grant is to provide to engage the community in local level programming which may enable communities to leverage future funding from other sources. Most grant awards will be for $2500 (twenty five hundred dollars); however, larger grants of up to $10,000 may be awarded based on merit. A total of up to $100,000 will be awarded based on available funding. It is anticipated that 10 - 20 (communities) municipalities will receive an award in 2009 - 2010.
Eligible applicants for this award include public and private non profit entities including municipalities, , schools/districts, , hospitals, YW-YMCA’s and other community based organizations capable of conducting the project as outlined. Only one application per municipality will be awarded. The application must include collaboration between/among at least two agencies (i.e. community/school). A letter of support from collaborating partner/s is required.
Although communities were not required to attend the 3rd Leaders’ Academy for Healthy Community Development on November 13, 2009, additional points will be awarded for attendance. The awards will be made on a competitive basis for applications that focus on policy and environmental change with first consideration given to participants who attended the Leaders’Academy.
The RFA for the Healthy Community Development mini grants is posted on the website at www.shapingnj.gov.
The deadline for submission is Wednesday, December 30th at 3:30 pm.
If you have any questions, please call or email email@example.com.
Peri L. Nearon, MPA
Director, Office of Nutrition & Fitness
Division of Family Health Services
Department of Health & Senior Services
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Yesterday's the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) put their 2010-2014 Capital Program into the sunshine on at a public meeting and on their website. Included in the year of 2012 is 3.2 Million Dollars for an ADA accessible ramp on the Camden side of the Ben Franklin Bridge (south walkway). Previous 5 year Capital Budget programs included the ramps but placed it in "Later Years", a category which serves as a placeholder for long term (and often unfunded) projects.
We commend DRPA for prioritizing the bridge walkway. We hope that design and construction happens in a timely manner. The Bicycle Coalition is willing and able to provide technical assistance and to promote public outreach of this important bi-state connection.
Image via Bike Nasbar Catalog.
I fell into the ambivalent category (wear 'em if you want to but I don't) until I read a response by one of the more respected members of APBP, Mighk Wilson out of Orlando, Florida:
When we start portraying such safety items as very necessary at all times, we run the risk of the contributory negligence problem. While it may not be explicitly written in law that failure to wear brightly-colored clothing is contributory negligence, we might foresee a time when that might be the common belief, and juries might unfairly rule against cyclists in some cases for that reason.Once Mighk brought up this possible scenario John Sigurjonsson of Cycle Chatham-Kent of Ontario, Canada informed the group that:
Police reports in Ontario note the color and reflectivity of cyclists clothing (e.g. “dark, non-reflective clothing worn by smeared cyclist”)So, since you the cyclist DID NOT dress like a 1980's neon prom queen, you had it coming to you because the helpless (hapless) driver couldn't help but NOT see you. Unfortunately this is already a common excuse when a driver hits a pedestrian who was otherwise walking along or crossing a street in a perfectly legal manner. "The pedestrian victim was dressed in 'dark clothing'" is often cited as the PRIMARY reason why a crash happened at night or other dark conditions.
Hmmm... Last I checked my finest cloths are all fairly dark (my best suit and overcoat are all black). Most police uniforms are mostly black too but I have yet to hear of the "dark clothing" being an excuse when a driver hits an officer of the law.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Also take time to sign the online petition that asks the city to work towards becoming the most bike friendly city in the state
Friday, December 04, 2009
The letter reads:
"Linwood officer deserves praise"
On Nov. 25, at approximately 12:20 p.m., my wife and I were walking our dog, Mick. For about two minutes, we waited to cross west over Route 9 at a designated pedestrian crosswalk. To our surprise, yet pleasure, a Linwood police officer stopped his patrol vehicle in the northbound lane of Route 9 and employed his safety lights, thereby signaling both lanes of traffic to yield to us, which allowed us to cross safely.
We are not impatient people, as we frequently wait several minutes to cross Route 9. And yes, I realize that at that time of day, traffic is usually heavy and was compounded by the holiday.
But my reason for writing this letter is to commend the officer for his courteous action and for enforcing a traffic law that was designed to promote safety for all residents and pedestrians in New Jersey. Thank you, officer, for your courtesy.
RICK McGUIRE, Linwood
Dear Mr. McQuire,
You should NEVER have to wait several minutes to cross a road at a marked crosswalk. While it's great that this police officer did the right thing by yielding to you and using the overhead lights to force people to yield, it should never need to come to that. A driver of a car yielding to pedestrians shouldn't be such an exceptional event that you take the time to write your local paper. It should be a mundane everyday occurrence that doesn't even register in your memory, like stopping at a red traffic light
Drivers must ALWAYS yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk wanting to cross. It's the law!
39:4-36 Driver to yield to pedestrian, exceptions; violations, penalties.
a. The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except at crosswalks when the movement of traffic is being regulated by police officers or traffic control signals, or where otherwise prohibited by municipal, county, or State regulation, and except where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided, but no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. Nothing contained herein shall relieve a pedestrian from using due care for his safety.
(For complete statute follow link above)
Thursday, December 03, 2009
All interested persons are invited to attend (but please be polite). Organizers ask that you please RSVP by emailing Rob Williams at ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Also be sure to check out the other four Bikes Belongs videos on their Vimeo video feed.
Bergen County Learning Center
Bergen County Administrative Building
One Bergen County Plaza, Hackensack, NJ 07601
(light lunch to be served)
Be mindful however if you go, that this meeting is a county wide master plan touching upon many aspects planning and is not solely focused upon bicycle and pedestrian or even transportation issues. That said, please let decision makers understand that these issues are of utmost importance.
The below message is from our friend Stephen Mosca at Go-One LLC and local advocate in Maywood, New Jersey about the plan:
Cycling-related deaths and injuries are rising in New Jersey and cyclists from around the state are coming together to address this disturbing trend. On December 5th Bergen County will sponsor a “Visioning Day”. Many actions are taking root in our state towards more effective transportation for all citizens. The New Jersey Department of Transportation is conducting Pedestrian Safety Impact Team (PSIT) meetings to study along NJ Route 93 (Grand Street) in Bergen County; Bergen County members are involved in the Bicycle/ Pedestrian Think Tank in New Brunswick, NJ. Sponsored by the NJ/ DOT and Rutgers University Voorhees Transportation Policy Planning Group; Municipalities around New Jersey are par-taking in the “Sustainable Jersey” Program (Safe Route to School & Complete Streets); and, people are realizing the health benefits, environmental, noise and congestion benefits of cycling. We need to be proactive and apply the basic lessons of transportation.
Cyclists throughout the state will attend, representing bicycle clubs, shops, advocates, retailers, manufacturers, and other interested individuals committed to safe access of cyclists to our state’s roads and trails. State legislators and transportation policy officials will also attend. The following are “Bicycling” transportation transformation recommendations to the County of Bergen to Considers as part of this Master Planning Exercise.
1. “Complete Streets” design on County Road Bike Lane Implementation.
2. Cyclist/motorist education
3. Three (3) Feet Passing and other Legislation
4. Creating bicycle-friendly communities in New Jersey.
5. Bicycles on Busses with NJ Transit.
6. More Bicycles on Mass transit Trains with NJ Transit. Bicycle Path interconnection from rail stations to points NSE&W.
7. More Bergen County retail establishments allowing Bicycling (i.e. Bicycle usage is against the law in the new Bergen Town Mall Property in Maywood). This needs to change!
8. Construction of feeder paths to the Rochelle Park/ Wood Ridge Mixed Use Path from all points NEW&S.
9. Implementation of a NYC style bicycling Master plan with Connection to the GW Bridge, Verazzano and Lincoln and Holland Tunnels from all points NSE&W.
10. Partner with Voorhees Bike Group at Rutgers to become the most progressive Bike County in NJ.
11. Encourage Municipalities to begin the bicycle path, trails and lane inter-connectivity studies. Use the TMAs and Google Maps/ DOT Analysis technology.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
- Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists
- Tim Blumenthal, Executive Director of Bikes Belong
- Jeff Miller, President/CEO of the Alliance for Biking and Walking
- Invited Speaker, Sheree Davis, Pedestrian & Bicycle Coordinator for NJDOT
Summit attendance is limited to 130 so early registration is encouraged. The registration fee is $40 for non-NJBC members and includes a one-year membership in the Coalition (NJBC members may register for $25). Lunch is included in the registration fee.
This is a PRE-REGISTRATION ONLY Event!
DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION IS 2/14/10 THERE WILL BE NO REGISTRATION AT THE DOOR
Also don't forget:
The League of American Bicyclists - National Bicycle Summit 2010
March 9-11 in Washington D.C.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
What is chilling about this one for me is that I predicted it.
You may recall back in August I wrote an article (Is Rt 35 south of Pt Pleasant "Shore to kill?) about the obvious and plentiful hazards facing pedestrians, bicyclist and drivers alike. However, during the quiet winter months and in broad daylight is not how I saw such a tragedy happening.
Please, let this be the last fatality of any type on this stretch of Rt 35.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Local champions are key to making our first generation suburbs bicycle friendly. Case in point is Collingswood Streets founder Stella Bonaparte who has completed a bike lane evaluation study for the borough of 17,000 in Camden County. Bonaparte looked at the existing conditions and a history of bicycle crashes on Haddon Ave and Collings Ave as well as parallel streets such as Maple Street and found that bike lanes are indeed feasible on both Haddon and Collings. Bicycle parking and access to the PATCO High Speed Line was also looked at.
View Larger Map
The intersection of Haddon and Collings Ave in Downtown Collingswood
Friday, November 20, 2009
This report was prepared as a graduation requirement for a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning at the Bloustein School at Rutgers University. It was written to help make the adequate service provided by NJ TRANSIT even better. Many of the ideas and observations in the report could easily be applied to other transit services.
This report is the sole product of the author with Prof. John Pucher providing editorial guidance.
Download the report (pdf. 2.71 megs. 47 pages) here.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
For some perspective, every state in the Deep South and even Texas has at least one Bicycle Friendly Community, with Virginia, Florida, North and South Carolina represented by three communities or more. Even Mississippi has one (Oxford)!
Somewhat oddly, New Jersey is far from alone in the Northeast. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland are all states without a BFC. The other four states are West Virginia, North Dakota, Nevada and Hawaii. However having just spent time up in Connecticut with other bike/ped advocates, I can tell you that they are likely to nominate at least one community next year.
If New Jersey has any hopes of maintaining it's Top 10 statewide ranking as a Bicycle Friendly State next year, it is clear that our state will need to pick up at least one, if not two or three Bicycle Friendly Communities by this time next year. Other states are starting to take the lead and we in New Jersey better start making progress on this very soon (applications are due Feb 19m 2010).
Possible candidates for easy nomination for BFC status are:
(Ranked by observed bicycle amenities that I've either read about or seen in person)
- Ocean City (Cape May)
- Hoboken (Hudson)
- Madison (Morris)
- Montclair (Essex)
- Princeton (Mercer)
- Avalon (Cape May)
- Collingswood (Camden)
- Morristown (Morris)
- Haddonfield (Camden)
- West Windsor (Mercer)
- Franklin (Somerset)
- Newark (Essex)
The wild-card in the bunch is clearly Newark, however the Brick City Bicycle Collective has been making great advocacy inroads in the city and region in the short six months they've been around. They had Mayor Cory Booker ride with them on their inaugural ride back in August and even have some elected members of the city government now wanting to make Newark the most bicycle friendly city in all of New Jersey!
What are your thoughts? Do you have any suggestions for other possible BFC candidates in New Jersey?
Monday, November 09, 2009
Advocates Call for a Statewide Complete Streets Policy
A new national report by Transportation for America and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership (http://t4america.org/resources/dangerousbydesign/) shows that 1 in 5 traffic deaths in New Jersey are pedestrians. The report finds:
- 22.1% of total traffic deaths in New Jersey are pedestrians.
- Only 0.5% of New Jersey’s federal transportation funds are spent on pedestrian infrastructure, an average of $0.47 per person.
- New Jersey ranks 48 th in the nation for federal spending on walking and biking.
- Children, older adults, disabled and low-income Americans are being killed at disproportionate rates and are subjected to the least safe walking conditions.
121 pedestrians have been killed in traffic collisions alone this year, a 33% increase over the same period in 2008. Local advocates said future deaths are preventable if the state changes transportation policies and funding practices.
“New Jersey State Department of Transportation has made strides in directing more resources to pedestrian safety, but a recent uptick in fatalities proves that it still has a ways to go,” said Ya-Ting Liu, federal advocate of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit policy watchdog organization. “The state could double its current federal allocation on pedestrian safety and it would still be spending less than it costs to buy a coffee from Starbucks per resident. This small investment will save lives and improve quality of life.”
The advocates called on New Jersey Department of Transportation, Governor-elect Christie and the State Legislature to:
- Pass a statewide complete streets policy that would require engineers design roads to accommodate the needs of all users any time a new road is built or an existing road is retrofitted.
- Designate 10% of federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and 10% of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funding for pedestrian safety programs.
- Increase funding for Safe Routes to School, Safe Routes to Transit and Safe Routes for Seniors, programs aimed at reducing traffic injuries and fatalities for schoolchildren, transit riders, and older residents.
“This report shows how we are systematically failing a large percentage of our population by designing roads without the needs of all users in mind. NJ needs a Complete Streets policy to ensure that roads are safe for all users, not just those behind the wheel,” said Peter Kasabach, Executive Director of NJ Future.
“Despite the grim statistics some officials still believe that traffic flow is more important than bicycle and pedestrian safety. It's time to put the most vulnerable road users at the top of the priority list by setting a goal of reducing bicycle and pedestrian traffic deaths by strategies that include traffic education, engineering and enforcement,” said John Boyle, Advocacy Director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and founding board member of WalkBikeJersey.
“Ensuring the streets are safe for people with disabilities ensures that the streets are safe for all people,” said Jennifer Halper, Senior Staff Attorney for Disability Rights New Jersey.
Friday, October 30, 2009
As part of next week's elections, Ballot Question One will ask New Jerseyans if the State should bond 400 million dollars to continue funding the New Jersey Green Acres and Farmland Preservation programs. Previous voter approved bond funds managed by Green Acres and Farmland Preservation have been used to assist in the preservation of the 1.2 million acres of parkland and 180,000 acres of farmland in New Jersey. As cycling and pedestrian advocates you might be asking, "How does preserved land help our cause?" Well, let me suggest a number of ways that it does.
#1 - Preserving land and protecting it from development prevents sprawl in New Jersey's scenic areas. Some of my favorite places to take a recreation road ride are full of beautiful farms and scenic vistas. In these areas much of the land that I pass by is protected from development. Not only does this keep the scenery beautiful but since population densities are kept low, the roads that pass through these areas remain quiet with very low traffic volumes, perfect for cycling. And again it can't be said enough, these areas are just plain beautiful and a real pleasure to cycle through.
and much of the forest on Sourland Mountain in the distance are protected from development.
#2 - Many preserved lands become places to hike and mountain bike. (Not much else to say here.)
Township in Morris County (didn't have a real mountain biking or hiking photo available).
#3 - Removing the development potential from land far from municipal services prevents car dependent development where nothing can reasonably be reached by foot or bicycle like schools or parks. Also, taking these lands out of "circulation" can, in theory, help focus development back into city and town centers where amenities already exist and are easily accessible by non-motorized means.
less than 5 minutes walk from Trenton's new, world-class train station.
#4 - Parkland that is preserved today can be used as vital links in building future transportation trails. Using pre-existing parks are often a way that trail planners can get a trail through an urban or otherwise densely developed area. This is how much of the East-Coast Greenway is being routed through Northeastern New Jersey.
#5 - Finally while admittedly not directly in line with the thesis of this article, in New Jersey, Green Acres moneys are often directly used to improve the pedestrian environment in pre-existing towns, like with the Morristown Green and Bay View Park in Perth Amboy. It has been long understood that urban open-spaces, as long as they are properly maintained, greatly improve the quality of life of pedestrian oriented cities and towns.
While this all may sound like a promotion to support the bond initiative next week, there is no intent either way. I just want people to be aware of the interplay between preserved lands and the quality of walking and biking, particularly with the bond coming up for a vote next week. Rejection of the bond initiative may actually be a good thing. If the bond is rejected, due to the political popularity of the Green Acres and Farmland Preservation programs, legislators may finally be forced to find a different funding source for land preservation, preferably one that has a dedicated source of annual revenue.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Our group encompasses a wide range of interests (bike commuters, residents who walk/shop downtown, fitness cyclists, etc.). While there are many facets of pedestrian and cyclist safety, we are first organizing around getting safe routes to schools for Red Bank's kids. Via NJDOT grant funding available through the national Safe Routes to Schools program, we believe that we can achieve a signed network of safe routes that connect the west side of Red Bank to the east side. This safe flow of pedestrian and cyclist traffic is important on many levels, not the least of which is that it would allow most any kid in Red Bank to get to most any school.
View Safe Routes to School in a larger map
And according to a press release they had their first organizational meeting on Wednesday, October 21.
The formation of Red Bank Safe Routes is a reaffirmation to us at WalkBikeJersey of the pent up demand New Jersey residents have for wanting to live in communities where they, their children and elderly can safely walk and bike. Places like Red Bank were planned to be compact walkable communities where the car was a luxury and not a necessity. Fortunately for us, New Jersey has many places like Red Bank, built before the needs of the automobile dominated the way the American landscape would be developed. Like those residents in Red Bank and elsewhere throughout or state, all we need to do is just reclaim a little of that roadway space (much of it wasted anyway) back from the automobile.
Best of luck Red Bank Safe Routes!
Monday, October 19, 2009
The first is a wonderful, *NEW*, 5 minute short about Kerri Martin (WalkBikeJersey's official president BTW) and her Bike Church down in Asbury Park. The new video from Brian Johnson, released earlier this month really gives you an idea of the transformation effect the bicycle and Kerri's efforts at the Bike Church have had on children growing up in an urban environment where kids often face many problems.
Also is this 2007 production about Kerri and the Bike Church that is pretty much in the same vein as the newer video and is also just around 5 minutes.
Final there is this superb vintage bicycle education video out of the Oakland, California by Progressive Pictures (I kid you not!). It is supposedly from to 1948 but many (comments on YouTube) think its newer, from the 1950's and I tend to agree (look at the cars). I think it's very well done and almost all of the information and lessons given are excellent and still apply today. However, most of the lessons given in the "riding at night" section have been outmoded by advances in technology. There are also some great stunt crashes, some done by children that all managed to walk away with a smile, despite the lack of a helmet! It's geared toward kids but there are adults in the film and the lessons are given in a way that appeals to audiences of all ages.
Anyway I notice a couple of other interesting things that may be of interest to us "livable streets" types. First, did you notice the 15mph speed limit. It is my understanding that they are still considered illegal in most places including New Jersey (DON'T quote me on that). Second are parking space markings on the roadway that are nearly identical to the ones used in the Bay Area today. They are crosses that have a branch that extends out into the traffic lane. These are still in use out in California because (or so I believe) the branch that extends out into the street acts as a guide to cyclists to stay out of the door zone, like that shown below on this street in San Francisco. Oh well. Everything comes around a second time I guess and hopefully for the better.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We at WalkBikeJersey congratulate Montclair for being the first municipality or county in New Jersey, that we are aware of, to make such progress regarding Complete Streets. However, New Jersey still has a long way to go with regards to this and other bicycle and pedestrian safety initiatives.
As reported earlier, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, NJ Future, along with our friends at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and at AARP New Jersey are pushing for a state level Complete Streets policy. We support them in their efforts as this is a critical policy that must move forward if the needs bicyclists and pedestrians are to advance here in New Jersey.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
A Complete Streets policy would direct transportation agencies to design for walkers, bicyclists, motor vehicles, and transit riders and vehicles whenever a road is constructed or reconstructed. Tri-State Transportation Campaign has already successfully campaigned for complete streets legislation in Connecticut.
Read the press release and the NJ Future announcement.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thanks to everyone who attended the bike and lunch on Saturday, October 3rd in Montclair, organized by WalkBikeJersey and Bike and Walk Montclair. A handful of riders met on at Edgemont Park on a cool drizzly morning to ride around town with Mayor Jerry Fried on newly striped shoulders and talk about the trade-offs between shoulders and bike lanes, the proposed municipal complete streets policy (
After the ride we met up at Nauna's Bella Casa for some lunch and discussion, and were joined by some more people who arrived after the ride. Our far-ranging discussion covered issues such as driver education, bike access on transit, bike and pedestrian access on bridges, bike parking and municipal bike parking policies, and youth bike skills education. We also identified needs relating to local advocacy:
- helping local advocates organize and apply for grants
- helping local advocates share information with each other on what works
- bringing greater racial and cultural diversity to the community
- engaging and gaining the support of bike shop owners
- Is there a way for a statewide group to act as an umbrella organization for local groups, to apply for grants to fund local groups, or to hire a paid staff person to assist multiple advocacy groups?
- How can we facilitate communication between people working on bicycle and pedestrian issues across the state (listserv, directory, wiki, bike summit)?