Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Parking Study, Bike Plan, committee meeting

This communication has three parts:

1. Parking Study Update
In case you missed the public open house on 19 April, you can find a summary of the interim findings on the Princeton Parking Study page. The summary contains a timeline for the study. The parking inventory map shows the many and varied regulations on the study area's 4200 parking spaces.

As a reminder, please complete the online survey. You may complete the survey even if you don't drive or park a car. You may complete it more than once if you have more than one stake in parking downtown, e.g. you could be a commuter on weekdays and a patron of the shops and restaurants on weekends. You can also send longer remarks by Email (link from the parking study page).



2. Bicycle Master Plan update
Princeton's Complete Streets Committee has considered the bike committee's recommendations on the Bicycle Master Plan and liked it so much that they did more than endorse it: In the next step, the recommendation is sent jointly from the Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Complete Streets Committee, to the Planning Board.

3. PBAC meeting: NOTE DATE CHANGE
The next bike committee meeting is Thursday, May 4, 7.30-9pm at the Municipal complex on 400 Witherspoon St. The meeting is open to the public.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Princeton parking study

Since there is only so much space on our streets, often the need for safe bicycle infrastructure is seen to collide with the need for on-street car parking.

If you have any new, innovative, out of the box ideas for resolving this dichotomy (or at least reducing the competitive pressure), now is your chance to share your ideas!

Princeton is conducting a study to improve parking regulations, policies, and management. The public (you!) are invited to provide your input and feedback.

1. Online Survey
Bicycle users will want to complete the online survey, which has questions on both parking and bicycling in Princeton. Please pass the survey on to your bicycling friends.

2. Public Open House and Workshop
DATE: April 19th, 2017
TIME: 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
LOCATION: Monument Hall
1 Monument Drive
Princeton, NJ 08542


Monday, April 17, 2017

Complete Streets Committee meets today on Bicycle Master Plan

Princeton's Complete Streets Committee is meeting today, Monday April 17, at 5.15 pm in the Municipal Building on 400 Witherspoon Street.

Among other things, they will discuss the Bicycle Master Plan and the bike committee's recommendations , in which we urge to put high priority on the dangerous corridors along Wiggins / Hamilton, Witherspoon, and Harrison Streets.

They will also discuss a design plan for Walnut Lane, the street between Princeton High School, and the John Witherspoon Middle School and Westminster Choir College. Work on this corridor will start in the coming months.

The meeting is open to the public.

At the previous Planning Board meeting, where the Bicycle Master Plan was discussed, members of the public expressed support for a safe and complete bicycle network in Princeton. A young member of the public brought a sign, an eloquent reminder of why we are doing this. (Thanks to Mayor Lempert for the photo).


Friday, March 31, 2017

PBAC Bicycle Master Plan Recommendations

The Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) has reviewed the final report on the Bicycle Master Plan. In general we strongly support the report's findings, including most of the proposed network mapped out in the report. 

Connected Low-Stress Network
To meet Princeton's goals of encouraging bicycle use by the majority of potential riders (those who are "willing but concerned"), Princeton needs a network of bicycle routes with low traffic stress, and the recommendations provide much guidance to get us there.

PBAC has a major concern, however.  The proposal unfortunately leaves key routes--to downtown, to the shopping center and the municipal building—at a high level of stress for most riders.


Adapted from Parson Brinckerhoff report


The attached map (Stress Map) vividly illustrates the gaps in the proposed network.
We note that the segments missing from a low-stress network are also dangerous problem corridors; a crash map (Bike Crashes 2003-2015) shows that car-on-bicycle crashes most frequently occur on Witherspoon St, Harrison St and the Wiggins-Hamilton corridor, as well as on Nassau St.


Map by Code For Princeton; see bikeview.org


We therefore urge a significant strengthening of the proposed bicycle network by going beyond the proposed designs in the report and lowering the traffic stress on the streets listed below, in the near term:

1. Hamilton - Wiggins corridor
2. Witherspoon St: from Valley Rd to Nassau St
3. Harrison St: from Clearview Ave to Prospect St


PBAC recommends an immediate fix that is currently on the proposed map:
•  The contra-flow bike lane on Spring St., so that the "Princeton Wiggle" can serve as an interim alternate while recommended infrastructure (bike lanes) is created on Hamilton-Wiggins.

PBAC members also prioritized several segments in the plan for near-term implementation, with designs as proposed by Parsons Brinckerhoff:
1. Harrison St. from Clearview to Terhune
2. Cherry Hill Rd & Cherry Valley Rd
3. Gulick Preserve & River Road to Route 27


Safe Routes to School
PBAC prioritizes biking and walking routes to school that serve the four corners of the Princeton Public Schools district.

In addition to safe routes near elementary schools, we recommend routes at farther distances, especially aimed at Princeton Middle and High School students who live in walking distance of up to 2.5 miles to school and who do not receive bus transportation.
We note that many of these routes (See Routes to School Map, attached) will be brought up to low stress levels under the proposed plan.

However, from the perspective of Safe Routes to School, the proposed network has the following gaps:
1. Jefferson Rd from Mt Lucas Rd to Wiggins St
2. Snowden Ln from Herrontown Rd to Franklin Ave
3. Franklin Ave from Snowden Ln to Grover Ave
4. Hamilton Ave from Snowden to Leavitt Ln

5. Valley Rd

6. Hodge Rd and Paul Robeson Pl

Filling these gaps will bring the entire network up to low stress levels, which BPAC considers essential for our school children.


Adapted from Parsons Brinckerhoff report

Monday, March 20, 2017

Now available: COMPLETE Bicycle Master Plan

If you've read the Parson Brinckerhoff "Final Report" on the Bicycle Master Plan and thought it was missing something, that's because it was!

The report contains the main points. But there are appendices that spell out the details. The complete report and its appendices are now available for download at the Bicycle Master Plan page of Princeton's website.

In particular, Appendix C describes the proposed network of bicycle routes with low levels of traffic stress, where even less experienced riders can feel comfortable.



All files are in glorious PDF, no more struggling though text-only versions and having to find the graphics in older versions.

Princeton's Bicycle Advisory Committee will discuss the Bicycle Master Plan at its monthly meeting, Thursday March 23, 2017, at 7.30 pm at the Municipal Building on 400 Witherspoon Street. The meeting is open to the public.

let's try that with smaller text

You may recall that during 2016, a team of transportation consultants, funded by
an NJDOT grant, drafted a 'bike master plan' whereby Princeton could improve its
network of roads and trails, moving towards a more bicycle-friendly future.

You can find a draft of their report, dating from June of last year, at the link on
the very bottom of this page.  It's a 128-page PDF, however the essential gist
of it is in Chapters 4-6 (pages 46-107 of the PDF, or numbered pages 38-99).

In crafting the plan, the methodology used was the pervailing state-of-the-art: a
Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) ranging from 1 to 4 gets assigned to each section of road.

Street maps are color-coded with green lines being 1, the lowest level of 'stress on
a bicyclist', and purple being 4, the highest level. Intermediate levels are beige
(2) and red (3). The 'stress' depends on factors like traffic volume, actual vehicle
speed, road width, etc. For example, Map 03 shows the LTS scores on the current
road network, while Map 09 has the revised scores, assuming bike-oriented changes
get implemented. A given section of road will either retain the same score/color
(no improvements envisioned), or else its LTS score will decrease, and its color
will change from "hotter" (red/purple) to "cooler" (green/beige) due to the road
enhancements.

Things have progressed to the point where the municipal planning board is now
starting to decide which of the recommendations can be incorporated into the
next version of the 'circulation element' chapter of the master plan. Actually,
what is under consideration by the planning board is not the 128-page report
verbatim, but some kind of distillation/rewording of it, by the planning director.

In the coming months, there will be public meetings at which residents can weigh
in on whatever changes get listed for eventual inclusion in the circulation element.

Given the lack of public meetings, except at the very start of the process, it seems
that interested parties should try to study the available material and form their own
opinions about the plan. Here, I've decided to focus Map 09 in the draft report, and
to zoom in on the downtown (former borough, campus environs) area, which is the
'hard problem' i.e. the most common destination of a typical bike commuter. 

The proposed evolution of streets tagged A through R on the map are explained in the
table below. I was interested in getting a snapshot of where improvements might happen
(left column, 10 entries), and where 'high stress' is likely to remain in place (right column,
8 entries), at least until the next go-around with the planning board.

While the proposed bike plan is not nearly as bold as the one developed 15 years ago,
it was done in a more community-oriented and pragmatic way. Here's hoping it reaches
daylight someday soon.

some may say "meh" Re: feedback on the bike master plan


You may recall that during 2016, a team of transportation consultants, funded by
an NJDOT grant, drafted a 'bike master plan' whereby Princeton could improve its
network of roads and trails, moving towards a more bicycle-friendly future.

You can find a draft of their report, dating from June of last year, at the link on
the very bottom of this page.  It's a 128-page PDF, however the essential gist
of it is in Chapters 4-6 (pages 46-107 of the PDF, or numbered pages 38-99).

In crafting the plan, the methodology used was the pervailing state-of-the-art: a
Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) ranging from 1 to 4 gets assigned to each section of road.

Street maps are color-coded with green lines being 1, the lowest level of 'stress on
a bicyclist', and purple being 4, the highest level. Intermediate levels are beige
(2) and red (3). The 'stress' depends on factors like traffic volume, actual vehicle
speed, road width, etc. For example, Map 03 shows the LTS scores on the current
road network, while Map 09 has the revised scores, assuming bike-oriented changes
get implemented. A given section of road will either retain the same score/color
(no improvements envisioned), or else its LTS score will decrease, and its color
will change from "hotter" (red/purple) to "cooler" (green/beige) due to the road
enhancements.

Things have progressed to the point where the municipal planning board is now
starting to decide which of the recommendations can be incorporated into the
next version of the 'circulation element' chapter of the master plan. Actually,
what is under consideration by the planning board is not the 128-page report
verbatim, but some kind of distillation/rewording of it, by the planning director.

In the coming months, there will be public meetings at which residents can weigh
in on whatever changes get listed for eventual inclusion in the circulation element.

Given the lack of public meetings, except at the very start of the process, it seems
that interested parties should try to study the available material and form their own
opinions about the plan. Here, I've decided to focus Map 09 in the draft report, and
to zoom in on the downtown (former borough, campus environs) area, which is the
'hard problem' i.e. the most common destination of a typical bike commuter. 

The proposed evolution of streets tagged A through R on the map are explained in the
table below. I was interested in getting a snapshot of where improvements might happen
(left column, 10 entries), and where 'high stress' is likely to remain in place (right column,
8 entries), at least until the next go-around with the planning board.

While the proposed bike plan is not nearly as bold as the one developed 15 years ago,
it was done in a more community-oriented and pragmatic way. Here's hoping it reaches
daylight someday soon.

Inline image


Inline image