Friday, March 31, 2017

PBAC Bicycle Master Plan Recommendations

The Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) has reviewed the final report on the Bicycle Master Plan. In general we strongly support the report's findings, including most of the proposed network mapped out in the report. 

Connected Low-Stress Network
To meet Princeton's goals of encouraging bicycle use by the majority of potential riders (those who are "willing but concerned"), Princeton needs a network of bicycle routes with low traffic stress, and the recommendations provide much guidance to get us there.

PBAC has a major concern, however.  The proposal unfortunately leaves key routes--to downtown, to the shopping center and the municipal building—at a high level of stress for most riders.

Adapted from Parson Brinckerhoff report

The attached map (Stress Map) vividly illustrates the gaps in the proposed network.
We note that the segments missing from a low-stress network are also dangerous problem corridors; a crash map (Bike Crashes 2003-2015) shows that car-on-bicycle crashes most frequently occur on Witherspoon St, Harrison St and the Wiggins-Hamilton corridor, as well as on Nassau St.

Map by Code For Princeton; see

We therefore urge a significant strengthening of the proposed bicycle network by going beyond the proposed designs in the report and lowering the traffic stress on the streets listed below, in the near term:

1. Hamilton - Wiggins corridor
2. Witherspoon St: from Valley Rd to Nassau St
3. Harrison St: from Clearview Ave to Prospect St

PBAC recommends an immediate fix that is currently on the proposed map:
•  The contra-flow bike lane on Spring St., so that the "Princeton Wiggle" can serve as an interim alternate while recommended infrastructure (bike lanes) is created on Hamilton-Wiggins.

PBAC members also prioritized several segments in the plan for near-term implementation, with designs as proposed by Parsons Brinckerhoff:
1. Harrison St. from Clearview to Terhune
2. Cherry Hill Rd & Cherry Valley Rd
3. Gulick Preserve & River Road to Route 27

Safe Routes to School
PBAC prioritizes biking and walking routes to school that serve the four corners of the Princeton Public Schools district.

In addition to safe routes near elementary schools, we recommend routes at farther distances, especially aimed at Princeton Middle and High School students who live in walking distance of up to 2.5 miles to school and who do not receive bus transportation.
We note that many of these routes (See Routes to School Map, attached) will be brought up to low stress levels under the proposed plan.

However, from the perspective of Safe Routes to School, the proposed network has the following gaps:
1. Jefferson Rd from Mt Lucas Rd to Wiggins St
2. Snowden Ln from Herrontown Rd to Franklin Ave
3. Franklin Ave from Snowden Ln to Grover Ave
4. Hamilton Ave from Snowden to Leavitt Ln

5. Valley Rd

6. Hodge Rd and Paul Robeson Pl

Filling these gaps will bring the entire network up to low stress levels, which BPAC considers essential for our school children.

Adapted from Parsons Brinckerhoff report

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