Saturday, December 31, 2011

Walt Disney World - The Jekyll and Hyde of Complete Streets

How many of you have been to to Walt Disney World? Did you rent or bring your bike? Probably not. An enormous transport system of monorails, buses and boats will get you around the sprawling complex but don't count on walking or biking.

The Google Maps team has brought out much of the Walt Disney World's disconnected walking and biking paths into the light.What's interesting is that many of the resort areas offer bike rentals for use on their internal path networks.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

East Coast Greenway Alliance announces major advancement in New Jersey

The East Coast Greenway Alliance made this announcement in its December Newsletter about a major breakthrough that has closed the gap between Newark and Jersey City.

The largest gap in the alignment of the East Coast Greenway as it passes through New Jersey has just been completed! For the first time, pedestrians can walk along sidewalks between Jersey City and Newark – two of New Jersey’s largest cities.  New Jersey Department of Transportation recently constructed sidewalk along the ECG alignment of Truck Route 1 & 9 in Newark and Kearny. This links Lincoln Park in Jersey City, across Kearny, through the Ironbound section of Newark to Newark’s Penn Station. There are already ECG wayfinding signs in place the rest of the way across New Jersey, between Newark and Trenton.

Now that this new segment of sidewalk is available, ECG travelers will finally be able to travel 100% of the way across New Jersey under their own power – no trains needed! There is still advocacy work to do as we continue to improve this important secion of the Greenway. However, this is a huge step forward as there is finally a continuous sidewalk network between Newark and Jersey City for everyone to use!

The above was written by Mike Dannemiller, East Coast Greenway Alliance  New Jersey State Committee Co-Chair

Thursday, December 22, 2011

DVRPC awards vast majority of $5.2 million in trails moneys to PA communities

Much of the following is taken from a recent post from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia's, Bicycle News.

In late October, the Delaware Valley Region Planning Commission awarded $5.2 million through Phase I of its Regional Trails Program.  This grant program is funded by $10 Million from the William Penn Foundation, and provided money to eighteen projects around the 9 county Delaware Valley region.  However, of those eighteen projects, only two are in New Jersey and account for only $373,000 of the $5.2 million awarded, less than 7.2% of the grant money available.  While this money is available equally to counties and municipalities in both states, the massive bias towards Pennsylvania is because New Jersey communities are simply not applying for the grants.  According to John Boyle of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, "New Jersey communities are failing to come forward and apply for money to build trails in the past few years.  Kudos to Camden County/Coopers Ferry Partnership and Mercer County/Friends of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail for taking the opportunity to expand their trail networks."

These initiatives include both trail design and trail construction in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They extend existing trails, including the Schuylkill River Trail in Phoenixville, the Chester Valley Trail near Exton, and the East Coast Greenway in Tullytown. They connect the existing and planned elements of the regional trail network to neighborhoods through projects like the Baldwin's Run Tributary Trail in Camden and the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail in Lawrence. Finally, these grants support several landmark projects, including the Manayunk Bridge Trail that will provide a cross-river connection between Philadelphia and Lower Merion Township and serve as a destination for bikers and walkers from across the region.

The awards to trail projects include:
  • Reading to Hamburg Schuylkill River Trail Gap (Leesport section) – $142,630 (design and construction) – Berks County
  • Big Woods/Schuylkill-Hopewell Furnace Trail – $500,000 (construction – Phase 1, survey – Phase 2) – Berks and Chester Counties – Berks County
  • Neshaminy Creek Greenway (Phase I) -- $130,148 (construction) – Bucks County
  • US Route 13 Crossing – $471,000 (construction) – Bucks County
  • Baldwin’s Run Tributary Trail – $150,000 (design) – Camden County
  • Chester Valley Trail Phase III – $500,000 (construction) – Chester County
  • Phoenixville Schuylkill River Trail Segment – Phase I -- $285,000 (design and construction) – Chester County
  • Darby Creek Trail -- $290,000 (construction) – Delaware County
  • Lawrence-Hopewell Trail: Lewisville Road Section -- $248,000 (construction) – Mercer County
  • Chester Valley Trail Extension – $325,000 (construction) – Montgomery County
  • Canal Towpath Spillway Bridge – $170,000 (construction) – Montgomery County
  • Tacony Frankford Greenway Trail – $500,000 (construction) – Philadelphia
  • Penn Street Trail – $500,000 (design and construction) – Philadelphia
  • Schuylkill Crossing at Grays Ferry – $260,000 (preliminary design) – Philadelphia
In addition, the DVRPC Board today approved $125,000 in funding for Camden County’s Kaighn’s Avenue to Route 130 Connector Trail. This project was one of four “early action” projects originally approved for $50,000 of funding in July 2011. The grant has since been revised to $125,000. The other three early action projects were:
  • Manayunk Bridge -- $400,000 (design) – Philadelphia
  • Spring Garden Street Greenway – $75,000 (design) – Philadelphia
  • Schuylkill South -- $165,000 (acquisition for future extension of waterfront trail) – Philadelphia
In mid-December, DVRPC received applications for Phase II of the program, for projects that were seeking planning and feasibility funding. Those awards are expected to be announced in early 2012.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Peters Brook Greenway Bridge over Rt 202/206 nearly complete

A multi-use bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Rt 202/206, which will be a critical part of the Peters Brook Greenway, is nearing completion.  Late in November, the prefabricated steal truss bridge was finally put into place marking a critical moment and the final stages of this project.  Located on the northwest of edge of Somerville, a quarter mile north of the Somerville Circle and just south of Rt 22, it is hoped that this bridge will provide bicyclists and pedestrians a critical crossing over Routes 202/206 in this congested area that is the junction of numerous highways.  A week or two ago, construction workers were seen pouring the concrete running surface onto the bridge structure and it would seem that all that remains to be done before the bridge is opened is to install protective railings on the ramps, stairs and the bridge itself.

View Peters Brook Greenway - Approximate Route in a larger map

Started in July of 2010, this $3.6 million project will be an extension of the Peters Brook Greenway that runs through Somerville and will one day provide a connection to Bridgewater-Raritan High School on Garretson Road in Bridgewater. The primary reason behind this project is to provide a safe crossing over Rts 202/206 that is NOT provided at the Somerville Circle or any other place within a reasonable distance.

More pictures of the project after the jump.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

DRPA approves budget without Ben Franlin ADA ramp

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
The Board of Directors of the Delaware River Port Authority approved the 2012 Capital Program without the ramp as expected and as is the custom, took public comments only at the end of the meeting.

However advocates from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia got a good amount of press.  Helicopter video of the 10 cyclists on the bridge was seen on Fox 29 and NBC 10. People watching the TV news said the shots were tight which made the group look bigger.

Online press coverage can be found in the below links:
When it came time to vote on the resolution for $20 million in economic development project (DRPA has been slammed repeatedly...

Bloustein students proposed bicycle network and other ideas for Rutgers / New Brunswick

What might a bicycle network look like for Rutgers University and the City of New Brunswick look like? Graduate students at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy took on this question as part of Prof. John Pucher’s, Biking and Walking for Sustainable Cities Class. Students took a look at a number of issues including, bike share, turning Rutgers into a Bicycle Friendly University, a community bicycle center like Recycle-A-Bicycle and Second Life Bikes to name a few.

The other presentations I saw talked about:
  • How to motivate people to walk and bike more, 
  • Redesigning Livingston Ave (a primary access route to New Brunswick from the south),
  • A look at the safety improvements and controversy with the Prospect Park West Cycletrack

Included below are several images of the one major presentation that investigated a New Brunswick bicycle network designed to maximize the connectivity between university campuses while connecting to the French Street commercial corridor (Note: I give the students credit for trying some innovative bike lane treatments however I must say that I do have some concerns with the finer points of some of the design treatments).  For those mega bike wonks there is a link to video of the presentation (webinare style) but I don't have that link available as I publish.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hoboken Installs First Bike Repair Station, Doubles Bike Racks Near PATH

The following is reproduced from the official Hoboken City news blog and is published here as a public service.  WalkBikeJersey will do an independent review of these new amenities in Hoboken the next time one our "staff" are in the city.  All photos are attributed to the City of Hoboken.

Hoboken, NJ - Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
First buffered bike lane installed; Bike sharing program planned

The City of Hoboken has installed its first self-service bike repair station, becoming one of the first municipalities on the east coast with a public bike repair facility. The City has also doubled the number of bike racks near the PATH. The more than 30 new bike racks are available for sponsorship by businesses or residents and will be acknowledged with an engraved plaque adjacent to the bike rack.

“Our streets are public spaces that belong to everyone, not just cars,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Every Hoboken resident is a pedestrian, and more than ever, they are also riding bikes to get around. This expansion of our bicycle infrastructure demonstrates our strong commitment to making Hoboken more bike-friendly.”

The bike repair service station behind the Bus Terminal adjacent to the PATH has a stand to hold a bike, a hand-operated air pump, and basic tools including wrenches, screw drivers, and tire lever for minor repairs. The bike racks and bike repair station are part of pedestrian and cycling improvements to Hudson Place that began with construction of expanded and rebuilt sidewalks and bump-outs. Street furniture and planters are also planned for Hudson Place.

Through the City’s bike rack sponsorship program, businesses and residents can sponsor the bike racks near the PATH or can sponsor the installation of a new bike rack outside their storefront or other location. New bike repair stations can also be sponsored. The first new bike rack near the PATH has already been sponsored, and the City is seeking sponsors for the remaining racks. Interested residents or businesses should submit the bicycle rack donation form found at:

Earlier in the week, the City striped its first “buffered” bike lane along a segment of Clinton Street that was recently repaved between 15th and 16th Streets. The bike lane, which will be extended along all of Clinton Street, represents the first segment of 10 miles of new planned bike lanes along wider streets throughout Hoboken.

“Bike lanes aren’t just for bikes,” added Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs. “They are a critical tool in reducing vehicle speeds and improving pedestrian safety. Our bike lanes have been demonstrated to reduce speeds by an average of 4 miles per hour, greatly lowering the chance of fatality in the case of a collision with a pedestrian.”

The City is also working in conjunction with the Hudson Transportation Management Association towards implementing a city-wide bike-sharing system. More information on bicycling-related initiatives, rules, and regulations can be found at

Thursday, December 08, 2011

New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit coming to New Brunswick

Registration Opened!

The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition is pleased to announce that the 2012 NJ BikeWalk Summit will be held on February 25, 2012 in New Brunswick, NJ. The event will be hosted by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center which is in the Edward J. Bloustein School at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  Co-hosts will be the Central Jersey Bicycle Club who will lead a tour of New
Brunswick with NJBWC LCIs.

Registration is open for the Summit and cost will be as follows:

December 7, 2011 through January 15, 2012:
$50 – Individual
$25 – Student

January 16, 2012 through February 22, 2012:
$55 – Individual
$25 – Student

If space remains after on-line and mail registration closes, you may register at the door at a cost of $65 (no student discount)

You may register on-line here.  To register by mail, send a check made out to the “New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition” to NJBWC, P.O. Box 843, Mahwah, NJ  07430.

Note that registration for the 2012 NJ Bike & Walk Summit will bring you either a one-year membership in the Coalition or an extension of any current membership!

The  agenda for the Summit is currently being developed but you can check the website and future editions of the newsletter for announcements.  There will be concurrent sessions during the day.  Bring friends and cover them all!  There will also be a mix of presentations, workshops and discussions designed to help you get things done in your own communities and in your state.  Valuable information for all!

Sponsors Wanted!!
Sponsorship of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit can be valuable exposure for your company or service, and will reach well beyond the 150 or so who will actually be there on the day.  If you are interested in reaching a diverse, educated, and affluent market of bicycle and walking advocates and professionals, sponsorship of the Summit may be for you. You can find information on sponsorship opportunities here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

DRPA to bicyclists: The Ben Franklin Bridge is not for you

The following article comes to us again from our friends at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and is reprinted here with their permission.  In addition to what the BCGP has to say, a December 6th Courier Post article tells of  $30 million the DRPA is giving away for projects that have absolutely nothing to do with transportation.  And while $20 million of that will be spent on worthy causes in New Jersey, its ridiculous for the DRPA to be giving this money away when there numerous pending transportation projects in their purvey that need funding, particularly the promised bicycle ramp on the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden.

BTW - I was at the end of that queue of 250 riders
shown in the bottom photograph waiting to cross the bridge.  We had to wait for of 50 minutes till all the other cyclists labored to push their bikes up the stair ramps.

John Matheussen in 2010, promising to build the ramp
Today, with no opportunity for public comment, the Delaware River Port Authority's Finance Committee approved a draft Capital Program that reneges on their promise to design and build capital project BF1101: an ADA accessible ramp on the Camden side of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Sign this petition to send DRPA's Board a message: HONOR YOUR PROMISES - BUILD THE RAMP!

As we reported in January, funds designated in the 2011 draft budget to design the ramp were eliminated when the DRPA Board decided to delay all projects that did not directly involve public safety. This action was taken despite a public promise by Chief Executive Officer John J. Matheussen at the July 2010 Board meeting that DRPA would build the ramp in 2012.

The current entrance on the Camden side - inaccessible
for pedestrians w/disabilities and bicycle unfriendly.
The DPRA Finance Committee approved the 2012 capital budget with no public comment period. The Board of Directors will vote on the budget at its December 14th meeting (see below). Unlike most Agencies that rely on federal funding, DRPA has no obligation to allow for a 30 day public comment period, and does not include public comments attached to proposed budgets.

If DRPA does not hear from us, they will think bicyclists and pedestrians with disabilities have forgotten about their promise!

This bald-faced refusal to build the ramp:
  • Creates a hole in our regional trail network
  • Advertises DRPA's hostility towards bicyclists and pedestrians with disabilities
  • Undermines trust in DRPA's promises
Why is improving access to the iconic Ben Franklin Bridge not considered a priority? Why isn't this part of improving public safety on the bridge?

Ways you can help:
  1. Send a message that DRPA should BUILD THE RAMP!
  2. Attend the DRPA Board of Directors meeting, which will be the only in-person chance for public input on the budget:
DRPA Board of Directors Meeting
Wednesday December 14th
9AM - 10AM
1 Port Center, 11th Floor, Camden, NJ

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Advocacy works! New Brunswick reworks bike sidewalk ban.

If you've been reading this blog you would know that the City of New Brunswick was looking to reinstate a 118 year old ban on cycling on all sidewalks in the city regardless of the cyclists age.  In our original November 2nd post, we looked at the likely origins of the original 1893 bicycle sidewalk ban, how a new ordinance could be better tweaked and questioned why adults were riding on the sidewalk in the first place.  Well at the November 2nd meeting, I was able to give some feedback to the City Council and was quite impressed at how well received my comments were to the Mayor and Council.

However, when I went to the next Council Meeting on November 16th, I was almost shocked into disbelief.  Not because, the Mayor and Council ignored my suggestions but because they took nearly all of them to heart and rewrote their proposed ordinance to take into account almost all of my feedback.  Way to go New Brunswick!!

Now I can't take total credit for this.  Far from it.  Somewhat unknown to me at the time, students from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public policy, namely those in Walk Bloustein, Bike Bloustein had also been talking to the Mayor, Council and most importantly, Planning Director, Glenn Paterson who was actually drafting the ordinance.

Below are photos of the draft ordinance (no pdf or other text document was made available).  Reading the text you can see that their is great improvement from the first proposal of November 2nd.  However, this is still far from a final draft.  Planning Director, Glenn Paterson shared with me a totally reworked draft that went much further.  I felt that some items in that proposal were redundant with New Jersey state law but others were absolutely superb in that they afforded legal protections from careless motor vehicle drivers not yet provided by New Jersey Title 39, namely protections from left and right hooks, careless doorings, illegal parking and even a 3-foot provision.  Unbelievably good stuff!!

After this, can't wait to see what the City will have drafted for tomorrow's meeting - December 7th at 6:30pm.

November 16th Draft Ordinance - Page 1

November 16th Draft Ordinance - Page 2

Sunday, December 04, 2011

New Brunswick Bikeway delayed due to utilities

Cyclists in New Brunswick demanding an answer for the delays in the long anticipated (20+ years) New Brunswick Bikeway finally have a reason.  At last week's Middlesex County Transportation Coordinating Committee meeting, representatives from Middlesex County said that several utility companies have been slow to sign off on the project and that this has been the cause of the delays.  Without cross acceptance from the utilities, the project, which requires extensive road alterations in places, cannot be added to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for funding.

Seen Above, NJ Rt 27 will require significant alterations to accommodate the bikeway and is the location of greatest concern for the utility companies.  
Middlesex County officials assured those in attendance that the project has not been canceled or permanently delayed and that once the utilities sign off on the project that it would be added to the TIP for funding.  Officials also said that the county had already made a significant financial investment in the project and are determined to see it through.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

UPDATED!! Next NJ BPAC meeting Thursday December 8th

The next New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Council meeting has long been scheduled for next week and will be hosted by the Voorhees Transportation Center, at the New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center .

When:    Thursday, December 8th at 10:00 am
Where:   Edward J. Bloustein School
             33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 08901
On the agenda will be a discussion from Jerry Foster of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance about his town's reward of a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community award, the first in New Jersey.

Pete Kremer of the consulting engineering firm Parsons Brinkerhoff with be discussing New Jersey's new Complete Streets Curriculum. 

Also, Karen Jenkins and Jim Nicholson of the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition will be discussing the upcoming New Jersey Bike/Ped Summit.

This is a public meeting and all interested parties are welcome to attend.

More details to come when we get them.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Tri-State maps South Jerseys most dangerous roads for cyclists

The following message was originally posted on the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia blog and contains significant portions from the original Tri-State Transportation Campaign press release

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign has a released a new report that analyzes bicycle crashes in 8 South Jersey Counties from 2008-2010 to determine particularly dangerous roadways for cyclists. The report extracts NJDOT's public (but difficult to access) traffic crash data and geocodes all the bicycle crashes in the region on Google Maps.
The analysis shows that many crashes were clustered on specific roads, with certain roads the most dangerous in more than one county. US 30 was one of Atlantic and Camden Counties’ most dangerous roads (65 crashes in these counties combined). NJ 47 was one of Cape May, Cumberland and Gloucester Counties’ most dangerous roads (58 crashes in these counties combined).

The report's findings demonstrate the need for New Jersey to continue to examine the design of its streets, particularly the roads that have been shown to be hot spots for bicyclist crashes. The percentage of bicyclists in crashes on these “hot spot” roads ranged from 15.7% to 32.6% of each county’s total bicycle crashes.

NJDOT passed a statewide Complete Streets policy in December 2009 which requires new or rehabilitated roads to be built for all users, including walkers, cyclist, transit riders, and drivers.

"There is a clear demand for safe cycling routes in the state, yet most roads are still designed for only cars in mind,” said Matthew Norris, Tri-State Transportation Campaign's South Jersey Advocate. “We hope these numbers will help the New Jersey Department of Transportation and county officials fix these roadways to encourage healthier, more active lifestyles.”

"People need options for transportation. Not everyone drives a car, but our roads aren't accommodating to pedestrians and cyclists. They have every right to use the road but can't always do so safely. More attention needs to be paid to making our roadways not only safe, but inviting, so those who choose to travel by bike or on foot have their own established spaces can feel secure in using them,” said Patty Woodworth, owner of Action Wheels Bike Shop in Deptford.

County fact sheets and Google Maps can be found at

The analysis found the following roads to be the most dangerous in the three suburban counties. Percentages are percent of bicyclist crashes in each county which happened on that road.
  • Route 537-Marne Hwy/Camden Ave (7.6%)
  • US 130 (6%)
  • Burlington County 607-Church St (5.2%)
  • US 30-White Horse Pike (6%)
  • NJ 168-Black Horse Pike (5.2%)
  • Route 561-Haddon Ave/Haddonfield-Berlin Rd (4.5%)
  • NJ 47 - Delsea Dr. (10.1%)
  • NJ 45 - Mantua Ave/Bridgeton Pike (9.6%)
  • US 322 - Black Horse Pike (7.9%)
Note: much of the above text is taken from the press release issued today by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

The map below overlays TSTC's crash data on top of census data, trails and bike lanes in South Jersey. A full page version is viewable here.

View map on GeoCommons

Why are South Jersey towns passing up on possible Bike/Ped monies?

Word is coming in that South Jersey towns are passing up on monies from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) that could be used to plan and design "non-motorized" transportation projects.  The DVRPC which serves Mercer, Burlington, Camden and Glouster Counties in New Jersey (as well as Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania) has a program call Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI) which helps fund the planning and design of local projects that are consistent with regional and state planning objectives.  And according to the DVRPC:
The TCDI program is intended to reverse the trends of disinvestment and decline in many of the region's core cities and older suburbs by:
  • Supporting local planning projects that will lead to more residential, employment or retail opportunities;
  • Improving the overall character and quality of life within these communities to retain and attract business and residents, which will help to reduce the pressure for further sprawl and expansion into areas without infrastructure in place or planned;
  • Enhancing and utilizing the existing transportation infrastructure capacity in these areas to reduce the demands on the region's transportation network; and
  • Reducing congestion and improving the transportation system's efficiency.
Unfortunately, the DVRPC had not received enough applicants from New Jersey communities by the original September 1st deadline so the DVRPC has extended the deadline to December 28th.  Hopefully more eligible towns have already heeded the call because there was a mandatory pre-application meeting yesterday.

It's somewhat remarkable that there was a lack of interested municipalities because "planning and design" grants are often harder to come by.  Most grants available to towns are often only available for the construction of projects that are ready to go.

For more information about the TCDI Program see this guide from the DVRPC.