Friday, March 22, 2013

130 Crash Update - Driver Charged And A Petition for a Pedestrian Bridge

Since Monday's fatal crash on US 130 in Delran that took the life of Christal Smith several developments have taken place

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NBC 40 Raises Infrastructure Issue After Bicyclist's Death in AC

On the evening of March 14th, 26 Year Old Tariq Davis of Galloway Township was killed while bicycling in Atlantic City. The father of two children, Davis was going to his second job when he was struck by a left turning tractor trailer at the intersection of N. Rhode Island and Melrose Avenues in the City's North End. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Davis family. (Tariq Davis Obituary).

The tragedy occurred just one day after the final presentation of the City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, and Channel 40 made the connection between safety and infrastructure. The video itself is a great snapshot of everyday bicycling in Atlantic City.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

20 Year Old Woman Dies on Route 130 - Can We Now Talk About Real Solutions?

Route 130 has been named the most dangerous road for pedestrians, For Delran Route 130 is the town's Main Street. 6 lanes divided by a pesky jersey barrier. According to 20 Year Old Christal Smith of Delran was struck on Monday at 6:40 AM in the crosswalk in front of Holy Cross High School. She was heading to her job at Shop Rite in the nearby Hartford Corners Shopping Center. As is often the case the driver has not been charged.

The signal at this crosswalk is pedestrian activated, The crossing is unique because the right of way was sawcut into the jersey barrier. The irony is that this crossing was probably created in the name of safety.

View Larger Map
Even old school highway engineers would consider this an afterthought.

Delran would be a great place for officials to conduct a road safety audit, these audits are usually performed by transportation experts on foot and the results would create a priority list of engineering, enforcement and education solutions to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities.

Our condolences go out to friends and family of Christal Smith. Let's hope that this tragedy spurs the call for real changes on Route 130.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Op-Ed: Hey, New Jersey's political leaders! Bicycling Means Business!

I am the mayor of a city.  As far as this discipline is concerned, it's about talent attraction.  It's about attracting business.  I have to create the kind of city that attracts talent.  And putting in bike lanes and trails is a part of that.  People in their teens, twenties and thirties are looking for bike lanes and trails.  They are looking for that kind of connectivity.  They are looking for multi-modal transportation and that's what we are trying to do.
Those are the words of the Republican Mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, who gave a key speech at this years National Bike Summit.  If you've been following the bike advocacy news this past week you know that the National Bike Summit happened last week.  Maybe you were even lucky enough to go and if you did, you knew that the theme of this year's Summit was "Bicycling Means Business."  To get a good understanding of the gist of the Summit, take a look at this great (as always) rundown video by Clarence at Streetfilms.  Mayor Ballard's speech is in there.

Unfortunately, most New Jersey political leaders remain completely unaware of how bicycling is transforming cities and towns all across the U.S.  Yes there are our darling towns of Hoboken and Ocean City.  Political leader in these towns seem to be "full in," but leaders in other towns that talk a good game on bicycle issues, I believe, don't have a complete grip on what will be require of them and of their towns to make them truly bike friendly.

One major indicator of how serious a community or town takes bicycling is the presence of a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator on full-time staff.  Save for Rutger's University, not one town, county or other institution has a full-time, exclusive bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.  Meanwhile, not far from New Jersey, the City of Rockville Maryland (population: 62,334), is hiring a full-time bike/ped coordinator.  Yes, with only 62,334 people Rockville has there very own full-time bike/ped coordinator!  There are many towns in Jersey that have at least that many residents, and many others with much more.

So why are New Jersey's towns and so late to the table?  Why don't any of our towns or even counties have a full-time bike/ped coordinator?  Why are bike lanes still a rarity in our streetscapes?  NJDOT is an innovator in policy, and Rutgers University hosts one of the few centers in the nation dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian research and Rutgers is also home to John Pucher, the nation's leading bicycle and pedestrian scholar.  Why the disconnect between the state and it's agencies and our local governments where bicycle and pedestrian improvements would be of most use?  

Well one theory is that those other states have nothing better to spend those Federal Transportation Enhancement monies (soon, if not already Transportation Alternative dollars), while New Jersey spends almost all of it to help run and fund the nation's only state-wide transit agency, NJ TRANSIT.  But I think its more fundamental than that.  I just think local leaders still don't "get it." 

There are glimmers of hope outside of the usually places, namely in Jersey City, Newark and New Brunswick but change has been still been slow.  Bike lanes are still rare in these towns but some good ones have popped lately.  However, none of these places have yet made an investment in that big indicator of bike friendliness, a full-time bike/ped director. Even Hoboken and Ocean City haven't yet.

Significant, tangible change needs to happen soon and it will need to happen fast if New Jersey and it's towns hope to catch up.  Other cities outside of New Jersey have woken-up long ago to the power of the bicycle to transform their cities and communities.  Those cities outside of New Jersey are not just riding away from us but are breaking into a full sprint while our leaders are just starting to look at the bicycle, trying to figure out how the thing works, so to speak.  If we don't change fast, New Jersey will continue to see the drain of its young best and brightest to out-of-state cities and towns that do "get it" and know that Bicycling Means Business.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Atlantic City Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan - Final Public Meeting

The final presentation for the Atlantic City Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan will be held on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at 5:00 PM during the regularly scheduled City Council Meeting in the Council Chambers, Suite 208 City Hall 1301 Bacharach Blvd.

Prior to the meeting the consultant will have the project materials on display and will be there answer questions and take comments beginning at 3:00 PM.

View Larger Map

Friday, March 08, 2013

DRPA proposes three alternatives for Ben Franklin Bridge ramp

This post comes to WalkBikeJersey from our friends at Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and is reposted here with their permission.

On Wednesday the Delaware River Port Authority's Engineering Department presented its preliminary design options to the DRPA Operations and Management Committee.

According to, plans were presented for three design options ranging from a straightaway ramp, a single switchback, or three switchbacks. The estimated costs ranged from $3 million for the single switchback to $3.7 million for the straight ramp.

Image taken from The Inquirer. Credit: Robert West.

The design drawings will probably be presented to the DRPA Board at the March meeting; the options will be presented to the public at some point before the final design is determined.

We (the BCGP and WBJ) favor the straight ramp option although understand why some officials at DRPA have concerns of speeding cyclists. We think there are ways to slow the descent of wheeled vehicles, such as adding a kink at the ramp's midpoint (like the Connector Bridge in Schuylkill River Park). A switchback requiring users to make a 180-degree turn is less desirable but adding a staircase with bike wheel channels on both sides could make this option palatable. We would not support the multi-switchback option unless it was absolutely the only feasible choice.

An interesting point made in the Inquirer article is the possibility of widening the walkway on the Camden side, which narrows to 5 feet as it approaches the stairway. The widening would add a million dollars to the project.

Thanks to years of public support and effort, the walkway ramp is one step closer to reality. We will keep you posted as DRPA begins its public outreach.

Clarification: The proposed bridge ramp would be for the walkway on the south side of the bridge.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Newark makes the case for Red Light Cameras

The facts speak for themselves. Despite a strong push to eliminate red light cameras here in New Jersey and elsewhere, crashes are down where red light cameras have been installed in Newark. Not only that but after the cameras have been up for a while, even the number of violations are down which seems to demonstrate a change in driver behavior and that's even more important. 

Well maybe I should just let the video speak for itself and for the City of Newark.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Ralph Buehler's talk a powerful case for Sustainable Transportation

Ralph Buehler's talk on Wednesday absolutely rocked!   Ralph had me saying "Yes! Yes! Yes!" out loud about a dozen times during his lecture. His concise, logical, fact driven lecture style with just the right amount of reserved enthusiasm was very powerful.  If you didn't go, you really missed out! 

The theme of his talk was “Making Urban Transport Sustainable: Comparison of Germany and the U.S.”  Many in the sustainable transportation planning world like to use Germany as a comparator to the U.S. as both countries are wealthy and have large automobile ownership and the automobile industry makes up a large part of the national economy.  In fact, the German car industry is even a bigger part of the German economy that it is here.  So Germans are just as much invested and in love their automobiles as Americans but that hasn't stopped Germany from making effective efforts at reducing automobile use.  Using a combination of transportation policies that make driving less appealing and make transit, cycling and walking cheap and convenient, Germans now make a four times the number of trips by foot, bike, and public transport and drive for a 25 percent less than Americans.  Ralph explained this all armed with solid facts and figures.

We are inquiring about a video link of the lecture so more can here Ralph's talk. 

Now the power Ralph's lecture came as no surprise to me as his insights into transportation policy are second to none.  The seminar that he taught when he was a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers was one of the best classes I took at Bloustein. Today Ralph Buehler is an Assistant Professor in Urban Affairs & Planning at Virginia Tech’s Alexandria Center just outside of Washington D.C.

What We Do With Our Streets Will Change Our Future: Paul Steely White

Paul Steely White of New York City's Transportation Alternatives, makes the argument that how we shape the use of our streets will shape the use and health of our cities.   Filmed at TEDxDumbo 2012, a TEDxCity2.0 event, October 2012.  Enjoy!