Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fair and balanced, much like riding a bicycle

Here's the front-page article in about Hamilton/parking in today's Town Topics.
     Advocates of Cycling Weigh Councils Decision to Table Bike Ordinance

Your daily "stump the chump" brain teaser:  The weight of the average motor vehicle
in the USA is approximately 4,000 lbs and probably falling. If the weight of the average
bicycle+rider is 180 lbs (guess) and probably rising, how do you spell "momentum" ?

Unrelated comic relief + news - Hamilton (Ohio) has award-winning tap water.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Morphing the Boneshaker

This 68-second movie by Danish animator Thallis Vestergaard traces the history of
the bicycle from its invention in the eighteenth century up to the present day.

Produced by Visual Artwork, a studio based in Denmark, Evolution of the Bicycle
is a brief look at the different variations the two-wheeler has gone through in its
200-year history. It highlights how the design of the bike changed through the
innovations and whims of different inventors.

obituary/news - To Live and Die in LA, on Two Wheels

Alex Baum, a Los Angeles bicycling advocate who over decades successfully pushed for bike paths,
bike lanes, and a greater consciousness of bikes as legitimate transportation in a sprawling city built
around cars, has died. He was 92.       [ Read the LA Times article here ]

Baum was a former member of the French resistance who was imprisoned in a Nazi labor camp and
immigrated to the United States after the war. By trade he was a caterer, but he was more well-known
for his involvement in sports organizations, including the committee that organized the 1984 Los Angeles

For more than 30 years, Baum was head of the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee -- a  group he organized
under former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley to work with city transportation officials on cycling issues.

"He was a voice for cyclists at a time when cyclists had no voice in L.A.," said Michelle Mowery, the city
transportation's department's senior bicycle coordinator. "He used to call us the poor stepchild of transportation."

Without Baum's lobbying, the city's 56 miles of bike paths and 369 miles of bike lanes would probably not
exist, she said. Current plans, which Baum was instrumental in developing, call for 1,680 miles of bike paths,
bike lanes and bike-friendly streets.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

creatively designed public bicycle pumps in Trenton

Great idea - I wonder what they actually look like. Does anybody out there know ?

"SAGE Coalition and Trenton Bicycle Modification Association: Pressure Points 
will support the creation of creatively designed bicycle air pumps to be placed 
throughout the city. Public art and public health are symbiotic. The public air 
pumps will assist in the functionality of a healthy and accessible form of 
transportation already utilized by many Trenton residents and tourists. These 
pumps will be created by local artists and placed near common areas such 
as parks and major transit locations."

"One of the things I like best about visiting the U.S is the public water fountains. 
It's a simple thing, but it means that you can drink free (and in New York, delicious) 
water whenever you like. They're even in the airports, which means that you can 
take an empty bottle through the security theater checkpoint and fill up in the 
departure lounge. So civilized. 

But what about my poor bike? What if its little tires get "thirsty" for air? Sure, I should 
have my pump, but what if it was confiscated at that same TSA checkpoint because I 
accidentally called it by its Spanish name, bomba, and the TSA drones freaked out? 
In this elaborate and highly unlikely scenario I could — hopefully — turn to 
the Public Bicycle Pump, made by U.K company Cyclehoop."

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Re: [pjpbac-public forum listserv] Agenda For Regular PBAC Meeting, Feb 26

I'd reply with 2 related thoughts.

The first is related to Steve H's point #1, "Houses along busy streets appraise lower". Really ? 
This seems fairly debatable. A more accurate assertion might be "Houses along busy
streets appraise lower, or possibly higher, depending on (a) the town where you live 
(b) the attitude/affiliation of the appraiser (c) your definition of "busy". Search through
some of the links below, and you'll no doubt find data/arguments both for and against #1.
In any case, Steve's argument about house valuations and property taxes might only be valid
from the point of view of a potential buyer (not actual owner) of particular house. Or might not.

My second point is that Town Council meetings are not debates: one may or may not have
a chance to rebut or demolish a specious, unsupported, or half-baked assertion. One will
not have recourse to frantic real-time Google fact checking. There are rules of engagement.
One needs to be civil and polite, not raucous like this Parliamentary session. The public stands
up, gets their statement heard and recorded for posterity on TV30. Then Council gets the last word.
Then everybody can hop on their bikes (or not) and go home, blinking red beacons in the darkness.
regardless of the scrambling among the statement makers to be either first, or last. Or both.

On Saturday, February 28, 2015 11:13 AM, David Cohen <> wrote:

Thanks for your thoughts, Steve. At the NJ bike-ped summit last weekend, it was mentioned that easy access to bike friendly facilities actually raises house values appreciably. I think that should be a more compelling argument than your #1 point.

Re #2, Keep in mind that a right if way is not an easement. I think it important to try to frame the issue that the land within the right of way is not "their land" in any sense, and that obstructions (read "parking") within the right of way should only be permitted if it does not impede other valid priorities.

Point #3 is a good which no one has yet made to my knowledge.

Point #4 also good, but this one was shared at the council meeting.

Point #5 is also a good one, and toward that end we are planning to work toward developing some consensus on a network that Steve Kruse has already identified.

Thanks again for your thoughts and support.

David C.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

Stephen Hiltner <> wrote:

I had some additional thoughts about the Hamilton Ave. bike lane issue that I'm not sure have been considered, and wanted to try them out on this group. 
  • Houses along busy streets appraise lower, so that there is some built-in compensation for those living along busy streets in the form of somewhat lower property taxes. Home appraisers would be able to tell us how much busy street location is factored in. This is an argument that could potentially be used to rationalize asking those along busy streets to sacrifice their on-street parking privileges. 
  • The public right of way along Hamilton Ave is sixty feet wide, only half of which is being used for the road. Sidewalks would need to be added to that, but it could be said that the public is actually utilizing far less of the homeowners' land than it could if it wanted, i.e. the public is actually being generous in not utilizing land it has a right to use for public purposes.
  • If bike lanes are likely to be put along Hamilton Ave at some point in the future, are Hamilton residents actually doing themselves a disservice by resisting them now? Road resurfacing is when the residents presumably have the option to request extra curb cuts to allow a small space for off-street parking. The woman living at the corner of Harriet and Hamilton, who spoke at the council meeting, could solve the need for parking in front of her house by having a curb cut and putting in a driveway stub long enough to fit a car in front. (I have a photo and post about a similar stub in front of my house on Harrison St.)
  • Complaints by residents about the dangers of crossing the street, given the speed of traffic, raise several questions. Since only two or three cars are parked along that stretch at any one time, they do little to calm traffic. Hamilton Ave, in its current broad, unmarked condition, promotes speeding. Might the visual constriction of bike lanes calm traffic, making the street safer? And might there be a case also for crosswalks that would provide additional visual cues to slow down, even if side streets lack sidewalks? The arguments residents used against bike lanes may actually work in favor of putting bike lanes in sooner rather than later.
  • Might the long wait to get a master plan put together be avoided by at least planning several main arteries that everyone agrees are important? If plans for making Hamilton/Wiggins/Robeson bike-friendly along its full length were settled, then homeowners along any one stretch would not feel they were being forced to sacrifice more than others. 
Lastly, I want to say that I wish I could give more time to this issue. Because I'm focused more on open space, shade tree, and yardwaste issues, I appreciate all the more the work all of you are doing.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Agenda For Regular PBAC Meeting, Feb 26

Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee is having its regular meeting this evening, Thursday, Feburary 26. Please see below or click here for details. Our meetings are open to the public. Feel free to join us, or get in touch at any time with suggestions or comments at

Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycling Advisory Committee
Meeting of February 26, 2015

7.30 p.m. Meeting Room A, 400 Witherspoon Street


1. Implications of Council rejection of Hamilton Avenue bike lane proposal
2. Consideration of 'Complete Streets' Design for Mt Lucas Road engineering project.
3. Other planned Municipal Engineering works, including discussion arising from list circulated at PBAC meeting of 1/22/2015, and plans for Community Park North.
4. Transportation Alternatives Grant program 
5. Potential CMAQ grant application
6. Potential LTAP grant application
7. Date for ciclovia
8. Debrief from NJBWC summit
9. Efforts to distribute paper bike map, including electronic versions
10. Review of goals for 2015
11. Structure of the PBAC committee
12. Structure of the municipal Open Space Task Force
13. All other business

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Princeton Bike Lane Ordinance Falls In Unanimous Council Vote

Princeton Council voted unanimously tonight to table the recommendation from Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee to repurpose parking on Hamilton Avenue for bidirectional bike lanes. That means it will not be possible to add bike lanes in both directions at this time. It will still be possible to add one bike lane, running west-bound toward town. The east-bound lane will either be left unmarked or get 'sharrows' as at other locations on Wiggins Street and Hamilton. (let us know by emailing if you have a strong opinion on this). 

It was great to see so many cycling and sustainability advocates at the meeting tonight. Your support is very important in letting Council know the strength of feeling about making safe bike facilities in Princeton. Although the majority of people at the public hearing spoke in favor of the ordinance, the support just wasn't there on Council. Members of the Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee will continue to work with municipal engineers to try to encourage pedestrian- and bike-friendly accommodations on upcoming engineering projects. Tonight's vote is helpful in some ways because it defines the kind of options that are politically feasible at this time. We are continuing to work on an updated community bicycle circulation plan and if a new circulation plan is ever formally adopted by Council or the Planning Board, there may be a chance to revisit the idea of repurposing street space for high-quality bike facilities.

Finally I'd like to thank a few people who have leant strong support to the bike lanes plan, and who have some excellent ongoing projects related to sustainability that you may find interesting. Diane Landis at Sustainable Princeton - check out their 'Great Ideas Breakfasts' series. Tineke Theo, who is hosting a new meetup group on the subject of climate change at the library. And Bainy Suri, who is sponsoring an ordinance for a bag fee to try to limit waste- read more about it here.

Advancing safe bike facilities is just one thing that Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee works on, and with this vote out of the way, we look forward to sharing news about some other great projects we've been working on. Stay tuned!