Wednesday, January 30, 2013

fyi, map-related noontime lecture tomorrow at M.C. Community College Gallery

"The County of Mercer officially kicks off a yearlong celebration of its 175th anniversary 
year with "Mapping Mercer!", an exhibition of historic and contemporary maps that  trace
some of the region's history.

 The exhibit will be on display at The Gallery on the West Windsor Campus of Mercer County
 Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road, from Jan. 23 through Feb. 14.

The  Gallery will host two lectures in conjunction with the exhibit. The first, entitled
"Planning and Engineering Today," takes place on Thursday, Jan. 31 at noon. Featured
speakers are Donna Lewis, director of the County's Planning Division, and Paul Pogorzelski,
Hopewell Township's administrator/engineer. 

Find out more about this at MCCC's website below:

2013 NJ Bike & Walk Summit, on Saturday, February 23

The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC), a state-wide advocacy organization, announces
the 2013 New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit, on Saturday, February 23, 2013 in collaboration with 
the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Rutgers University 
in New Brunswick.

Read the entire announcement here.    Read about last year's summit here.

View, or try to view, cellphone-camera footage of some 2011 presentations, here.

Topics that will be presented at the 2013 NJ Bike & Walk Summit include:
  • MAP-21- our nation's new transportation bill, and how your community can benefit from it
  • Working with local politicians to achieve bike and pedestrian-focused goals
  • Complete Streets implementation in your community
  • Pedaling across America- taking a cross-country cycling trip
  • Bicycle Friendly America Program and how your community can achieve this designation
  • Getting a local bike & ped advocacy group started in your town
  • Discussion with several authors of recently published cycling-related histories
  • Organizing cyclovias and other bicycling and walking events in your community
  • Advocacy for trails users, including cyclists, hikers and equestrians
  • Bike shops and advocacy 
Registration includes access to all of the day's events, a light breakfast and full lunch. Pre-registration is 
available for $50 per attendee at EventBrite. Registration will also be available at the event for $65. 
Pre-registration price of $50 ends on Thursday, February 21 at midnight.

Monday, January 28, 2013

in recognition of intrepid bike commuters everywhere

At 4:40 on a 28-degree January morning, Christian Edstrom readied 
for his 40-mile commute from Chappaqua, N.Y., to downtown Manhattan. 
Mr. Edstrom, who works in JPMorgan's  operations division, bicycles round 
trip to work at least twice a week, logging approximately 600 miles a month. 
He averages 17 miles an hour and arrives at work by about 7 a.m.

Read the article ( here.

Also: attention all cartophiles ! (noun: One who greatly admires and enjoys maps)

main exhibition gallery of Firestone Library, but only until Feb 10.  Astonishing!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

everything you always wanted to know about ... parking meters

"There's plenty to hate about driving—traffic jams, car accidents, speeding tickets
—not to mention the endless headache of finding a spot to park. So what if you 
discovered an invention that could wean us from our vehicles, combating suburban 
sprawl and making city streets less dangerous, congested, and polluted? Well, that 
device has been around for nearly 80 years: It's called the parking meter.

Read the entire article by following this link.

More than a few related links re: street vitality, walkability, on-street metered parking (vs bike lanes):

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Re: coffeeneuring

>  I've started seeing this new word "coffeeneuring" crop up. This is apparently
>  "the act act of combining two great loves" where one of the great loves is
>  "riding a bicycle to/from a coffee shop" and the second is either "drinking
>  coffee" or "just hanging out with other cyclists in a coffee shop".

I've rounded up quite a few articles about what I'll term "the importance of having
destinations (or attractors, or hubs) to create a vibrant bike-friendly community".

Cafe Benelux in Milwaukee

A list/map of regional places frequented by "avid coffeeneurists" could include:

Wertsville: Peacock's Country Store, conveniently at the base of Lindbergh Rd (climb)

East Millstone: Sunrise Creek Deli & Grocery         Pennington, Hillsborough:  Starbucks ?

Hopewell:  Boro Bean                 Stockton: Stockton Market

Princeton: Gelavino Gelato in the shopping center, which Brings a Taste of Italy to Princeton

Plainsboro:   It's A Grind   possibly the only one with a (fake) fireplace listed here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

the "1000 fireflies" project re: blinking LED's

"Fireflies are the only species in North America that can synchronize their flashing light 
patterns; through a new project, bicyclists are soon to be the second. 

"The Kuramoto Model (1000 Fireflies) is a community-wide art piece by David Rueter, 
an MFA candidate in Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of 
Chicago. Through this project, 1000 flashing LEDs will be distributed to bicyclists who 
attend Northern Spark, an all-day, city-wide arts festival in Minneapolis. Riders will 
participate in a midnight ride on June 9 when the safety LEDs will sync up, resembling 
fireflies dancing in the night. The project will perform the cooperation and unity of the urban social network, especially as it applies to the cycling community. 

Read the entire article here.        Watch a 30-second video clip here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Overture, curtain, lights. This is it, the night of nights.

I find myself thinking about bicycle lighting systems quite often. These
thoughts weren't provoked by watching the "Extreme Shepherding" viral
video, or by reading this NYT op-ed piece about "dark-season gloom and
creative fertility". The fact is, I've done lots of bike commuting requiring
night-time riding, the lights/batteries back in the 90's were definitely so-so,
thus it's easy for me to be impressed by the new LED-based products --
and based on recent news, improvements inspired by fireflies are to come.

This 2-pager "See and Be Seen" is a useful overview of bike lighting.
While I was aware that certain countries don't allow blinking lights (they
are reserved for hazards, emergency vehicles, turn indicators), I wasn't
aware that (according to the article) "flashing lights may attract the eyes 
of drunk drivers, making them more likely to hit objects with flashing lights 
than those with steady illumination". This may be part of the "moth effect".

Anyway, cities around the US including Atlanta, San Francisco, Salt Lake
City, and Champaign-Urbana have been organizing "Light The Night" events,
encouraging local cyclists to equip their bikes and enjoy safe riding at night.

Here's a description of the student event a few months ago at U of Texas in Austin:

  LIGHT | NIGHT, "the bike light dance project," raises awareness about 
  bike safety at night through an abstract dance performance that includes 
  hula hoopers, jugglers, baton twirlers and, of course, dancers all in costumes 
  that incorporate LED lights. As the sun goes down Saturday, the student 
  dancers will only be visible by the lights that illuminate their bodies. Two hundred
  and seventy bike lights will be distributed to students, faculty and staff holding 
  a valid UT ID at the event. Another 200 bike lights that were donated to the
  production will be distributed to the Austin community.

More recently, a friend made me aware of a cool innovation in bike lighting:

   "Carnegie Mellon University industrial design sophomores Jonathan Ota 
    and Ethan Frier are currently using a research grant to develop their 
    Aura system. It incorporates six groups of three tri-color LEDs embedded 
    into both rims, that are powered by a dynamo generator built into the front hub. 
    The rims start out appearing as two red circles when the bicycle is moving 
    slowly, but transition through to white as it gathers speed."

You can get a better appreciation for how Aura works from their 3-minute video.

According to this article, which mentions Aura and its SF-based rival Revolights,
" there are already various companies selling LED valve stem caps, along with 
LEDs that attach to the base of the spokes."

NJ state regulations pertaining to bikes, including lights/bells/helmets, are here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

re: Ad-Hoc Bike Plan (as presented to Princeton Future, 9-22-2012)

A video of  the "Princeton Future, College Town 1" presentations and mayoral
candidate responses is online at this URL:

The plot really starts to thicken with our 'Bike Plan' and 'Complete Streets'
slideshow near the half-way mark - skip forward to around 1:40 to view it.

Hmm, it turns out the actual slides (PDF) got uploaded, too. The file is here.