Sunday, December 3, 2017

Re: [PBAC-public] Bike racks as street art

It's true that David Byrne is a bike advocate/activist and has designed
many artisanal bike racks. However those ones in the vicinity of MIT
were the result of a Cambridge Arts Council competition aimed at
local (Boston area) artists; the "caffeine molecule" bike rack was
designed by Case Randall. Learn more about the project:

Concerning the "08540 biker" logo, there is a type of "bolt-on" bike
rack whereby an existing parking meter can find a new use. Given
that within a few years, parking meters will be obsolete, as is already
true in many other NJ towns, this approach might be more feasible.

Long ago, I discussed this idea with metalworking guru Ron Lessard
who, like David Byrne, was the recipient of a free logo T-shirt! If only
we could get David Byrne here as the star of Record Store Day 2018...






On Sunday, December 3, 2017 11:34 AM, Kurt Tazelaar <dufdavis@gmail.com> wrote:


These bike racks were designed by David Byrne of the Talking Heads.  https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/19/new-bike-racks-courtesy-of-david-byrne/

On Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 9:35 AM, Princeton PBAC <pjpbac@gmail.com> wrote:
This is a bicycle rack, installed at Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA. It is also a piece of cool street art in the shape of a molecular model. (Hint: it is a substance almost iconic to Kendall Square, gateway to MIT and a number of high tech companies).

Inline image 1

Another nod to the geeky nature of the place are these two sine-wave bike racks in front of Legal's Sea Food. These pictures were taken in quiet moments on Thanksgiving weekend.

Inline image 2

Over in Beantown at Downtown Crossing, there is a bike rack which incorporates a bicycle in the word "Boston" using the two round letters for bike wheels. It's nearly invisible among the bikes, which is exactly how you'd like a bike rack to be!

Inline image 3

These playful bike racks reflect the serious ongoing effort in Boston and Cambridge to reduce their transportation emissions. The subway and bus networks are being upgraded and expanded. Bicycle lanes are popping up everywhere, and both cities have extensive bikeshare programs. Creative bike racks signal to residents and visitors alike that bike use is cool.

Now that we have a Bicycle mobility plan in place for Princeton, wouldn't if be great to have a Princeton-themed bike rack, say on Witherspoon Street? Perhaps in the shape of the 08540 bike logo? Designed by Steve Kruse, the former bike committee chair, the clever logo incorporates not only a bicycle but also its rider!

If you have ideas for making it happen, please contact the bike committee.

Inline image 4
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Bike racks as street art

This is a bicycle rack, installed at Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA. It is also a piece of cool street art in the shape of a molecular model. (Hint: it is a substance almost iconic to Kendall Square, gateway to MIT and a number of high tech companies).



Another nod to the geeky nature of the place are these two sine-wave bike racks in front of Legal's Sea Food. These pictures were taken in quiet moments on Thanksgiving weekend.



Over in Beantown at Downtown Crossing, there is a bike rack which incorporates a bicycle in the word "Boston" using the two round letters for bike wheels. It's nearly invisible among the bikes, which is exactly how you'd like a bike rack to be!



These playful bike racks reflect the serious ongoing effort in Boston and Cambridge to reduce their transportation emissions. The subway and bus networks are being upgraded and expanded. Bicycle lanes are popping up everywhere, and both cities have extensive bikeshare programs. Creative bike racks signal to residents and visitors alike that bike use is cool.

Now that we have a Bicycle mobility plan in place for Princeton, wouldn't if be great to have a Princeton-themed bike rack, say on Witherspoon Street? Perhaps in the shape of the 08540 bike logo? Designed by Steve Kruse, the former bike committee chair, the clever logo incorporates not only a bicycle but also its rider!

If you have ideas for making it happen, please contact the bike committee.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Get your Thanksgiving guests on a bike!

So you have a houseful of family and friends for Thanksgiving, and some of them have come from out of state. The weather is nice. You want to show them around Princeton, but maybe Princeton is too big to walk around. Biking would be ideal, but you don't have extra bikes.

Zagster bikeshare to the rescue!

Zagster is easy. Zagster is cheap. And Zagster will soon have docking stations all over town. Princeton University, a leader in sustainable transportation for its students and employees, started the bikeshare program with Zagster, and now it is expanding its network off campus. 

The latest docking station was installed last week at the Municipal complex on Witherspoon Street. Also the location of the community pool! So come summer, bike share is a great option for your kids to take their visiting friends to the pool.



The details are where things get really sweet: You get a lifetime membership for $20. Rides under 2 hours are free. Sign up at zagster.com and select Princeton for your location. Download the app onto your phone.

When you're ready for a ride, use Zagster's map to find the docking station nearest you, and follow the simple instructions to open the box containing the key-on-a-string that frees the lock. Presto! you're on your way. When you're done, dock the bike at any station.



The key box is on top of the baggage carrier so you can't give a ride to a friend, but a  pannier with hooks fits very well onto the carrier.

Nothing is more comfortable than your own bike, of course. But to give a guest the pleasure of touring our town the way it was meant to be seen: outdoors and at a leisurely pace, you can't beat this bikeshare program.

Happy Thanksgiving!





Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Princeton Parking Study meeting 20 November

The consultants on Princeton's Parking Study are to present their key findings on the study as well as their draft recommendations, at a community Open House on Monday, November 20, 2017, 6.30 - 8.30 pm at the Nassau Inn in Palmer Square.

Parking spots and bicycle lanes compete for the precious public space on our streets, especially in the downtown area, which is a popular after-school destination for our children. Please contribute with your advocacy for safe bike and walk infrastructure in our town, while keeping in mind the varied mobility needs of all our neighbors.

The excellent consultants from Nelson Nygaard are expected to present some innovative solutions to our parking issues, but residents know our town better than anyone, so bring to the discussion your creative ideas for optimizing downtown access for everyone!

Since the parking study is funded by a grant to promote the economic vitality of our downtown, you may be interested in using this rather long list of studies that show how bike & walk traffic benefit businesses, from large cities like New York to smaller communities like Oakland, CA.

If you need to catch up on what's happened in the parking study so far, slides from previous parking study presentations (pdf) can be downloaded from Princeton's Parking Study page.







Saturday, November 4, 2017

It's Fall. Helmets on!

Cool weather has finally arrived, and that means things falling from above.

Be extra careful when it's raining, as wet leaves are slippery. If you see bike lanes blocked by leaf piles or brush, you can report it at Access Princeton - yes, it's available as an app, which makes it easy to upload photos.

Princeton is home to a rather large number of osage orange trees. I've been told these were used as meadow separators, back when the Princeton core was surrounded by farmland. Osage orange trees have pretty leaves, fearsome spikes, and heavy fruit. Really heavy fruit that tends to hit the ground with a thud. Public Works does a good job of pruning them back periodically, but of course they keep growing, with their branches hanging over the streets.

Another good reason to wear your helmet!




Thursday, November 2, 2017

Re: [PBAC-public] Support Bicycle Mobility Plan at meeting TONIGHT

>    A reminder that the Planning Board meeting is TODAY at 7.30pm
>     (As David Cohen has pointed out, there is no set ending time for the meeting.)


I'd be quite happy to get one single thing out of this way-overblown BMP process:

    I really want the contra-flow bike path on Spring, from Witherspoon to Vandeventer !

My problem:  what I want, instead of standing by itself, is just one of 3 elements embedded
within "The Wiggle". What is The Wiggle ? It's something in San Francisco. Do I think, after
biking around here for 23 years, The Wiggle, as defined, makes much sense ? No. Do I
think there should be some mention of Vandeventer, which is busy and dangerous, in
The Wiggle ? Yes. Do I think they'll be willing to flip around all the stop signs, for example
on Chestnut, to convert Spruce to a Bike Boulevard ? No. So do I think "The Wiggle" will
ever happen ?  No.  But hey, it looks good on paper. But is that what "planning" is all about ?

Meanwhile, I want that contra-flow lane. Obvious.  Even if it has gotten lost amid the verbiage.



"The Wiggle" Provides an alternative route across the downtown parallel 
to Nassau Street and the Hamilton Avenue corridor. Improvements include: 

Quarry Park Path (Harrison Street to Spruce Street) | Improved Shared Use Path 
The existing asphalt path provides a connection between Harrison Street and Spruce Street 
for bicyclists and pedestrians only. The following path improvements should made to provide a 
more comfortable and safe facility: 
- Path should be widened to maintain an 8 to 10-foot cross section where possible to facilitate two-way travel and use by both bicyclists and pedestrians; 
- Low-profile lighting should be installed to allow use of path after sunset. 

Spruce Street/Moore Street/ Park Place (Quarry Park to Spring Street) | Bicycle Boulevard 
The existing low speed, low volume residential street is suitable for bicycle boulevard designation and supportive improvements. Wayfinding is an important element to help cyclists navigate the circuitous nature of the route. Maintains existing LTS 1. 

Spring Street (Vandeventer Street to Witherspoon Street) | Contra-flow Bicycle Lane 
The one-way street is approximately 25 feet wide, providing sufficient width to accommodate a contra-flow bicycle lane without impacting on-street parking and enhancing access into the downtown. Creates LTS 1 facility for westbound bicyclists.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bike-friendliness survey

PeopleForBikes is a national bicycle advocacy group. They are conducting a community survey on bike riders' experience in their cities and towns. The survey, which asks both how bikeable our town is and how you think it's improving, forms part of their City Ratings report that will be published in spring 2018.

It is rather telling that Jersey City is on their drop-down menu for New Jersey but you have to enter Princeton by hand.

To have your opinion included, please complete the survey by December 8.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

a few recent articles about bike share


Are there swarms of e-bikes in our future ? 

Washington could soon bypass Portland, Ore., as the American city with the highest 
share of bicycle commuters, due in part to growing competition among bike-borrowing
programs, according to census data and cycling enthusiasts. 

Five companies are vying for real estate in the capital's bike-share market, offering GPS-
tracked bikes that lock themselves without a central kiosk. The newest bike-share offering 
— Jump, which arrived last Monday — uses an electric motor to bolster manual pedaling, 
so riders do not have to break a sweat.












Friday, September 29, 2017

Canal Pointe Boulevard has a bike lane

Congratulations to West Windsor for "completing" Canal Pointe Boulevard, which now has a bicycle lane in both directions.



There is now one lane for cars going each way. A left-turn lane at each intersection makes this road much safer: in the former four lane configuration, people making a left turn from the "fast" lane would get rear-ended with depressing regularity. A dedicated left-turn lane will end that.

The bike lane is clearly marked, with a no-parking sign added, to make sure the message gets across.

Together with the new bike lane on Alexander Road, Canal Pointe Boulevard now provides a much safer bike route from Princeton to the MarketFair mall (with the cinema and the Barnes and Noble), Windsor Green (with the Staples) and even West Windsor Plaza (with the Lowe's), if you bike on the sidewalk of the bridge crossing Route 1.

You do need to be super careful at the north end of Canal Pointe Boulevard where it meets Alexander Road: there are no bike lanes for the first 50 yards or so. Maybe one day the bike lanes will be connected and Canal Pointe Boulevard will become a completely Complete Street.

As is, this version of Canal Pointe Boulevard is a vast improvement over the previous version, which had two car lanes each way with no bike lanes and no provision for a safe left turn.




Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ride in George Washington's footsteps – 30 July

Join the East Coast Greenway for a rare opportunity to bike a traffic-free Canal Road in Franklin Township on Sunday, July 30!



This family-friendly bike ride will go from Route 518 in Rocky Hill to the Griggstown Causeway on Canal Road. We'll take a break there (food and drinks available, or bring your own) and then head back on the D&R Canal towpath (which is part of the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway) for a 7-mile round-trip adventure. You can also choose to peel off and return on your own.

What was George Washington doing here and who was his spy? You'll have to join us to find out!

Free event, but you must register.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Introducing the 2017 NJ Complete Streets Design Guide

The Traffic Calming Ad Hoc Task Group of Princeton's Complete Streets Committee would like to draw your attention to the newly issued 2017 NJ Complete Streets Design Guide (PDF, 25MB). Princeton's municipal decision makers now have an authoritative guide to traffic calming measures that has the seal of approval of the NJ Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. 





What has changed from prior advisories from the state – and makes this document truly significant – is that the NJ DOT now prioritizes safety and place making rather than speed and throughput for car traffic


"Traffic calming is a system of road design and management approaches that balances vehicular traffic on streets with other uses. It reinforces the idea that streets should create and preserve a sense of place instead of solely facilitating vehicles passing through at the greatest allowable speed."


We propose that the municipality use this guide, moving forward, in the implementation of our Complete Streets policy. In fact, the guide codifies the ongoing efforts of town staff and committees to calm traffic in Princeton to improve the safety and accessibility of all streets, in all neighborhoods, for all users of the roadway.



Need for Traffic Calming in Princeton


Crashes

Traffic calming is an important component of road safety, as many studies have shown that in a crash, higher motor vehicle speeds cause more serious injury and more fatalities, particularly when the crash also involves a person on bike or on foot. This chart from the design guide shows that doubling speeds from 20 to 40 mph increases the risk of pedestrian fatalities by a factor of 17.




This map highlights the high number of car crashes in general on our busiest streets as well as specific danger spots.




NJDOT Car Crash data 2001-2014 by Code For Princeton 

Bubbles indicate number of car crashes; original interactive map here.



Speeding

Princeton is home to a variety of streets including municipal and county roads, state and federal highways. Speeding occurs on all of them, as evidenced by data from speed cameras. In the graphs, the red line indicates the posted speed limit; the blue columns indicate the distribution of recorded speeds.





Speedcam data provided by the Princeton Police Department


When considering the data, please remember that studies have shown that "Your Speed Is" readouts are effective at reducing drivers' speed. One quantitative study shows that cars' speed is 3-8 mph lower when a "Your Speed Is" readout is present, compared to when it is not. The speedcam data therefore shows Princeton drivers at their best behavior, that is, more closely abiding by speed limits.




2017 NJ Complete Streets Design Guide 


The NJ Complete Streets Design Guide will enable Princeton to implement its Complete Streets policy with the assurance that strategies covered by the guide are evidence based and endorsed by NJDOT and FHWA.


The design guide provides:

  • guidance on adopting and implementing a Complete Streets policy, public policy changes that can help facilitate implementation, and strategies for integrating Complete Streets into the planning and design process; 
  • a range of tools and treatment options that can be used to enhance a street's safety, mobility, access, and vitality. This includes guidance on ADA accessibility.

The guide also corrects two widely held perceptions that are traditional barriers to making streets safe and accessible for all users. As the guide notes, contrary to these perceptions:


Posting a speed limit does not necessarily slow down cars. Among the guide's prescriptions to slow down car traffic are narrowing car travel lanes ("road diet" and "lane diet") and using visual cues that make drivers want to slow down. The guide describes many more effective strategies to slow traffic. 


Reduced vehicular capacity does not necessarily lead to congestion. The guide introduces the idea of traffic evaporation, which means that when road capacity is reduced, vehicle volumes can actually respond by decreasing in similar proportion. In other words, "If you don't build it, they won't come". 






Monday, June 19, 2017

Consultants' Findings from Princeton Parking Study

Consultants Nelson Nygaard presented findings from Princeton's ongoing Parking Study on June 14. A PDF file of the slides can be downloaded from Princeton's Parking Study page.

The presentation is packed with interesting information about the current parking situation in our town. Just to whet your appetite:

• There is a total of 7,025 parking spaces in the downtown core.
• Those parking spaces are at most 53% occupied (peak demand is at lunch time).
• The Spring Street municipal garage is used at a higher rate than the commercial garages due to lower pricing and validation options.
• Nearly 90% of customers and employees drive alone to downtown.





The presentation touches on a few ideas on parking management, but the main takeaway is this: Princeton needs to be pro-active about parking. We need to first determine what kind of parking availability we want, then design a parking system that will give us that kind of availability.

There is a suite of strategies to help us get there This could be an effective pricing structure. It could be a "payment in lieu" scheme where a new development is allowed to build less parking than specified by the town requirements, in lieu of an annual payment that could go towards funding - say - more public transit; It could be time sharing parking, e.g. where private parking restricted to office employees are opened to customers of restaurants after office hours. These are mentioned at the end of the presentation.

The updated numbers (total 7,025 parking spaces, of which 1,633 on-street) are significant for the Bicycle Master Plan. We have identified 176 on-street parking spaces on key corridors, removal of which would complete a low-stress bicycle network  (Witherspoon St and the Hamilton - Wiggins corridor). According to the updated numbers, those 176 spaces are 2.5% of the total number of parking spaces downtown.

Princeton's Engineering Department invites your comments and/or questions after reviewing the presentation. Please send them to engineering@princetonnj.gov. The parking consultants will be formulating an approach over the summer; a public meeting to discuss draft strategies is slated for September.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

PBAC Research Relevant to Parking Study

With the opportunity of the Parking Study, the Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee undertook research on parking policies for Princeton to encourage a Bike & Walk lifestyle that is healthier for residents and visitors, alleviates traffic congestion in our downtown core, helps Princeton decarbonize our transportation, and contributes to vibrant business districts.


Based on the findings, PBAC:

  • Requests inclusion of bicycle parking in the study;
  • Offers parking strategies that allows other communities to provide access for all.


Bicycle Parking

Even a cursory look at Princeton's streets show bicycles chained to parking meters, street furniture and trees. 




PBAC requests that bicycle parking be included in the parking study. Designated bicycle parking, such as on-street bike corrals, can free up sidewalk space for pedestrians. 


We refer to the chapter in the Bicycle Master Plan that covers parking, as well as to our earlier recommendations for bike parking (March, 2017).


We further suggest that large-scale bicycle parking be provided for special events with large attendance, such as Communiversity.



Accommodate bicycle lanes on corridors with high bicycle crash rates

In the PBAC recommendation (April 2017) on the Bicycle Master Plan we have proposed putting high priority on safe bicycle infrastructure on the corridors with high incidence of bicycle crashes: Witherspoon St, the Paul Robeson / Wiggins / Hamilton corridor (as well as North Harrison St). In the BMP, Parsons Brinckerhoff recommended that the car parking on these corridors be converted into bicycle lanes. 


Removing on-street parking on these key corridors would:

  • Encourage more bicycle traffic into the downtown area
  • Help restore the visual aspect of the historic core
  • Enhance the vibrancy of downtown businesses


Our research indicated that there are 176 car parking spaces along these corridors, or about 4% of the roughly 4200 spaces within the area of the current parking study.





On-Street Parking: priority for mobility-challenged

It is PBAC's position that destinations like the library, shops and restaurants must be accessible to everyone, regardless of their mobility.


We would therefore propose that priority for on-street parking be given to to the mobility challenged: the handicapped, the very elderly, and families with very young children. These designated parking spaces are to be sited on side streets as close as possible to the priority corridors (Witherspoon and Wiggins / Hamilton).


Time-share: parking / bike lanes

Princeton has an overnight parking ban on many of its streets, particularly in the downtown core. PBAC proposes that on corridors where this is appropriate, the overnight parking ban be replaced by a parking ban during daylight hours, when the parking lane is used as a bicycle lane.


On the other hand, in recognition that everyone has reasons for large celebrations several times during one's lifetime, we propose that designated bicycle lanes can be temporarily re-purposed as parking lanes, when properly marked as such, by permit from the town. This allows residents on streets with bike lanes to host large gatherings at their homes.








Intercept Parking outside historic center

Intercept parking keeps cars outside the downtown core, reducing traffic congestion and pollution. It is implemented in many cities and towns with an scenic or historic core. It helps reclaim the historic "feel" and contributes to both traffic calming and a vibrant retail sector. In Princeton's case, intercept parking spaces could be counted towards the number of spaces required for retail space.


Princeton University, as part of its campus expansion plan, is proposing to implement Intercept Parking: University staff and students commuting to Princeton from the Route 1 corridor are to be directed into a parking garage situated close to Route 1, from where they transfer onto either Tiger Transit or Zagster bikeshare to reach their destination on campus. 


In our municipality, a precedent for Intercept Parking has been set by the Harrison Street Shopping Center, which sponsored a free shuttle to and from Communiversity.


A bike share station as well as shuttle service is crucial for Intercept Parking sites that are farther removed than walking distance from Palmer Square. For shuttle service to be effective, its frequency should be four times per hour or more.


The map below indicates the existing downtown parking garages (red "P"s) and sites where Intercept Parking (blue "P"s) might be possible. These sites could be used to expand on the Intercept Parking site proposed by Princeton University.


Possible sites for intercept parking (blue "P" on map):

- Monument Drive lot [ Rt 206 intercept ] 

- YMCA lot [ Rt 206 intercept ] 

- Lot at Valley / Mt Lucas / Terhune [ Rt 206 intercept ] 

- Harrison St shopping center lot [ Rt 206 intercept ] 

- Whole Earth and/or Bank of America lots [ Rt 27 intercept ] 

- Princeton University site proposed near Washington Rd [ Rt 1 intercept ] 




Wayfinding signs are a crucial element of successful Intercept Parking design. If the parking sites are garages, an availability indicator can be built in with relative ease.


Where necessary, Intercept Parking can take the form of a multilevel parking garage, possibly suitable for mixed use (with e.g. retail at street level). Parking garages are extremely efficient in footprint, as is illustrated in the comparison between the Princeton core and Quaker Bridge Mall. 


   

Approx 2200 parking spaces within area shown of downtown Princeton (left map),

Approx 10,000 parking spaces at Quaker Bridge Mall (right map; both maps to same scale).




Managing Parking Demand through Pricing

PBAC acknowledges that the elimination of on-street parking in the corridors with high risk to bicycles will mean a decrease in parking revenue from those parking meters. 


We offer several proposals for redesigning the parking rate structure, both to recover revenue from removed on-street meters, and to incentivise biking and walking rather than taking the car into town:

  • On street parking to be shortest term and most expensive
  • Enforcement for on street parking to be tightened
  • Rates in the municipal garage (Spring St) to be the same as in commercial garages
  • Municipal garage to offer lower rates to those who need a car: the handicapped, the very elderly, families with very young children. The precedent for this is that the commercial garages offer reduced rates to church groups, nearby residents, etc.)
  • Rates can be raised for events like Communiversity and Commencement
  • Rates for Intercept Parking to be significantly lower than for downtown parking.


Currently, on-street parking on Nassau St is cheaper than in the municipal garage on Spring St, which in turn is cheaper than parking in the commercial garages. The chart assumes that you "feed" the on-street meter. It happens.