Saturday, June 27, 2015

2nd annual Princeton Ciclovia is tomorrow afternoon 1-4PM

This family event, to become an annual tradition and celebration of
enjoying a quiet, pastoral road, namely Quaker Road which
will be closed to vehicular traffic for 3 hours, happens tomorrow.

You may say "But ... but ... your poster doesn't say Ciclovia, it says Cyclovia".

We say "Y not come to the event and tell us: it's a nice poster, and a nice event !"

This link goes to a map in case you'd like to try riding a mostly off-road loop
along not only Quaker Road (all of it), but the canal towpath, and a trail in the
Institute woods. It's just a suggestion, but definitely is mostly free of car traffic.



Thursday, June 25, 2015

neighborhood meeting about Prospect Ave is tonight at 7PM

The notice for this meeting is posted below, and can be found with the other
Prospect Ave information on the municipal engineering website (click here to view).

If you're a bicyclist/pedestrian with concerns/opinions/ideas about how Prospect
Avenue should evolve (note - just the section between Harrison and Riverside),
you might consider attending the meeting. In brief, the improvements to be
discussed are curb bump-outs at all intersections, to slow down motorized
traffic, in addition to a shortening of the busy crosswalk at Riverside school.

Or else if you're unable to attend, email your views to us <>,
or reply to this message if you'd like it posted to PBAC's public forum.

PS - the June meeting of the pedestrian/bicyclist advisory meeting will be in the
adjacent room at 400 Witherspoon, starting at 7:30.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

have you driven a Fold (er, I mean "Ford") lately ?

"Alongside Ford's announcement of its Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing scheme 
last night, the company also detailed its latest smartbike — the MoDe:Flex

"The bike is Ford's third such device, and like predecessors, is fitted with a 
motor and battery. The Flex can fold up to be stored inside a car like previous 
models, but where the older MoDe: Me and MoDe: Pro bikes were were smaller 
and designed to be used by commuters who may drive some of the distance to 
work, Ford says the Flex is built for bike enthusiasts. 

"That doesn't mean you'll be getting a high-maintenance road bike with the Flex, 
though: the bigger device can interact with your smartphone, enabling a "no sweat" 
mode that will calculate how much effort you need to put on the pedals to get to your
destination without any serious physical exertion. In addition to advancing human 
laziness, the MoDe:Link app also informs riders of real-time weather, road, and traffic 
conditions up ahead. Most interestingly, Ford says the app comes with an Apple Watch
extension that can somehow detect potholes on the road.

An interesting 49-pager from Sheryl Connelly, corporate futurist at Ford Motor Co.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

a quick interview with the mayor

Dagur Eggertsson is the mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland.     From NYT's Download - Influencers and their interests.

"I'm reading If Mayors Ruled the World, by Benjamin R. Barber. He presents mayors as hands-on and effective as contrasted to leaders of nations who take a lot of time and fail at important things. An example from the U.S. that people probably know is that the U.S. did not commit to the Kyoto resolution working against climate change while hundreds of cities in the U.S. did. So that's a very clear example that people who run cities know what is important and do something while nation-states are failing. Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time."

"I'm excited to get the new electric Copenhagen Wheel by Superpedestrian, developed at MIT. It's this electric motor that they just put on your bike. I've tried the prototype and it feels like flying. The motor kicks in when you are going uphill so you don't feel it and you just carry on your normal cycling and when you go downhill, it slows you down. It creates its own electricity running on the street and emits zero pollution."

proximity to bike sharing stations can raise the value of your home

Researchers at McGill studied house sales in central Montreal before and
after the Bixi bike sharing system was launched in Montreal in 2009. They found
that a typical home in the central Montreal area they studied had about 12 Bixi stations
nearby, which had increased its value by 2.7% – or $8650 on average.

Read more here and here.

"Bixi has been under attack a lot, but the system has had some positive effects,"
says Ahmed El-Geneidy, lead author and Associate Professor at McGill School of
Urban Planning. "It favours environmentally friendly and healthy habits and now we
know it has significantly increased the value of homes in Montreal. This data shows
people here value bicycle sharing."

It is likely that other cities with similar bike sharing systems, like New York, Toronto,
or Paris, will see similar effects on housing prices. "We expect studies on other cities
will also find a positive impact on house sales," El-Geneidy says.

"Cities that are considering the implementation or expansion of bicycle share systems
must keep in mind that although they require a major investment at the beginning, the
combined benefits from such systems, including an increase in property taxes, might
well outweigh the initial costs."

The amount of the increase in property value would probably vary from one city to another.
"It depends on how much people in a particular city value cycling bike sharing," El-Geneidy
explains.  The quality of the system may also play a role. "Because it was built to showcase
the Bixi model and export it, the network in Montreal is very good. Stations are well spread
both downtown and in residential neighbourhoods where many cyclists live, such as Le Plateau."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

event Saturday: History Bike Tour on the D&R towpath from Kingston to Griggstown and back

Bike tour of D&R Canal to offer historic overview June 20

The Delaware & Raritan Canal Watch will hold a free history tour by bicycle along the
D&R Canal towpath on Saturday, June 20, from Kingston to Griggstown and back.

Cyclists will meet 10 a.m. at the locktender's house in Kingston, located off Route 27 just north of the bridges over the Millstone River and canal, for the 10-mile round-trip ride.

Canal Watch board member Bob Barth will conduct the ride, which will stop at historic canal structures, such as locks, spillways and canal houses. He will explain why the D&R was one of the most successful canals in the United States.

Helmets are required and cyclists are advised to bring water.

The nonprofit D&R Canal Watch helps promote, enhance and preserve the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park.

For further information and weather-related updates, contact Mr. Barth at 201-401-3121 or

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Report on Valley Road Community Design Meeting

One potential option for bike facilities on Valley Road without sidepaths

The meeting at town hall on Monday night to discuss street design at Valley Road drew over 50 people, and it was a lively affair. The community Masterplan calls for multi-use sidepaths to be installed along Valley road as an amenity for cyclists. But many residents don't want sidepaths, as you may have noticed from letters in the local press in recent weeks.

I wanted to try to broaden the conversation, so I presented slides featuring nine different options that might potentially make Valley Road safer for all users. Each of the designs has different advantages and disadvantages. Feel free to reply or comment if you have a preferred alternative! 

I should give credit to local resident Heidi Fichtenbaum for coming up with 'option 5*' (pictured above). This is a very innovative suggestion, which includes a protected cycle-track- a design that in other communities has been very effective at lowering the barriers to cycling. As part of this plan, on-street parking is preserved, by making parking bays between trees on the north side of the road. If you want to try your hand at your own design for Valley Road, I recommend 'Streetmix', a website that offers the ability to mix and match different design elements. 

Right now, it seems that town officials are leaning toward scrapping the sidepath idea, and going with 'sharrows' in the road instead ('Option 1', in the linked file). Some 'bulb-outs', similar to those on Jefferson Road, might also be added at intersections, to narrow the roadway and try to reduce car speed. However, no final decision has been made, so if you have a preference, there is still time to have your say.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

come show your support at the 2nd "Valley Road public design session" next Monday

As you may have read in today's Town Topics, a second meeting concerning
possible safety improvements to Valley Road will be held next Monday in the
main Community Room of the municipal building, 400 Witherspoon, starting
at 7PM.

We encourage you to show your support for local bike advocacy and/or safe, sustainable
transportation by joining PBAC and other stakeholders at this meeting.

The story in a nutshell is that Valley Road is in the former Township; the "bicycle facilities"
improvement plan for Valley Rd is aligned with other key roads in the former Township, for
example Rosedale, Great Road, Mountain Ave, Terhune: a bituminous/smooth sidepath is
proposed. This is indicated by a dashed blue line in the official Pathway Master Plan map.

At the initial Valley Road meeting on May 12, two options were presented for the sidepaths:
a symmetric one having 6-foot paths on either side of the road, and an asymmetric one
having a single 8-foot wide on one side, keeping the 4-foot standard sidewalk on the other.

The width of 8 feet was chosen because this in fact is the minimum width considered safe
for a bidirectional mixed-use path. Practically none of Princeton's existing sidepaths are
compliant to this standard - they tend to be 6 feet wide. Yet the municipality upholds its
responsibility to carry out snow removal on all sidepaths.  However, as mentioned in the
Town Topics story, the proposal to install an 8-foot sidepath didn't garner much support
among neighborhood residents. In fact, it garnered negative support, since a counter-
proposal emerged: just keep the 4-foot sidewalks and paint sharrows on the roadway.
This resident-driven solution is now being called "Option One".

You can get a sense of the rhetoric among Town Topics' letters to the editor,
this week and last week. What seems to be prevalent is the "there has never
been much bike traffic on this road, so why do you want to encourage it now?"

Because we aren't in 1973 anymore, Toto.  Anyway, think about next Monday, will you please ?

PS I thought it might be helpful to add a possible retro-branch to the "virtuous cycle" graphic we've
shown before - where building infrastructure leads to "safety in numbers" for bicyclists, as
has been noted in numerous cities. The "Swedish model" reference is to this article.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

consider joining PBAC, the pedestrian/bicyclist advisory committee

Joining Princeton PBAC is a 3-step process, almost as easy as checking the inflation of your tires:

1.   Decide you want to do it, quite possibly after being persuaded you want to do it.

2.   Fill out & send the application form (click here) common to all boards/commissions/committees.

3.   Attend one of our monthly meetings at 400 Witherspoon. The next one is Thursday the 25th.

What are some key reasons you might consider embarking on such a semi-quixotic adventure ?

- the incredible salary, benefits package, also the signing bonus. Which is to say a free T-shirt.

- you believe the tax-paying residents of our town can and should influence how our town evolves.

- you have a personal ethos, a vision of the good life, involving more and safer walking & bicycling.

- you believe a healthy and vibrant community depends on volunteerism, and ongoing renewal.

- you believe your skills / enthusiasm / energy, heretofore untapped, could help make a difference.

Send us an email <> if there are questions about joining you'd like answered. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

on the birth of a new verb (or at least, a new hashtag)

From this article in Momentum magazine.   See also here and here.

While quaxing in its "official" sense includes 'shopping by any form of 
non-car means', it is unsurprising that the trend has been embraced so
wholeheartedly by the global everyday cycling community. 

In debates about cycling – particularly in the North American and Oceanic
contexts – cyclists are often assumed to be lycra-clad road racers who 
ride for sport and fitness. The growing ranks of people who ride bikes for 
transportation are almost entirely overlooked in the conversation. 

Quaxing highlights the possibilities of a lifestyle where cycling is just a 
regular, everyday part of a person or family's routine. In this sense, 
quaxing is much more significant than just a humorous internet meme. 

It makes the oft-forgotten point that cars are not the only – or best – 
transportation option, and serves as a visual instructional guide for
those who couldn't imagine a car-free lifestyle. 

Quaxing is rallying call to politicians to take the needs of cyclists, pedestrians, 
and transit users seriously. At this point Dick Quax is definitely listening,
let's hope others are too.

And surely you'd like to know the proportion of quaxing households in NZ cities
- bonus points if you can spot any kiwi fruits among the grocery bags.

Princeton Ciclovia 2015 is June 28 ... and PBAC could use some helpers

PBAC will again arrange to close Quaker Road to motorized traffic
for 3 hours, from 1-4PM on the afternoon of Sunday, June 28. This
will be your chance to experience the exhilaration of the open road,
now augmented by an unpaved sidepath connecting to the towpath.

Check out this wonderful photo taken at the inaugural 2014 event.

We are slightly behind when it comes to promotional activities, partly
because our poster hasn't been updated yet. Can anybody out there offer
assistance ?  Our poster from last year is a PDF - click here to view it.

The poster needs a few minor edits/updates, so if anybody out there
is adept at using Adobe Illustrator or some other suitable graphics tool, it
would be preferable to having me trying to plod through this task on a Mac at
the public library.  To offer your services, email us at

Thanks, and TGIF. More details about the 2015 Ciclovia to follow.

Monday, June 1, 2015

event - Randy Cohen interviews Emily Mann, 7PM at the library

Randy Cohen Interviews Emily Mann for "Person, Place, Thing" 

7-9pm      LOCATION: Community Room 

Randy Cohen interviews McCarter Theatre artistic director Emily Mann for his public radio 
program where guests are asked to speak about a person, a place and a thing they find 
meaningful rather than about themselves. Cohen won multiple Emmy awards as a writer 
for "Late Night With David Letterman" and for 12 years wrote "The Ethicist" column for 
The New York Times Magazine

I'm not expecting any lulls in the conversation, but Randy Cohen is also somewhat
well known as a New York City Bicycle advocate. Follow the links below to know more.


September 18, 2014    Bicyclists Roll on New York State DMV       By ADAM KLASFELD 

Bicyclists' uneasy relations with New York took a turn into Federal Court this week, where a class
action claims the DMV "systematically overcharged" cyclists by $88 for traffic tickets, and 
assessed them penalty points on their driver's licenses, in defiance of law. 

Randy Cohen and five other named plaintiffs sued the state and four top DMV officials on Tuesday. 

Plaintiff Dan Kohn, a 41-year-old chief technology officer for a tech start-up living in Battery Park City, 
was pulled over in July for failure to yield to a pedestrian. An avid biker and occasional driver, Kohn 
said in a telephone interview that finding out that a cycling violation could affect his car insurance 
"surprised" him. "It seems kind of ridiculous," he said.              Click here to read the entire article