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.


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