Friday, November 20, 2015

Re: [pjpbac-public forum listserv] Where (Strava using) Cyclists Ride in Princeton

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 5:37 PM, Tineke Thio <> wrote:

Data is beautiful!           Thank you for sharing, Jerry. 

When you check out the map, keep this in mind from the Strava homepage:  "Unlock Your Potential 
-- Connect with a global community of athletes and train like never before."

So the heat map is generated by predominantly sports riders?

(Looking around the map, I was starting to feel like a cockroach: all those well-traveled routes 
are the ones I avoid. Not being very athletic, but risk-averse).                -Tineke


Answering Tineke, yes the data is skewed to the "performance" cohort of cyclists,
and I'd be surprised if less than 3/4 of the data comes from Princeton U students.

It's hard to tell how many unique subscribers generated these colored lines. Dozens ?

Strava, a "social fitness" app named after the Swedish translation of "to strive", was
the subject of a post here, almost 3 years ago. And yet, my form is still in the dumps!

What I noticed in the "heat map":

- a blob of red is evident in front of Kopp's bike shop, but the blob of red at Jay's
  is smeared out by the traffic along Nassau. But Kopp's is and has always been
  the more "racing scene" oriented shop. 

- the topographic info is cool. It really hi-lites the location of the various quarries,
  for example Trap Rock near Rocky Hill. Off-road trails for "fat tire" bikers can be seen.

- Streams, lakes, bodies of water are easier to spot using the 2 other "heat styles",
   and this might also be true for open space areas. Plan your trip out to the LHT.

- there is little traffic on certain roads, for example Cedar Lane, which are in 
  fact heavily used by school-age kids and their parents. Could Strava Metro help ?

- if you zoom out, it indicates what a more regional "paper bike map" would show.
  The question being, would any publisher be interested in taking that on as a project.
  One answer:  "probably yes, because real estate agents seem to dig paper maps".

First Annual Princeton-to-Trenton 'Ride To Achieve'

Last Saturday (November 14, 2015), the first 'Ride To Achieve' took place, in support of the Center for Child and Family Achievement in Trenton. CCFA works with local young people, to support them and give them extra educational opportunities. The organized ride raised money and awareness for the organization.

The riders gathered at 9.00 a.m. at Turning Basin Park, just off Alexander Road in Princeton. Here are the organizers and riders, along with Jerry Foster of Greater Mercer TMA (yellow vest) and 16th District New Jersey Assembly Representative, Jack Ciatterelli. Probably about 20-30 riders embarked on the 21 mile round trip from Princeton to the CCFA, on Calhoun Street in Trenton.

Riders were able to follow the D&R canal towpath, one of the best cycling facilities in the region. The path runs alongside the D&R canal all the way from Princeton to Trenton, so participants didn't have to battle local traffic. It's a quiet, flat ride through protected green space almost all the way. I'm happy to report that the path, which was previously rutted and washed out by stormwater in Lawrence Township, has been fixed up and is in great shape for riding. Here is a scene from the towpath, with the Trenton skyline in the distance.

The D&R towpath runs through what feels like a very rural environment, but as you approach Trenton, the scenery changes, to views of crumbling former industrial sites - and even a few that are still active! The canal path runs right through Trenton and then continues next to the Delaware River on the other side, so even when we got into downtown Trenton, we were still able to continue on a high-quality, seperated bike/walk facility

The weather was a little cold, but dry and pleasant enough for the ride. It was well worth it when we got to CCFA in Trenton, and met the kids who learn at the center! Their motto is 'Read to Achieve', and the Center is filled with books and learning materials. Unfortunately, I didn't get the names of all the people who are involved, although they are a really great group. Several of the participants seemed to be students / trainees from the Princeton Seminary. One of them told me that he had got involved with CCFA out of a sense of duty to respond to ongoing issues in urban America, which were brought to light recently by events such as those in Ferguson MO.

As part of the celebrations around 'Ride to Achieve', all the kids at the Center got a bicycle donated by the Trenton Boys and Girls Club Bike Exchange, which trains local people to repair un-needed bicycles and return them to the community. If you have an old bike that you don't need any more, try to drop it off with them. Some of the bikes are pictured here in the schoolyard, along with some 'long bikes' that were used by family riders on the way to and from Trenton.

All in all, it was a really fun and inspiring trip! Look out for the 'Ride to Achieve' next year, because it's likely to become an annual event. The D&R canal towpath is there 365 days a year, and if you haven't ridden it recently, it's well worth checking out. If the round trip is too much, it's also possible to put your bike on the train in Trenton and come back that way!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

notification: No PBAC meeting tonight ! Also, the Bike Master Plan study

This is to notify you all that PBAC's monthly meeting scheduled for
7:30 tonight has been cancelled, due to other meetings & priorities.

One priority, or  more correctly Priority One, being the Bike Master Plan.

You may have read the front-page article in Town Topics this week:

It says "the most heated exchange of the evening arose among homeowners
and bicyclists concerning a plan that had been presented and widely debated
before being tabled about ten months ago; the proposal was to eliminate on-street
parking and create a bike lane on Hamilton Avenue between Harrison Streets
and Snowden Lane."

It seems to me, the vast majority of our bikers are also homeowners AND motorists;
it just so happens, they desire a safer biking experience, via improved infrastructure.

More on this to follow. Anyway, it's true about that topic, which came right at the very
end of the Q&A session, being "the most heated exchange".

If you look at what's being captured on the BMP wikimap, you'll see this comment:

       This section of Hamilton was designated for bike lanes, which were opposed 
       by some local residents on the basis that the lanes would not connect into a 
       wider network.

And then this "I disagree" rebuttal:

         This Hamilton segment is not a current or future bike route in the approved 
         Master Plan and as such is NOT OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED for bike lanes.
         The initial statement is completely false.

The above is from "Anonymous", well-known around town as COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS.

Anyway, let's try to clarify the "mastery" and recent evolution of this section of Hamilton.

2010 - there was the "bikeways and sidewalks" map in the Master Plan.

Dec 2010 - the pedestrian/bicyclist advisory committee published its Sharrows Report,
    which specifically requested (this document is in PBAC's online archive):

East-West sharrows, on Nassau Street - from Harrison to Bayard

            and on  Paul Robeson / Wiggins / Hamilton - from Bayard to Snowden Lane

Summer 2011 - the sharrows were installed, except (a) they were incorrectly 
                       positioned along Nassau, and (b) omitted on that stretch of Hamilton,
                       for some unexplained or maybe arbitrary reason. With (a) being urgent.

2012 - the "sidewalks" and "bikeways and sharrows" are now separate maps, wherein
          the location of sharrowed streets, at least those which got installed, are specified.

2013 - the maps get ratified in the new edition of the Circulation Element.

2015 - the new "bikeways and sharrows" map, basically as created thru PBAC efforts,
          gets used to help make PBAC members understand what the master plan says.
          Meanwhile, Hamilton gets repaved, and finally gets its sharrows, 4 years later.

By the way, we do appreciate the citizen who stood up at the meeting and rhapsodized
about how sharrows had made his daily commuting experience so much better/safer.

Friday, November 13, 2015

round-up for Friday the 13th

1. Radio Show:   "The TakeAway" with John Hockenberry   - duration 7:06

   "Walking across the street is more dangerous than you might think. According to the U.S. Department
   of Transportation, a pedestrian was killed every two hours in traffic crashes in 2013."

3.  Princeton's Bike Master Plan study

     Thanks to the scores of people who attended the public meeting last night !

     I filled out the online survey this morning.  Click here to do it      Takes around 6 minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

fyi, New Yorker magazine piece by Maria Konnikova

Cars vs. Bikes vs. Pedestrians      Will the war among them ever end ?  

Whichever mode of transportation you currently happen to be using—whether you're the pedestrian, 
the cyclist, or the driver—you are correct, no matter the scenario. Everyone else is in your way, wrong,
annoying, and otherwise a terrible human being. 

The fight for the streets is, presumably, as old as the streets. From the moment the first horse and buggy
hit the London pavement, hansom drivers and startled pedestrians likely had words. But why does this
particular drama play out as it does? And in the modern urban landscape—which includes more people,
more cars, and, in recent years, more bikes than ever before—can there be any good answer to the
question of who, if anyone, is in the right?

How To Do 'WikiMapping' For Princeton Bike Masterplan!

By now, hopefully you have considered how to make your voice heard for the new 'Bike Masterplan', which is under development. If not, please consider the options below, and feel free to share this post with your friends and neighbors! To give input for the Bike Masterplan, you can:
  1. Fill out the online form at the municipal website by clicking here.
  2. Send an email with your comments to:
  3. Print out this form, fill it out, and mail it to Princeton Engineering Dept, 400 Witherspoon St.
  4. Go to the Public Meeting! This Thursday, 11/12/2015, 6.30 p.m. at the Community Room at the municipal building at 400 Witherspoon Street. Click here for full details.
  5. Do 'WikiMapping'!
OK, some of you will be asking, what on Earth is 'WikiMapping'?? It's a website where local residents can add comments directly to a map of Princeton, to indicate where there are problems for cyclists, or where better facilities are most needed. It's pretty easy to use. Start by going to the webpage for the WikiMapping by clicking the following link:

Then, register by entering your email address and a password of your choice. (Registration is necessary to prevent fake comments. You can also use your Facebook credentials to log in, but 'anonymous' commenting is disabled.) It looks like the image shown above. 

Select one of the options at the top of the screen to make a new comment. Use the 'add street comment' to draw a line on the map labeling an entire street that you think needs improvement. Or click the 'add spot/intersection comment' button to mark one specific point or intersection that you think needs attention. You can then type additional comments, which will show up next to where you marked on the map, so for example, you could write "too much speeding traffic here, new bike facility needed!' or 'more bike racks needed here!'

If you want even more fun, you can click on the comments that other users have left, and write whether you agree or disagree with them! As you can see from the image above, quite a few suggestions have already been made using the WikiMapping feature. The WikiMap suggestions will not necessarily form part of the final plan, but they are a useful extra way to give input.
It's a great tool, because you can leave very specific suggestions for the consultants. But remember, all the other ways of leaving feedback are equally valid, so do what works best for you! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

New Path Opens Between YMCA and Merwick-Stanworth Site

Good news for Princeton walkers! A new path has been opened between Princeton University's newly redeveloped Merwick-Stanworth campus, and the YMCA on Paul Robeson Place. That's one less fence in Princeton, and one more route for pedestrians.

The path (location shown here) is a big shortcut for people going by foot between Stanworth Lane and town. It means that walkers don't have to walk around by busy Route 206. The path (shown above) was officially opened earlier today, Friday, November 6, with Mayor Liz Lempert in attendance.