Friday, May 31, 2013

New Jersey Caucus for The Circuit Meeting Kicks Off A Campaign To Raise $10 Million For Trails

The Circuit Coalition invites you to the launch of the Circuit Commitment Campaign.

We are bringing together trail enthusiasts and supporters like you for two informational sessions in June (one for PA, one for NJ). These caucus meetings are the kickoff to the Circuit Commitment Campaign.

The Circuit Commitment Campaign's goal is to replenish the DVRPC (Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission)'s Regional Trail Fund, which is a competitive grant program established by the William Penn Foundation in 2010. The fund is distributing nearly $10 million in our nine-county region, and is helping plan, design and build nearly 40 miles of trail.
This grant program, if continued, could have a major impact on our trails! So we need people like you, who want to see The Circuit's unfinished trails built, to encourage County Commissioners (in Pennsylvania) & Freeholders (in New Jersey) to allocate a second $10 million for the years 2014-2016. This money will continue the momentum of that first grant cycle, moving us closer to realizing the vision of a region connected by a world-class network of bike-ped trails: The Circuit.

Get involved in creating new trails for your community by attending NJ Circuit trails caucus!

June 19th, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Camden County Boathouse
Cooper River Park, 
7050 North Park Drive, Pennsauken NJ
The New Jersey Caucus meeting will provide an overview of the next set of Circuit trails currently under development in Mercer, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties.
We will also discuss the campaign goal and how you can help get this trail funding secured.
The Camden County Boathouse is located directly on the Cooper River Trail
and is a 10 minute bike ride from the Ferry Avenue PATCO Station.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

NJ Safe Routes Announces Recognition Program Winners

Much like the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities and the Sustainable Jersey Certification program, NJ Safe Routes to School has created a medal inspired awards program for schools that have taken steps to make it safer and easier to walk or bike to school.

The New Jersey Safe Routes to School Recognition Program Award is begging for a naming competition but the award offers the incentive of friendly competition and recognizes the leaders of the Safe Routes to School movement who can serve as examples for the rest of the state. 

GOLD Recognition Program Winners:  
  • Brick Township Brick Township, Ocean County
  • Califon Borough Elementary School Califon, Hunterdon County
  • Chatham Township Chatham, Morris County
  • Edgemont Montessori School Montclair, Essex County
  • Frenchtown Elementary School, Frenchtown, Hunterdon County 
  • J.F. Tatem Elementary School Haddonfield
  • Lafayette Avenue School Chatham, Morris County
  • Lambertville Public School Lambertville, Hunterdon County
  • Lebanon Borough School Lebanon, Hunterdon County
  • Milton Avenue School Chatham, Morris County
  • Reading-Fleming Intermediate School Flemington, Hunterdon County
  • Southern Boulevard School Chatham, Morris County
  • Stockton Borough Stockton, Hunterdon County

SILVER Recognition Program Winners:  
  • Bradford School         Montclair Essex
  • Chatham Middle School Chatham Borough, Morris
  • Chesterfield School         Chesterfield, Burlington
  • Clinton Public School Clinton, Hunterdon
  • Egg Harbor City Community School Egg Harbor City, Atlantic
  • Manville Roosevelt Elementary School Manville, Somerset
  • Netcong Elementary School Netcong, Morris
  • PS # 3- Robinson School   Bayonne, Hudson
  • PS#15-Whitney M. Young,Jr. School Jersey City, Hudson
  • PS#17-Joseph H. Bresinger School Jersey City, Hudson
  • PS#25-Nicholas Copernicus School Jersey City, Hudson
  • PS#3-F.R.Conwell School Jersey City, Hudson
  • PS#6-Jotham Wakeman School Jersey City, Hudson
  • PS#8-Charles E. Trefurt School Jersey City, Hudson
  • Sacred Heart Mt. Holly, Burlington
  • Somerset School North Plainfield, Somerset
  • Spragg Elementary School Egg Harbor City, Atlantic
  • Stony Brook Elementary School North Plainfield, Somerset
  • Van Derveer Elementary School Somerville, Somerset
  • West End Elementary School North Plainfield Somerset
  • Woodbine Elementary Woodbine, Cape May

BRONZE Recognition Program Winners:  
  • Busansky Elementary School Pemberton, Burlington
  • Charles H. Bullock School Montclair, Essex
  • Montclair Township Montclair, Essex
  • PS # 14-O.Culbreth,Jr. School Jersey City, Hudson
  • PS #28 Christa McAuliffe School Jersey City, Hudson
  • Rossi Middle School  Vineland, Cumberland 
  • School 2 Southampton, Burlington
  • Woodbridge Township Woodbridge, Middlesex
  • Woodrow Wilson #5 Garfield, Bergen

FIRST STEP Recognition Program Winners:  
  • Carlton School Penns Grove, Salem
  • Central Ave. Elementary School Madison, Morris
  • Conley Elementary School Bethlehem Twp, Hunterdon
  • Desmares Elementary School Flemington, Hunterdon
  • Hunter Elementary School  Flemington, Hunterdon
  • Kingwood Township School Frenchtown, Hunterdon
  • Lafayette Elementary School Bound Brook, Somerset
  • Lawnside Elementary School Lawnside, Camden
  • Milford Public School         Milford, Hunterdon
  • National Park Elementary School, National Park Gloucester
  • Robert Morris Elementary School, South Bound Brook Somerset
  • Tuscan Elementary School Maplewood, Essex
  • Wallace Middle School         Vineland, Cumberland
  • West Amwell School         Lambertville, Hunterdon
  • Woodglen School                 Califon, Hunterdon
For more details about the program go to

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Why "wheelbender racks" suck

We are 13 years into the 21st Century, so it is hard to believe that a bicycle rack that has been outdated and essentially useless since the 1970's is still such a popular choice.  Unfortunately, when people who know very little to nothing about the end-user needs of cyclists are charged with providing for cyclists, thing like "wheelbender racks" are what cyclists get.  The rack shown below is all too common in New Jersey.  It is very inexpensive and that is clearly what drives the decision to buy them. That that particular rack can be disassembled with regular tools, is even more disconcerting.

Frank Warnock, a leading bicycle advocate in neighboring Delaware, took a look at the problem with wheelbender style bicycle racks in the below post from his independent blog DELAWARE BIKES.  Take a look at his video and his analysis.  Spot on!

I just got off the phone with LAB on Friday asking what - if anything - is being done to obsolete Grid, Toaster, Schoolyard, Wheelbender, etc. bike parking systems. The answer is nothing really. The League has, in the past, encouraged manufacturers to refrain from selling this worse than useless design, but suppliers are driven by profits, not what's in the best interest of bicycling.

What's needed is an industry-wide handshake ... an agreement to phase this thing out. It's an advocate's worst nightmare when, finally, bike parking is achieved in a key retail or public location, only to find they went with something that might as well negate the effort. Unfortunately, to really get it right, we have the added responsibility to educate the buyer about what works and what doesn't.

Above and below: Bikes in Newark parked anywhere but in the rack!

All it takes is for your bike to fall over, or someone to knock it over. Since the wheel is trapped between the vertical rods, and is the only thing holding the bike upright, it can be easily damaged or bent beyond repair. It is also difficult to lock a bike properly, through the frame, not just the wheel.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Heading To The Shore? Then Stop By The Route 72 Causeway Public Meeting Tonight In Manahawkin

Here is a great opportunity to advance the cause for complete streets. If you live in Southern Ocean County or if you are getting a head start on the Memorial Day weekend then stop by the Stafford Township Municipal Building (map) this afternoon between 4 and 7PM to review and comment on the expansion and rehabilitation of the Route 72 Causeway to Long Beach Island.

NJ DOT will begin construction of 3 new bridges over Manahawkin Bay later this year. Once that bridge is complete in 2016 the existing causeway will be rehabilitated and it is planned to include the installation of a protected 6 foot wide walkway. When the project is completed in 2019 DOT will stripe each roadway with 5-6 foot shoulders and opening of the walkway on the westbound causeway.

Complete Streets advocates are campaigning for a better way for bicyclists and pedestrians to cross the bay - Replacing the proposed 6 foot sidewalk with a 10-12 foot wide shared use path.

Bike Route 52
Complete Street Success - Route 52 Causeway in Ocean City

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Comment on the 2014 DVPRC TIP and the NJ DOT Draft Capital Program

Its almost the end of May and you know what that means - Its TIP Comment Season!

The TIP or Transportation Improvement Program is a regional priority list of federally funded transportation projects that are in the development pipeline. Metropolitan Planning Organizations are required to compile the TIP by law and must allow the public to comment.

The Delaware Valley Planning Commission (DVRPC) is the first of the 3 state  to open up its Draft 2014-2017 Transportation Improvement Program for public comment. The NJTPA and SJTPO will follow suit (follow this blog for those TIPs) and during the entire period everyone can submit comments to the 2014 Draft State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) which is more commonly known at the Capital Program.

More information on how to comment on the TIP and Capital Program after the jump

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

BCGP supports continuous Ben Franklin Bridge ramp in Camden

The following was taken and adapted from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia post announcing their support for the continuous ramp proposal. 

Ed note - As the BCGP states below, a continuous ramp does make the most sense from a transportation perspective since most pedestrians and cyclists will continue to destinations east of the bridge.  Why make them go in the wrong direction?

On Tuesday, The Delaware River Port Authority help a public meeting for the proposed Ben Franklin Bridge Walkway Ramp. The meeting facilitators presented the proposed alternatives for the design of the ramp and offered an opportunity for the public to comment.

Of the three proposed designs alternatives, the Bicycle Coalition urges the DRPA Board to select the single continuous ramp, aka "Alternative 2." This option calls for a single continuous ramp that follows the slope of the bridge and widens a section of the existing walkways that narrows down to 5 feet as it approaches the existing stair tower.

A westward view of the preferred Ben Franklin Bridge ramp in Camden.
A continuous ramp that does not switch back and improves the existing narrow section of the walkway would maximize user convenience, allow for continuous eastbound travel to downtown Camden and points beyond, and further enhance transportation options for pedestrians, bicyclists and wheelchair users without busting the project’s budget. Once completed, the ramp will be a centerpiece of  The Circuit regional trail network and will connect to existing and planned street improvement and trail projects on both sides of the Delaware River.

If you could not make the meeting please email your comments on the project to Comment forms are available here for download and may be mailed to Delaware River Port Authority, Customer Service, One Port Center, 2 Riverside Drive, P.O. BOX 1949, Camden, NJ 08101.

After the jump you can see the three ramp designs being proposed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Important Public Meetings In South Jersey Next Week

Beneath all the hubbub of Bike Month events are two important public meetings for major infrastructure projects in South Jersey that if constructed with complete streets in mind, could plug some massive holes in New Jersey's nascent multi-use trail network.

There will be public meeting regarding both the critical Manahawkin Bay Bridge (LBI Causeway) and the Glassboro Camden Line next week.  Later in the month the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will be presenting the final draft for the Camden County Bicycling & Multi-Use Trails Master Plan. Details are available after the jump.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Report: Bicycling and Walking Pumped $500M into New Jersey's Economy in 2011

NJ DOT in Cooperation with Rutgers Voorhees Transportation Center has finally released its report: Economic Impacts of Active Transportation in New Jersey. Using Rutgers own R/Econ I-O model the report found that bicycling and walking contributed nearly $500M to the Economy in 2011, supporting more than 4000 jobs and generating nearly $50M in tax revenue. On the investment side government agencies invested $63M into 250 bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements. While skeptics may have a field day poking holes into the perceived 8:1 return on investment, this report could and should put to bed the notion that bike lanes, trails and sidewalks are frivolous add-ons to the State's transportation system. 

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

UPDATE - NJDOT Puts Out A Call For Cyclists To Show Up At Island Beach On May 9th - 11 AM

Below is the update for the NJDOT press announcement from our friends at the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition.

The NJDOT Bike Month Event will be held this Thursday, May 9th at 11:00 am rain or shine at Island Beach State ParkDOT's Bicycle & Pedestrian Office would like to see lots of cyclists there to participate.  

DOT will be making several exciting announcements at this press event. The Lt. Governor has been invited to participate. Photo op!

There will be someone at the guard station to let all those attending the event into the park for free.  The event will be set up at the Beach Bathing Pavilion #1 in IBSP which is located approximately 3.5 miles past the entrance gate on your right.  Depending on weather, they will either be set up outside or in the breeze way.
beach bike
Let's show our support for DOT's
efforts towards better cycling in 
New Jersey.

Bring your bikes and helmets and let's ride!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Public Workshop Looks At Connecting Trails and Complete Streets in Gloucester County.

The Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions and the William Penn Foundation have teamed up to hold the Connecting Gloucester workshop on May 11th. The workshop looks at the successes of municipal plans as well as how local work in the County connects with the Circuit -Greater Philadelphia's regional trail network.


  • The Basics of Local Bike/Ped/Trails Planning and Harrison Township Case Study
    Bob Melvin, PP, AICP, Principal, Group Melvin Design
  • New Jersey DOT’s Local Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Assistance Program
    William Riviere, Principal Planner, NJDOT
  • Connecting The Circuit
    Sarah Clark Stuart, Policy Director Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
  • DVRPC’s Regional Trails Program for Multi-use Trails Project Implementation
    Christopher Linn, AICP Manager, Office of Environmental Planning, DVRPC
Gloucester Connects
Saturday May 11th, 9AM - 12PM
Harrison Township Municipal Building
114 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill, NJ
(Transit Directons)

The cost of admission is $10 for the general public ($5 for ANJEC members). To register contact ANJEC via this formatted email or call 973-539-7547.

Event Flyer

Monroe Township Bike Path near Glassboro

Friday, May 03, 2013

Assembly Members Singleton and Conaway Roll Out Pedestrian Safety Bills

Assemblymen Troy Singleton and Herb Conaway, Jr. M.D. (both D-Burlington) have introduced an ambitious three-bill package including a vulnerable road user bill to boost pedestrian safety throughout the state, particularly in Burlington County where Route 130, considered the state's most dangerous corridor, is located.

On March 18th 20 year old Christal Smith of Delran was struck and killed in the crosswalk on Route 130 with the walk signal in front of Holy Cross High School. Then on April 8th 44 Year Old David A. Lee was critically injured crossing at a similar crosswalk on Rt. 130 at Millside Rd.

The legislative package Singleton and Conaway introduced this week will sharply stiffen fines and penalties for pedestrian-related motor vehicle crashes in order to help fund what they view as the three critical E's to improving pedestrian safety - education, enhanced engineering and enforcement.

NJ somehow hangs on to #7 in Bicycle Friendly States rankings

In a state where bike lanes remain a novelty, it's hard to believe that New Jersey continues to rank in the Top 10 of the Bicycle Friendly State rankings.  Yes, there are scores great people working on making New Jersey a better place to walk and bike including Sheree Davis and her colleagues at NJDOT,  the gang at the Voorhees Transportation Center - Bike/Ped Resource Center, Cyndi Steiner at the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition, Janna Chernetz at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, John Boyle here at WBJ and at The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and numerous local groups like Walk Bike Morristown, West Windsor Bike/Ped Alliance, Bike&Walk Montclair and Bike JC to name a few.  But still!  It just doesn't seem right. 

According to the League of American Bicyclists rankings, New Jersey is blowing away California ranked at #19 (Seriously?!?!) which has long been at the cutting edge of bicycle accommodation and has dozens of the best Bicycle Friendly Communities, Universities and Businesses.  We also outrank Wisconsin and they have Bike Share at the steps of their capitol in Madison!  

So lets review:
  • Again, bike lanes are an extremely rare sight in New Jersey, never mind ones that are actually compliant with MUTCD and AASHTO standards.
  • Our "Best in the Nation" Complete Streets Policies are routinely ignored, forcing advocates to waste valuable time on campaigns (1, 2, 3). This is a BIG DEAL right now as the state rebuilds from Hurricane Sandy. Even when NJDOT does build for bicyclists, the designs for on-street bike facilities are far from optimal. “Bicycle Compatible Shoulders,” aka “the same exact design we would have built if bicycles didn’t exist” is the go-to bicycle facility. 
  • NJ TRANSIT is the only transit agency in North America that has actually regressed on bicycle access. It recently added weekend restrictions on it’s trains that never existed before. Bicycle parking at stations is far from accepted standards. NJ TRANSIT doesn’t have a bike/ped coordinator.
  • New Jersey perennially ranks in the middle of most categories in the Alliance for Biking and Walking Benchmarking Report.
  • Our Vehicle Code needs a major overhaul. It is so bad that the NJ Supreme Court recently passed a ruling on the code that correctly (in my expert opinion) concluded that bicycles CANNOT ride in the roadway shoulder (So much for “Bicycle Compatible Shoulders”). We have no safe passing law and it is unclear in the code if drivers can pass, or cross the double yellow to pass, bicyclists when safe.  The folks at VTC worked really hard with a number of advocates for over a year to remedy this, only to see the work languish.
  • Not a single county or municipality in New Jersey has a full-time bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.

Yes, New Jersey does a lot of things very well. I won’t deny that, but progress is painfully slow and in many areas, non-existent. A wake-up call was sorely needed for the powers-that-be in New Jersey. A demotion out of the Top 10 would have done that. #20 seems much more appropriate. Treading water at #7 I feel is in most ways counterproductive.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

NJDOT Puts Out A Call For Cyclists To Show Up At Island Beach On May 9th - 11 AM

We got this notice from NJDOT Today:

"SAVE THE DATE: May 9, 2013 (11 AM) NEED CYCLISTS TO RIDE IN AN EVENT AT ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK Major announcement will be made by NJDOT at an event on May 9th. More info to come on exact location and time. Bring your bicycles and your helmets. The Lt. Gov. is invited to attend this event and participate."

As the alert states more info to come. We have no idea as to what the announcement could be but showing up with your bike at the newly reopened Island Beach State Park doesn't sound like the worst reason to skip work. You can even add your miles to the National Bike Challenge.

Island Beach State Park - dunes
Island Beach Dunes by Vilseskogen on Flickr