Friday, August 31, 2012

Newark's Irvine Turner Blvd gets a road diet and bike lane

New bikes lanes and a road diet are almost complete on Irvine Turner Blvd in Newark south of West Market St. These bike lanes are conventional, well designed and provide the first usable north / south route for the less than bold and fearless bicyclists wishing to travel from University Heights and the Downtown to the Weequahic section of Newark and towns to the south. The finishing touches are not done yet but the lanes are already very useful for even this bold but not exactly fearless bicyclist  (I rode them yesterday.  So much better!).

Irvine Turner was a designated permanent on-street route for the East Coast Greenway years ago and route signs have been in place on the street for several years.  This is a great example of how a route designation by the East Coast Greenway has been the catalyst for bicycle (and pedestrian) amenity construction.  Hopefully here in Newark, the likely success of this bike lane and road diet will prove to local leaders of the viability of the road diet / bike lane combo.  This simple and well proven street design could be reproduced on at least a half dozen major streets in the city, if not more.  And is Essex County there are at least a dozen more potential applications for this facility design.

Also, construction should begin very soon on a revamp of Broadway that will include some interesting innovations new to New Jersey.

Go Newark!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cyclist Right Hooked and Killed by a Tractor Trailer in Brick

On Thursday morning Suresh Magan was struck and killed by a tractor trailer turning right off westbound Route 88 onto Coolidge Dr in Brick. Magan appears to have been riding with traffic and was crossing the intersection on the green along with the truck.

View Larger Map

The Street View image at this urban intersection shows some serious problems. Notice that the stop bar is marked right at the corner with no crosswalk or connecting sidewalks. At the very minimum moving the stop bar back 10 feet from the intersection and painting the crosswalk would only require some paint. A better more comprehensive solution would be to construct a bike box.

In Northern Europe where truck and bicycle collisions make up a substantial percentage of urban cycling fatalities countermeasures have been taken to ameliorate the truck/bike conflict. such the requirement of fitting truck mirrors to cover blind spots, bike safety education courses to drivers and in Copenhagen LED warning devices to warn truckers of approaching cyclists.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of Suresh Magan let's hope that Brick Township and NJ DOT take a look at bike and pedestrian safety improvements along this well traveled bike route.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tell Governor Christie To Save Rec Trails Funding

From the Rails to Trails Conservency:

Save the Recreational Trails Program! The hugely popular, cost-efficient Recreational Trails Program (RTP) has endured multiple attacks over its 20-year history. Most recently, it faced elimination during the drafting of the new transportation bill MAP-21, but thankfully a bipartisan effort led by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) was successful in preserving the program.

But, there's a catch.

Governors can choose to opt out of the program for their state, thereby reallocating these funds to other programs that were not the intended recipients, and ultimately failing to invest in the critical programs your state needs to generate economic activity, attract tourists and encourage people to get outdoors and be active.

Governor Christie has until September 1st to decide if New Jersey will opt out of the Rec Trails Program. Meanwhile in Pennsylvania Governor Corbett has agreed to not opt out, let's follow suit in NJ.

Contact the Governor Today

Here is a list of 2010 projects using Rec Trails funding in New Jersey

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The case for supporting bicycle tourism

At the end of the nation's most popular recreational bike ride, much of it in New Jersey, a business thrives.  Every weekend hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of exotic speed machines can be found parked outside he Runcible Spoon Cafe' in Nyack NY.  People who can afford to spend this amount of money on vehicle without a motor have money to spare and spend where they frequent. 
The New York Times explores this phenomenon in this article in the August 9th edition.

Dozens of high end road bikes along with a fun loving cyclist "occupy" a single parking space in front of the Runcible Spoon is Nyack NY back in 2008.  Photo - Jenn Benepe

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Atlantic City Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Open House Tonight

If you live, work or visit Atlantic City then you are welcome to attend and comment on the City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan at the open house tonight August 14th at the Atlantic City Convention Center/Train Station from 5 to 8PM in Room 314.

Atlantic City has one the highest bicycle/walk/transit commute mode shares in the State with a high pedestrian crash rate. Since 1980 drive up Casino development has dominated the  landscape of the City and little was done to protect the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. While some enhancements have been completed in "The Walk" shopping district, Michigan, Atlantic, Arctic and Baltic Avenues cut through the busy shopping districts as multi-lane roads which encourage high speeds. Right turn on red is also allowed at most of those intersections, further exacerbating a chaotic situation.

For bicycling there are two major proposals planned - 24 bike access on the non-commercial north end of the boardwalk along with a complimentary on street loop plus a proposed lane reduction of Atlantic Avenue with buffered bike lanes or cycle track added. What we will be looking for in the plan is a network of bike routes that will connect all the neighborhoods and the surrounding communities, such as improving access to the Brigantine Bridge.

Details and graphics from the meeting as well as instructions to comment on the plan will be posted on the Active Transportation for Atlantic City Facebook Page. AC's Bike and Ped plan is the first one in the State that is being completed after the Municipality has passed a complete streets resolution. Implementation of the plan is a litmus test to see if the City is ready to walk the walk towards complete streets.

Atlantic City Statistics:

Commute To Work
Transit - 27%
Walk - 16%
Bike - 2%

Vehicular Crashes 2011 - 2,307

Complete Streets Policy resolution passed on December 7, 2011

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

People for Bikes "If I Ride" video seen on major network TV

It was in the wee hours of the morning.  The 4:30am edition of WABC Eyewitness News was already on.  Dealing with a bout of insomnia I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I had to do a double take!

But low and behold there it was.  The People for Bikes "If I Ride" video was on major network TV asking all that would see it in the Metro New York area to make the pledge for a better future for cycling in America.  You should too!

Enjoy the video below if you haven't seen it before.  It was edited for a 30 second TV spot and the narration ends right before you hear "If I ride, I can wear Spandex like Spiderman,"  (Thank God they cut it off before that line!).

Please take note of what real bicycle amenities look like, as every scene in this video was shot in Portland.