Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cyclist ticketed for riding in Chatham shoulder in serious left-hook crash

On December 19th the Chatam Patch reported a bicyclist suffering serious injuries in a crash involving a left turning motor vehicle while the cyclist was riding in the shoulder.  It is bad enough that the cyclist, Jose Batista of Cranford, was seriously injured in the crash but according to the Patch report, the Chatam Police intend on issuing a summons to Mr. Batista for "failure to exercise due care when passing a standing or slow-moving vehicle proceeding in the same direction."

In this case it would appear that Mr. Batista was riding his bicycle heading east in the shoulder while passing backed up motor traffic in the travel lanes to his left.  At the entrance to the CVS Pharmacy a driver heading east left a gap open so that Patrick McVeigh of Chatham, the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash who was heading west, could turn left and enter the CVS parking lot.  As the vehicle driven by Mr. McVeigh crossed the path of Mr. Batista, Mr. Batista then crashed into the rear of Mr. McVeigh's vehicle.

The first curb cut on the right is likely site of the Batista crash. View Larger Map

This case brings up a number of problems with shoulder cycling in New Jersey that continue to put cyclists at risk of injury, as well as prosecution from the law.  As reported by WalkBikeJersey earlier this year, The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on a lawsuit that involved a cyclist tragically killed while traveling in the shoulder.  That case had the court rule on the legality of shoulder cycling and the court declared:
Bicyclists do not have special privileges on a roadway’s shoulder. Indeed, a bicycle rider is directed to ride on the furthest right hand side of the roadway, not on the roadway’s shoulder. The Motor Vehicle Code does not designate the roadway’s shoulder as a bicycle lane. 
If one were to only consider the court's interpretation of Title 39 it would seem that Mr. Batista was in clear violation of the law.  However a commenter on the Chatham Patch story notes that, just a half mile to the west of the assumed crash site Main Street, also known as NJ 124, has a marked bike lane in the town of Madison. 2008 Google Streetsview imagery would seem to confirm this.  The commenter also notes that at the municipal boarder of Madison and Chatham Borough, which is the intersection of Division Ave/Brookdale Road and Main St, there are no MUTCD compliant "Bike Lane Ends" signs.  This too is confirmed on Google Streetsview.

This "Bike Lane" symbol is located in the town of Madison and is less than 2500 feet from the likely crash site.
View Larger Map

Unfortunately for Mr. Batista, he likely assumed that either he was allowed by law to ride his bike in the roadway shoulder and/or that the shoulder was still a designated bicycle lane in the Borough of Chatham as it is in Madison. Also, the ambiguity of the signage and the roadway markings (the marked bike lanes in Madison are stripped more like shoulders and do not follow bike lane standards) and the lack of proper bike lane signage did not help clarify things for him.

The reality remains that shoulder cycling has been declared illegal and will remain so until this issue is addressed in the New Jersey Legislature.  Still, where shoulders have been designated as bike lanes, all effort must be made to mark them properly in accordance with accepted national standards.  It is simply not fair and even dangerous for cyclists to do it any other way.  Riding a bicycle on New Jersey's roadways is difficult enough.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tri-State Transportation Campaign releases its Northern New Jersey’s Most Dangerous Roads for Biking report

Despite New Jersey's already great cycling and our states potential to be truly exceptional amongst its peers, the unfortunate reality is that the number of bicycle / motor vehicle crashes remains all too high.   The Tri-State Transportation Campaign took a simple and objective look at these crash numbers in northern New Jersey in a new report released this past Tuesday.  From the TSTC's blog:
TSTC’s new analysis, Northern New Jersey’s Most Dangerous Roads for Biking, highlights the 19,551 bicycle (bicycle and motor vehicle) crashes in 13 Northern New Jersey counties (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren) that occurred from 2001 through 2011. Of these, 81 were confirmed fatal. The analysis supplements the 2011 TSTC report, Southern New Jersey’s Most Dangerous Roads for Biking.
The brilliance of this report is that it does nothing but simply map out the crash locations in each of the northern 13 New Jersey counties and lets the patterns speak for themselves.
Bergen County Bicycle Crashes 2001 - 2011.  TSTC.
From the TSTC's analysis it would seem that the crash rate correlates very closely with the population density of each county.

Also, as TSTC noted, a large percentage of these bicycle / motor vehicle crashes are on arterial roadways whether that might be in Essex or Hunterdon County and all others in between. This is something that most experienced cyclists know instinctively and try to avoid those roadways whenever possible, even in the most sparsely populated parts of the state.

This report is solid evidence that two things should be happening to make bicycle transportation in New Jersey much more safe:
1 – When at all possible, efforts must be made to make these arterial roadways safe for cycling whether that be shoulders, bike lanes, road-diets, cycletracks, etc. As for road diets, a good number four-lane roadways simply do not have the traffic volume to warrant the need for four lanes.  These could very easily be put on a road diet and bike lanes installed.  Elsewhere, other solutions will need to be explored.
2 – Wherever practicable, bicycle routes should be created that guide cyclists off of the arterial roadways and onto safer rural tertiary and urban residential roadways. New Jersey, unlike most other states, has great interconnected residential and rural tertiary roadway networks. Experienced cyclists know this and use this network to safely navigate all around the state. A well thought out and marked, MUTCD compliant bicycle route network could aid less experienced cyclists and those new or just traveling through New Jersey, to find safer routes off the major arterials, that still provide reasonably direct routes to their final destinations.
Again, thank you Tri-State for crunching and geo-coding the statistics.

PS - Could you use red push pins to highlight the fatalities next time?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Jersey City announces plan for 54.7 mile bicycle network

This news is getting a little old now but is significant enough on the statewide level that WalkBikeJersey needs to cover it.

Early last week the Jersey Journal reported about Jersey City's plan to add 35.2 miles of bike lanes and 19.5 miles of sharrows throughout the city in a attempt to start a comprehensive, 54.7 mile bicycle transportation network.

Jersey City is in a unique position to create a fairly luxurious bicycle network as most of the main avenues are exceedingly wide and underutilized, at least in the eastern portion of the city.  It has been my own personal experience that much of Jersey City's streets are easy to navigate, even during rush-hour, as motor traffic demand is just not there.

This is, in part, due to planning efforts in the city that placed much less emphasis on accommodating the car and instead focusing efforts on planning around pedestrians and public transportation, namely the Hudson-Bergen Lightrail and PATH.  Also, Jersey City doesn't even require parking and puts a maximum on the number of spaces!  So effective has this planning been, that it was the focus of a major Streetfilms series and can be viewed below. 

This is the first large New Jersey town to embrace a comprehensive bicycle plan and will undoubtedly act as a model and leader for many other Jersey towns to follow.

Go JC!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Tacks found in shoulder of Rt 9W in New Jersey

Image courtesy and (c) Cyclists International
Cyclists International blog reported on December 4th of tacks being sprinkled on the shoulder over a 2 mile stretch of Rt 9W in New Jersey.  For those that do not know, this portion of 9W is the most popular bicycle route in the nation with as many as 1,500 cyclists and more using the route.

For more details regarding this incident check out the full story on Cyclists International.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Bike Ped Plans In Brigantine, Pleasantville and Atlantic City

While Governor Christie talks about the "new normal" for Ocean and Monmouth County beaches the old normal seems to the general condition of shore communities south of Little Egg Inlet. My brief visit to Atlantic City yesterday (away from the beach) confirmed that. I can also confirm that urban bicycling in AC is still a less than pleasant experience. I had plenty of company out there and the lack of accommodations has resulted in an improvised bike riding culture, with cyclists riding every way and place except on the street with the flow of traffic. On the pedestrian side the City is second to Newark in pedestrian crashes per capita.

But the City is doing something about it. NJ DOT in concert with the Casino Redevelopment Authority (CRDA) is wrapping up its bicycle and pedestrian plan and it will be making a final presentation to the public. The boldest proposal - a road diet and cycletracks on Atlantic Avenue, a heavy lift indeed. There is also a proposal for a two way cycletrack on wider and less busy Baltic Avenue which would hook in to a "24 Hour Loop" on the north end of the Boardwalk (which by chance happened to be the section that was conveniently wiped away by Sandy). Look for a public meeting to happen in late January, the plan will have to be approved by City Council although the City and the CRDA have already begun looking to fund some of the plans recommendations

Two of the City's neighbors are also taking advantage of NJ DOT's Local Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Assistance Program with bike ped plans. Tomorrow Pleasantville will be holding a final public meeting tomorrow December 6th at the Pleasantville Library between 5:30 and 8:00 pm. The Library is located at 33 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, next to Pleasantville City Hall.

Finally Brigantine is in the early stages of developing its bicycle and pedestrian plan.  The first phase involves filling out this online survey. If you walk or bike in Brigantine and would like to see more improvements (the city already boasts some bike lanes) then please fill out this survey (

We cannot over emphasize the importance of the Local Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Assistance Program. It is one of NJ DOT's most cost effective tools and has helped them earn a top 10 position in the Bicycle Friendly States program. One of the most difficult things to do these days is to ask a municipality to find tens of thousands of dollars and a reputable consultant to develop a plan to make it easier to walk or bike. If you look at a map of bike lanes in New Jersey you will find that about 80% are in communities that have adopted a plan. You won't find an official NJDOT page, although Googling will give you some access to previous applications. Contact NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian Office for more information

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Bike / Ped investments critical as Hoboken PATH Station remains closed

News 12 New Jersey is reporting today that demand for bicycle parking at the Newport PATH Station has skyrocketed as the Hoboken PATH Station remains closed due to flood damage from Hurricane Sandy.  This is not surprising to us here at WalkBikeJersey.  With the opening of the Newport section of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway in 2009 the cities of Hoboken and Jersey City are connected for bicyclists and pedestrians like never before.  The Newport walkway has proven to be very popular with locals and exceptionally useful to commuters during normal circumstances.  In the Summer of 2011 the East Coast Greenway Alliance conducted trail counts and found that over 1,100 trips occurred on this section of the walkway between 4 and 7pm on one particular weekday.     

Locals walk and ride from Hoboken to Jersey City on the Newport section of the walkway, Summer 2011. (c) AJ Besold
With the Hoboken PATH Station remaining closed due to extensive damage, the walkway is now proving to be critical transportation asset.  By bike and using the walkway, the trip between the two stations is stress-free and takes about 5 minutes.  By road, cyclists would have to travel on treacherous Observer Highway, Marin Blvd and Washington Blvd (all roads even this LCI would rather not ride on) and its nearly twice as far (Note - WBJ realizes that those living in western Hoboken would find it more direct to use Marin Blvd to get to the Newport PATH Station).

View Hoboken PATH to Newport PATH in a larger map

This sudden emergency demand for bike parking at the Newport PATH didn't just materialize out of the blue after Hurricane Sandy.  Under the leadership of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, the City of Hoboken has been working hard to make the city and the Hoboken Transit Terminal much more accommodating for those looking to use a bike.  Back in October, Hoboken was named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.  With the Hoboken PATH Station remaining closed, the Newport PATH Station has become an obvious alternative for those looking to access the PATH system by bike.  Without the Newport walkway the PATH system would have remained much more difficult to access for many Hoboken residents.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Restore the Shore Better than Before!

You have seen the disaster photos over and over, but what I noticed in these photos was that the most basic forms of transportation - walking and biking were the only viable ways to get around in the hours immediately after the storm. In the absence of subways, traffic signals and even gas stations, Bike Portland did an excellent job of documenting the surge of bicycle traffic in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. On a lesser scale pictures from the barrier islands showed the same thing. Roads were either destroyed or covered with sand and debris that made car travel impossible.

Buried within the $30 billion dollar price tag are miles of damaged boardwalks and multi-use paths.Check out the shambles left over from the Sandy Hook Bikeway and the Henry Hudson Trail.  The tourist packed boardwalks will be rebuilt very quickly (perhaps too quickly). But the lesser used off-road paths may be pushed way down the priority list and perhaps in the case of the frequently damaged Bayshore section of the Henry Hudson Trail,a discussion about a total redesign. It is going to take a concerted effort by bicycle and walking advocates to bring these trails back up to speed

Multi-Use Path at Sandy Hook

The discussion of sustainable redevelopment of the coast is focused around the restoration of natural features to buffer the damage that robust coastal storms bring as well as implementing stricter building codes. But this rebuild is also an opportunity to create a more sustainable and safer transportation system as well.

Route 35 between Island Beach and Pt. Pleasant is a great example. In the 50's and 60's this road was expanded to create a four lane highway through some of the most densely built beach communities in the state. While there are wide shoulders, much of the road lacks sidewalks, crosswalks and even landscaping. To reform minded planners and landscape architects Route 35 looks like a blank slate.

View Larger Map
We can make this a complete street! Photoshop anyone?

The need to cross major arterials in shore communities is very strong. Accommodating all those beachgoers with beachfront parking would require huge and unsightly parking fields. So most renters and weekend visitors use the best ways available to get there - on two feet or two wheels (or sometimes 3 wheels). These roads are often the biggest barriers to get to the beach and can be especially frightening for groups with lots of gear and small children.

The rebuild of roads like Route 35 and Route 71 will put the NJ's complete streets policy to the test. County roads such as Long Beach Blvd are not subject to the State's policy, but the discussion to make all roads ravaged by Superstorm Sandy safer begins Today!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What were you thankful for this Thanksgivings weekend?

As you likely remember, the weather this Thanksgiving Day was spectacular.  When it became logistical possible for me to ride my bike the 50 miles to dinner at my brothers house in beautiful Long Valley New Jersey, I jumped at the opportunity to do the spectacularly fun ride.   As luck would have it the wind was at my back and the sun warmed the Autumn air just right.  The miles ticked by at fast and seemingly effortless pace and elevated my mood even more than on a typical ride.

With nearly three hours of time alone with my thoughts, I let my mind wander and ended up contemplating the meaning of the holiday.  As someone who is passionate about making the world better for those who walk and bike and inspired by the beautiful New Jersey countryside, I began thinking of what I'm thankful for. While this is far from a comprehensive list, and it sure doesn't replace friends, family and health, I thought I'd let you know of some of the things that I'm thankful for in our small niche in the world.

  • New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition - It's been a very tenuous first couple of years but New Jersey's still fledgling biking and walking advocacy is getting a little more stable.  For several years the Coalition was being held together by the tireless and valiant efforts of its past presidents, Jim Nicholson and Karen Jenkins.  Without their effots I doubt we would be having a 4th Annual New Jersey Bike Summit this February. 

    However I'm extra excited this year because the Coalition has a paid executive director. I am very thankful that Cyndi Steiner is at the helm simply because she's a highly experienced "bicyclist".  She just doesn't ride a bike once in a while but rather lives her life around the bicycle and uses her bike everyday for spirited high-speed fun as well as practical transportation.  As such she knows, firsthand what its like trying to ride a bike around the state and dealing with its drivers.  But what few people know is she wouldn't be there if it wasn't for Brendan Poh, owner of Cyclecraft, who is significantly underwriting her salary.  Talk about putting you money where your mouth is.  Thanks a bunch Brendan!

  • NJ TRANSIT - Yeah, they sometimes disappoint us bike advocates.  And yes, I don't ride the trains everyday during rush hour to have become bitter but no other state has a statewide transit network like NJ TRANSIT.  With new, world class, rail and bus rolling stock, NJ TRANSIT is becoming an increasingly attractive option.  The new

Friday, November 16, 2012

Do the DVRPC "Bike to Transit Stations" survey

The very nice yet exceptional sheltered bicycle
parking at the Hoboken NJ TRANSIT Station.
If you live in, or travel with your bike in the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) service area, please take a moment to fill out the Bike to Transit Stations survey.  In New Jersey DVRPC services Mercer, Burlington, Gloucester, and Camden counties and this survey is investigating bicycle parking conditions at all rail transit stations in these counties.  These include all RiverLINE and PATCO stations, SEPTA's West Trenton Station, and NJ TRANSIT's Princeton, Princeton Junction, Hamilton, Trenton, Cherry Hill, Lindenwald and Atco Stations.  This is a map based survey.  Simply scroll over to the station or stations that you use, click on the button and give your feedback about the bicycle amenities (or lack there of) at that particular station.

The survey is open until December 1st and when I looked at it today many New Jersey stations had not been surveyed even once.  So if you get board watching football between courses at Thanksgiving dinner, do the survey instead and fill in those blanks!

More about this survey can be found in this write-up by Silva and our friends at the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Parks, Trails and favorite bike roads likely unsafe and closed this weekend

Stay out of the parks!  Stay off the trails!  And be careful when you ride your bike on the road this weekend!

Most state parks are closed due to storm damage mostly in the form of downed and dangerously hanging trees.  D&R Canal State Park (includes Six Mile Run) and Allaire are on the list.  Both parks are popular with mountain bikers and casual cyclists alike who ride on multi-use trails.

Many county parks are likely in the same condition.  Checking the Monmouth County Parks Department webpage didn't find any mention park closures but its hard to imagine that they are in any better shape.  Hartshorn Woods reaches several hundred feet in elevation only a half mile from the Atlantic.  With such exposure to the brutal winds of Sandy, it's easy to imagine that the forest receive significant damage there.

Elsewhere in Monmouth County, it is highly probable that the Henry Hudson Trail will also have tree as well as flooding damage.  The exceptionally scenic Bayshore Trail portion of the Henry Hudson (between Highlands and Atlantic Highlands) was damaged by storm surge in the March 2011 Nor'easter.  With stories coming in of catastrophic flooding damage in many Raritan Bay communities the trail must be in much worse condition after Sandy.

Scenarios like these are sure to be repeating themselves in many parks throughout the state.  If you haven't been specifically informed that the park and or trail is safe for you to walk, hike or bike, you should stay out!  There is no need to put more demands on our strained emergency management systems.

The same amount of caution applies to us road cyclists too.  While the roads may be open to traffic, hazardous conditions remain.  Tree and other debris still liter roadways, particularly on the edge of the roads that cyclists frequent.  Not only could one crash into unexpected hazards deposted at the side of the road but branches, leaves and other litter can cause one to slip and crash, particularly when riding a bike with narrow tires.

Again, be safe and maybe wait till next weekend to go out and have fun.  We got too much cleaning up to do this weekend anyway.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Post Your Bikes After Sandy Photos

Tired of looking at photos of gas lines? How about photos of bikes being used for transportation in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy? We would like to see them, tag them as bikesandy on Flickr.

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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

'Hillier than Thou' bike ride to benefit NJBWC

Not doing anything next weekend?  Want to torture yourself in New Jersey's most notorious and vertically challenging ride for a cause that could make your future ride safer and more pleasant?  Well step right up and challenge yourself to 12,000 feet of climbing over 100 miles to help support the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition in Hillier than Thou.

Wait!  Wait!  Stop screaming and running for the door!  There's an easier Metric Century that "only" climbs 7,000 feet.  :)  Whichever you choose you will be "entertained" by the infamous Fiddlers Elbow Road that climbs over 900 feet and attains a wall-like 22% grade.  Between the delirium caused by oxygen deprivation and lactic acid buildup in your screaming legs, you'll be treated to New Jersey's world class, scenic rural cycling in Morris, Warren and Hunterdon Counties.

While this is not a race event, the ride will be timed so riders who make the time cut will receive a special award. Awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers, and the top finisher in age categories 35+, 45+, 55+ and 60+.

In addition, enter the Hillier Than Thou KOM/QOM Strava competition! Sign up for Strava before the ride and track your ride. A KOM and QOM jersey will be awarded to the top male and female Strava winners. Come back next year and wear your well-earned KOM or QOM jersey!

The rides will feature rest stops, tech T-shirts and post ride Bar-B-Que and entertainment. Day-of registration is available; ride fee will be $100. Hillier Than Thou starts in Long Valley, NJ. Parking and ride staging will take place at Long Valley Middle School.

Registration, breakfast, afternoon Bar-B-Que and Awards Ceremony will take place at Cycle Craft. Park at the Long Valley Middle School, 51 West Mill Road, Long Valley, NJ.

Don't fear the reaper, sign up today! Proceeds from the event will go to the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition to fund the campaign to enact a 3-Foot Safe Passing Law in New Jersey.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Camden County Bicycle and Multi Use Trails Plan Listening Session

The Camden County Bicycling and Multi-Use Trails Master Plan will guide the implementation of multi-use trails and on-road bicycle facilities in Camden County. The project, based on recommendations initially made in the 2004 Camden County Open Space and Farmland Preservation Plan, will connect county residents to greenways and trails, as well as enhance opportunities to walk or bike to schools, parks, shops, and employment centers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Press Release - Newark to Launch Complete Streets Program

Program designed to create street corridors and intersections that will be safe
for pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists, seniors, children, and the mobility-challenged

Newark, NJ – September 25, 2012 – Mayor Cory A. Booker and Engineering Director Mehdi Mohammadish announced today that the City of Newark adopted a Municipal Council Resolution creating a “Complete Streets Policy.” This policy was adopted by the Municipal Council on September 6, 2012, is designed to create street corridors and intersections that will be safe for pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists, seniors, children, and the mobility-challenged.

The Complete Streets Policy will create a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network by facilitating connections to bicycling and walking in all of the City’s street and sidewalk projects.

“We have taken a holistic approach to making our streets and sidewalks safe and accessible for all of our residents and visitors, whether they walk, drive, or bicycle. Newark’s streets will be the safest and most welcoming in the entire nation,” Mayor Booker said.

“We have always emphasized the highest levels of accessibility and safety in our efforts to maintain and improve our streets and sidewalks. The Complete Streets program will provide us with a comprehensive plan to achieve those goals,” said Director Mohammadish.

“Complete Streets is defined as a means to provide safe access for all users by designing and operating a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network of transportation options,” said Manager of Traffic and Signals Jack Nata. “Newark is committed to creating street corridors and intersections that safely accommodate all users of all abilities.”

The Complete Streets program calls for the following:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Middlesex Greenway opens in grand fashion on Sep. 15

Like the Greenway itself, this post is a little late in coming.

After twenty years in the making, the Middlesex Greenway opened in grand fashion on Saturday, September 15th.  The  mayors of Edison, Metuchen and Woodbridge, three towns that the Greenway traverses, along with numerous Freeholders and a US Senator were all in attendance.  While there are still a few details that need to be completed before the initial 3.5 mile trail segment is entirely complete, the popularity of the trail was readily apparent on the grand opening Saturday as at least one hundred people were observed using the trail, most of whom were not attending the grand opening ceremonies.

Some of the dozens of users seen on the Greenway.
It was interesting to see that this grand opening event attracted the attendance of Senator Bob Menendez.  Support for bike and pedestrian infrastructure would seem to make good politics.

Senator Bob Menendez speaks at the trail opening.
This project was spearheaded by the group Edison Greenways and not enough can be said of their persistence to get the project to this point.  Also of significant importance to the project was the East Coast Greeway Alliance that designated a portion of the Middlesex Greenway as a part of the 3,000 mile East Coast Greanway years before the first construction crews started work.  Being designated a segment of the East Coast Greenway has acted as a catalyst to get many trail, sidewalk, bike/ped bridge and even bike lane projects built here in New Jersey and in many other states that the East Coast Greenway passes.

Mike and Anne Kruimer of the East Coast Greenway Alliance pause on the bridge over US Route 1 built several years ago by NJDOT for the Middlesex Greenway as part of a highway renovation project.
This project also has great potential for providing a Safe Routes to School.  The Herbert Hoover Middle School of Edison is directly adjacent to the trail.  The new bridge over US Route 1 built by NJDOT now provides a nearly traffic free route for Edison students who live on the west side of Route 1 and might attend the school.  Middle school age children were seen riding their bikes almost every time this author traversed the bridge over US Route 1.

View Middlesex Greenway in a larger map

Finally, it is hoped by greenway planners and advocates that this 3.5 mile segment is only the beginning.  To the west there are already plans in Metuchen to extend the Greenway to the limits of the Metuchen boarder and possibly beyond.  On the eastern end there are tentative plans to extend the trail over the Garden State Parkway and into Perth Amboy.  This addition would greatly increase the transportation utility of the Middlesex Greenway.  However, even though the train tracks over the Parkway haven't been used for years, the railroad company has plans to reactivate the tracks in the future to service warehouses, industry and a possible port on the Raritan River in Edison.

Either way, the Edison Greenway is greatly welcomed  recreation and transportation amenity in northern Middlesex County and many hope that this will be the first of a number of other rail trail and other similar multiuse trail projects in the county.

For more photo's see the slide show below. All photo's in this post and below slide show are copyrighted and are the sole property of Andrew J. Besold.

No Bikes on NJ TRANSIT Trains Til Sundown

Today is the Eve of Yom Kippur and as such no bikes are permitted on NJ TRANSIT trains (sans Atlantic City Line). You may (or may not) be able to take your bike on the train after Sunset (6:50 PM) depending on your conductor's interpretation of the bike on rail rules.

Light rail trains and buses are not subject to the holiday restriction and folding bikes are always permitted on trains at all times as per NJ Statute 27:25-5a.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

NJ TRANSIT train bicycle Holiday Blackout coming this Sunday

I just happened to be watching the news moments ago and was reminded that Rosh Hashanah starts tomorrow evening.  Lucky for me I know NJ TRANSIT's bicycle policy better than almost anyone and remembered that, "Bicycles are not permitted on the day before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but are permitted on the holidays themselves."

Up until a few moments ago my plan to get to my bike education job in New York City, as it has been over a dozen times this summer, was to roll up to the New Brunswick train station at 7:45am tomorrow, with ticket in hand and get on the train that would get me to the job just on time.  Instead of taking the train with my bike to get to my job tomorrow, I will have to drive and take PATH (which has no such restrictions).  Lucky for me, I didn't find out about this at 7:58am as the train pulled into the station.  Lucky for me again, I have the option of driving a car.

If you end up riding any NJ TRANSIT trains tomorrow, particularly the busier North East Corridor, let us know if they were really too crowded to really warrant banning bikes.  Leave a comment here and tell us when, what line you used and between what stations you traveled.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Jersey holds on to its Federal Trail Funds

Our friends at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign reported earlier today that New Jersey and 47 other states have decided to use their Federal Trail funding (Florida and Kansas opted out).  This is great news here and around the country.  With the new federal transportation law, MAP-21, states could have otherwise opted to used these funds for more "traditional" transportation projects, like highways, railroads, airports, etc. 

The reason why these funds have been preserved was because advocates and everyday citizens demanded that these funds be used for what they were originally intended.  Yes, recreational trails are good for maintaining our physical fitness but if planned properly, many of these trails can also serve transportation purposes as well.  That 48 states decided to preserve these funds is a good sign and sends a clear message to those politicians that still don't quite get that alternative transportation is indeed still transportation.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Sourlands Planning Council makes the link between land preservation and great cycling

We at WalkBikeJersey have long made the connection between open-space preservation and New Jersey's superb, if not world class road cycling.  Well now the Sourlands Planning Council is making the connection as well by hosting the Sourlands Spectacular, a hiking and road cycling event, on Saturday September 8th starting at 7:00am.  If you can't make the Gran Fondo on Sunday (like me), then this event could be for you.

If you are not familiar with the Sourland Mountain, it is located on the boarders of Mercer, Hunterdon and Somerset Counties.  It is the last large contiguous forested area in Central New Jersey and it is home to some of New Jerseys best road cycling.  The area's geology has made it near impossible for agriculture and not very suitable for sprawl development.  This fact and progressive forward thinking local leaders determined to maintain the area's natural heritage have nearly halted sprawl development on and near the mountain.  The end result for cyclists is that roads that have long been small, very quite, scenic favorites of New Jersey's cyclists, have remained unchanged for decades.

Enjoying the view on quiet Rocktown Road in Hunterdon County. The farm in the foreground
and much of the forest on Sourland Mountain in the distance are protected from development.
This photo is over 10 years old and this sight on this Rocktown Road remains unchanged.
Much thanks needs to go to Micheal Heffler for helping the Sourlands Planning Council make this connection.  He not only got the Council to see that their efforts to preserve the Sourlands has helped maintain the areas world class cycling but also planned the routes for Saturday's ride.

There are three road ride options; a 37 mile, 50 mile and a Metric Century (63 mile).  More info about the event and directions can be found on the Sourlands Spectacular website.

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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chicago lawsuit should be a wakeup call for New Jersey towns

The Chicago Tribune is reporting of a $3.25 million payout to the family of a 4 year old girl who was tragically killed why trying to cross the street with her mother and brother.  The basis of the lawsuit is that the City of Chicago did not properly install the stop sign, maintain the crosswalk and the the "No Parking" zone began closer to the stop sign than the law requires.

In my travels all around New Jersey, I see exactly the same conditions that a Illinois court found lead to this girls death.  I've long worried that non-compliance with design standards and New Jersey parking laws not only creates hazards for pedestrians, cyclists and other motor vehicle drivers, but that they also will leave municipalities open to litigation.  It would seem that my concerns are well founded, at least in some parts of the country and I don't see why such a lawsuit couldn't make traction in the New Jersey court system.  Hopefully, towns will learn of this and make the corrections before we have to find out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The 2014 Challenge - Designing the "Bike Paths for the 21st Century"

The Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives have been touting victory with the transportation bill. Saying that money for frivolous bike paths was reduced in the MAP-21 Transportation reauthorization. Clearly there is a ideology held in by some in Congress that believes that money for transportation is being wasted on circular paths in parks.

So what is a bike path?

In the US there really is no such thing, unless you are thinking about bike exclusive cycle tracks. Paved paths whether on the side of a road or along an exclusive right of way are shared use, in fact depending  on who you ask shared use paths are routinely referred to as jogging paths. In the design process this conflict between bikeway and jogging path sometimes creates a product that neither side is happy with.

So maybe it is time create a new class of bikeway. One that suggests that a bikeway is a transportation facility that prioritizes bicycle travel over other modes. Not every shared use path needs to be a first class bikeway, but routes that are intended to be regional first class bikeways shouldn't be designed like the Seaside Heights boardwalk.

Cycling Superhighways, especially this one in Copenhagen has been getting a lot of media buzz this week. Over the past few years the Netherlands and Denmark have been upgrading bicycle connections between cities and suburbs. These connections are engineered for comfort and minimal delays using a network of off road trails, underpasses, cycletracks and the green wave which a network of green traffic signals timed for bike speed 10-14 mph.

Unlike Europe which has preserved its railroads corridors as railroads the US is full of the grade separated abandoned corridors and converted rail trails Perhaps the best of the best is the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis which is sometimes called a bicycle freeway.

Whatever we want to call these bicycle superhighways is an assignment for someone else, but just like interstates it is important that first class bikeways are built to a standard that is higher than the traditional shared use path.

We put forward some ideas as to how a bicycle highway could function.

Regional Significance: 
  • It should be least 5 miles in length and provide access to major destinations or employment centers
  • Connects with other bicycle and transit facilities
  • High maintenance standards (Snow and debris removal, pavement smoothness standards)
  • Properly signed and numbered (e.g. Bikeway 1) 

Off Road Design Standards:
  • Minimum 12 ft with centerline striping or dashing 
  • In high pedestrian traffic areas at least 10 feet of bikeway along with a parallel pedestrian path 
  • The bikeway is open 24 hours and lit in high use areas 
  • Major roads - Grade separation where feasible, signal protected elsewhere (no yellow flashers) 
  • Minor roads - Intersection design guidelines with roads that have lower volumes and speeds
On Road Design Standards: 
  • Cycle tracks where possible 
  • Green Wave signal timing in urban areas 
  • Green Bike lanes that are buffered whenever feasible
  • Bicycle Boulevard standards for shared roadways

MAP-21 expires in 2014, beginning next year there will be intense debate over bicycling will begin again with opponents will be dragging out their old "frivolous bike paths" argument. Developing the concept of cycling superhighways and selling its merits to the next Congress is a discussion that needs to begin now.