Thursday, October 25, 2012

Princeton wins Bicycle Friendly University Bronze Award

It's been a busy and truly monumental past couple of days here in New Jersey on the bicycle advocacy front.  Finally after years of work New Jersey now has three Bicycle Friendly Communities, well engineered and well executed on-street bicycle lanes and sharrows have been installed in New Brunswick (more on that soon), and now comes word that Princeton University has been given a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly University award.

Princeton's efforts were even highlighted in yesterday's press release from the League:
At Princeton, also a Bronze BFU, new students get information about bicycling in their welcome packets, introducing them to the large network of campus paths, weekly bike maintenance classes, plentiful bike parking, free bike locks and the wide array of U-Bikes and CycLab programs and events.  

"Princeton is honored to become part of the Bicycle Friendly University program," said Andrea DeRose of the University's Transportation & Parking Services. "The University encourages biking as an efficient mode of transportation for faculty, staff and students -- and strives to increase the number of bicycle-related facilities and bicycle-related polices on campus."

Congratulations to Princeton for being the only University in New Jersey and in the Philadelphia and New York Metro area (Yale is a little far to be included) to be awarded the honor so far. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NJ Bike & Walk Coalition will be at Philly Bike Expo this weekend

The 2012 Philly Bike Expo is coming up this weekend! Both the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition will be in attendance.  Stop by their booths both Saturday and Sunday for t-shirts, info, maps, memberships, stickers, and other schwag and charm.

This two-day event is happening again at the 23rd Street Armory (22 S. 23rd St, Philadelphia PA).

Ticket available at the door, at Eastern Mountain Sports stores, and in advance online.

For us Jersey folks, if you never been to this show before you are truly missing out.  This edition will have over 80 exhibitors including several from Jersey and 25 seminars.  It's tons of fun for any bicycle junky.

And don't forget the seminars!  Our friends at the BCGP will be participating in the following (in Griffin Hall, located nearby in First Unitarian Church):
  • The Circuit, Saturday, 10-10:45 am. The Circuit, our region's burgeoning trail network. Learn which trails are coming soon, what issues are preventing critical segments from being built, and how you can get involved.
  • Sunday from 3:00 - 4:45 pm, The Women's Roundtable.

Ben Franklin Ramp Design Contract Is A Major Victory In A Long Campaign

Originally posted on Greater Philadelphia Bicycle News by our friends at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

This week the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) Board of Commissioners gave the go-ahead on the design phase of the Ben Franklin Bridge walkway ramp project. The engineering firm, Amman and Whitney was awarded the $598,000 contract to design the walkway. Before the vote, DRPA Chief Engineer Mike Venuto stated that the project will include public meetings during the design process. The optimistic timeline is 2013 for design and 2014 for construction if funds are made available.

The saga of the Ben Franklin Bridge walkway goes all the back to the Bicycle Coalition's earliest days. Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition member Bob Thomas led a successful campaign in 1973 to reopen the bridge walkway that had been closed due to the Korean War (yes, you read that correctly). After the walkway was closed for construction in 2000, the Bicycle Coalition and DVRPC negotiated with the DRPA to establish an alternating north and south walkway closure policy.

Making this view possible without ascending 3 vertiginous sets of metal stairs
There were more closures to come. Four weeks after the September 11th attacks, the DRPA ordered a walkway shutdown after KYW-TV's Paul Moriarity broadcast a report speculating about the walkways' vulnerability to a terrorist attack. Moriarity emailed the Coalition stating that the motive of the report was to have the bridge walkway actively patrolled, not closed. Negotiations and a public outcry forced the hand of the Authority and the walkway was reopened in December 2001.

But it was the one month closure after the London Bombings in July 2005, along with several incidents of bridge users being trapped on the bridge after the gates were locked, that spurred BCGP volunteers Matthew Anastasi and Jim Kriebel to form a Ben Franklin Bridge walkway committee. Their goals were to obtain full access to the bridge and the construction of an ADA accessible ramp. After several meetings with no movement, DRPA finally added the ramp into the 2008 5-year Capital Improvement Program.

The home stretch wasn't smooth. In 2011, the Authority suffered a public relations crisis related to a 20% bridge toll hike. The Board felt the pressure of "unnecessary expenses" and deferred ramp project in the 2011 and 2012 programs. A coalition of advocates, Camden-based businesses, nonprofits, and elected officials pressed back, and got the decision reversed in early 2012.

Over the years, a thawing relationship between the Authority and walkway users has yielded improvements to access: hours have been extended, winter weather closures have shortened, and new security cameras are being added. The ramp project, however, is the first big expenditure from the Authority's Capital Budget to make the bridge walkway more accessible for all users. We will be following the progress of the project and notify you when public meetings are scheduled.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hoboken AND Ocean City awarded Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community Awards

Last week the League of American Bicyclists announced its Fall 2012 Bicycle Friendly Communities award winner.  Both Hoboken and Ocean City were awarded Bronze BFC status and join West Windsor that also won Bronze in 2011 giving New Jersey three Bicycle Friendly Communities.

Hoboken's award has been received by New Jersey's bike/ped community with much acclaim and rightfully so.  The City of Hoboken has been aggressive by putting in 8 miles of bikes lanes which covers 25% of the total street mileage and greatly expanding bike parking.

However, Ocean City's award is equally important and should not be overlooked.  Ocean City has been on the cutting edge of bicycle accommodation, even on a national level for a number of years now (1, 2)  and likely could have won BFC status several years ago.  But that's not stopping Ocean City from moving forward.  OC is working to extend their bikeway network beyond Haven Avenue, New Jersey's only bicycle boulevard.  They are installing in street bicycle parking and planning an expansion of the bicycle boulevard towards the north end of the island.  Take a look at one of the cool things Ocean City had been doing for years now.

It should be noted that both cities have complete streets policies.

Congratulations go to both Hoboken and Ocean City in joining West Windsor.  We at WalkBikeJersey knew long ago that you had it in you and hope that more New Jersey Communities are inspired by your accomplishments.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Medford Township Passes A Complete Streets Policy

Medford Township has become the first municipality in Burlington County to pass a complete streets resolution. Congratulations Medford!

October 16, 2012


RESOLUTION   132-2012

Establishing a Complete Streets Policy

            WHEREAS, the Township of Medford is committed to creating street and roadway corridors that safely accommodate all street and road users of all abilities; and
WHEREAS, the Township Council supports this “complete streets” initiative and desires to reinforce its commitment to creating a comprehensive, integrated, connected street and road network that safely accommodates all street and road users of all abilities for all trips; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Medford that the Township hereby supports the “complete streets” initiative by making it Township policy that all public street and road projects, both new construction and reconstruction (excluding maintenance) undertaken by the Township of Medford shall be designed whenever feasible and subject to Council approval to do so in order to safely accommodate travel by pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit, and motorized vehicles and their passengers, with special priority given to pedestrian safety, subject to the following conditions:

A.  Pedestrian and bicycle facilities shall not be required where they are prohibited by law.
B.  Public transit facilities shall not be required on streets or roads not serving transit routes and the desirability of transit facilities will be determined on a project specific basis.
C.  In any project, should the cost of pedestrian, bicycle, and/or public transit facilities cause an increase in project cost exceeding 5% as determined by engineering estimates, that would have to be funded with local tax dollars, then, and in that event, approval by Council shall be obtained for the same prior to bidding the project.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of a Resolution adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Medford, at a meeting held on the 16th day of October, 2012.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DRPA To Vote On Walkway Ramp Design Contract Wednesday

Originally posted on Greater Philadelphia Bicycle News by our friends at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

The ramp will make this no longer necessary
On Wednesday October 17th the Delaware River Port Authority will be voting on the design contract for the Ben Franklin Bridge walkway ramp. Ammann and Whitney, a firm specializing in bridge construction, has been tentatively selected to complete the design work in a 9 month timeline.

If you have supported the saga that is this ramp, we encourage you to attend this meeting on your way to work Wednesday morning. We want to remind DRPA that there is public support for this project, and that support wants to see it completed in a timely fashion.

DRPA Board of Commissioners Meeting
Wednesday October 17th 
9:00 - 10:00 AM
11th Floor
One Port Center Two Riverside Dr
Camden, NJ

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Save the Date: MAP-21 Conference in New Jersey

The following comes to WalkBikeJersey from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Months after the passage of a federal transportation bill, local communities, advocates, states, and even Washington are still sorting out what the new law means. To ease the transition and make sure that the legislation is used to create a more sustainable transportation network, Tri-State and Transportation for America are hosting Mapping It Out: A User’s Guide to MAP-21, an event for government officials, advocates, and the general public. The conference, which is being held at Rutgers’ College Avenue Campus on October 17th, will:
  • Explain the new federal transportation bill;
  • Help government officials and advocates understand what they need to do to ensure that the law is implemented well; and
  • Give a preview of upcoming federal decisions affecting transportation, from important upcoming deadlines to the work necessary to make the next transportation bill better than the current one.
Transportation for America Director James Corless and Policy Director Nick Donohue will both speak at the event.

Mapping It Out will be held from 9 am-12:30 pm in the Brower Commons Conference Room at Rutgers’ College Avenue Campus (145 College Avenue, New Brunswick, New Jersey). The event is free of charge, but attendees must RSVP to