Thursday, February 03, 2011

Bike JC sets goals for 2011 at Tuesday's meeting

Fourteen intrepid bicycling soles braved the cold and ice on Tuesday evening and made it out to Zeppelin Hall in Jersey City for Bike JC's first meeting of the new year.  Even I made my way all the way up to Jersey City to see what these good folks are up to.  Their meeting boiled down to a number of key items.

Bike JC is looking into filing for 501(c)(3) status.  Currently they are just a loose gathering of like-minded people looking to improve the state of cycling in Jersey City.  As part of this they are also investigating whether or not they should become a League of American Bicyclists affiliated club, notably for the insurance LAB provides its affiliated clubs for liability incurred during officially sanctioned bike rides.

Bike JC would like to do more bicycle education in association with the Hudson TMA.  As part of this goal, one (if not more) of Bike JC's members became an LCI by attending the LCI training seminar in Hoboken last fall hosted by Hudson TMA.

Another issue discussed was the need for more and better bike parking throughout the city.  One place of particular concern was the plaza at the Grove Street PATH Station.  First, the bicycle parking at this location is facilitated with an APBP non-compliant style of bike rack and there simply isn't enough bike parking to meet demand.  To compound this problem at this location (and others) there are many abandoned bicycles taking up precious space.  Beyond the Grove Street Station, Bike JC would like to see the city come up with a general bicycle parking plan and start installing bicycle racks throughout the city.  This is taking on great urgency at this moment in time as Jersey City is removing their traditional parking meters, long a highly secure default bicycle parking option, with "muni style" parking pay stations.

Along with this, there was a general curiosity about the PA of NY/NJ with regards towards their policies about bicycles.  While all were aware of the PA's statement regarding the inclusion of bicyclists needs in future projects and policies, many wanted to know when that would amount to actual changes, particularly with access to PATH trains and bicycle parking at the stations.

By far most of the discussion focused on possible Bike to Work Week activities this May along with "Ward Tour 2.0."  While it sounded like Bike to Work Week activities may have to be put off this time around, there was much excitement and talk about repeating and exceeding the success of last years inaugural Ward Tour.  Last year over 530 bicyclists came out to see what Jersey City has to offer.  This year's event is likely to be held on either Sunday May 16th (but don't quote me on this), the day before Bike to Work Week and Bike JC would like to see this years event far surpass last years success.
A scene from "Ward Tour 1.0".  Image: Bike JC
Finally, the leaders at Bike JC said that they want to see some tangible bicycle safety improvements installed in the city before the end of the year.  This may be ambitious but it is a noble goal to aspire to.  There is excess road capacity between the curb lines on a multitude of city arterial streets, as many in Bike JC are readily aware.  And beyond the arterials, the traditional grid network of the city makes many side streets ideal alternatives.  Jersey City has a great deal of potential as a bicycling town and Bike JC members would like to see a first concrete (pun intended) step towards that reality before years end.

Overall, I was very encouraged by what I saw at Bike JC's meeting this past Tuesday.  They are a well organized and capable group with a good amount of "on the saddle" streetsmarts.  I look forward to seeing how they progress this year with their goals and will make a point of attending their Ward Tour 2.0

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