Posted by: bikenwalk | October 28, 2008

New website gives West Windsor ‘curb appeal’

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Nearly a million bicyclists and pedestrians in the US went to emergency rooms last year for bike and walking -related injuries. A surprising amount of these injuries came from improper sidewalk and crosswalk conditions. Improper crosswalk markings, or faded markings, can lead to a miscommunication between bikes and pedestrians and cars, leading to severe or deadly injuries.

To get an idea of the sidewalk conditions in their neighborhood, the people of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance (WWBPA) surveyed over 200 crosswalks in West Windsor, NJ. The volunteers from the WWBPA and the McGraw-Hill company collected data on the slope of sidewalk, the condition of the concrete, and any crosswalk markings at each destination. The data has been recently uploaded onto an interactive website, created by Vertices LLC., that allows locals citizens to view the data collected by the WWBPA in an easy to use format. You can use the search criteria to find sidewalks with missing crosswalk signs, missing or malfunctioning walk signs, missing or dysfunctional curb cut slope, and much more. You can also simply click on any sidewalk on the map, or enter the address of the sidewalk where indicated, and a grid will appear to the left of the map will all relevant information regarding that crosswalk. The amount of information that is presented, and that can be extracted, from this website is almost overwhelming. Look for great things to come from this website and this data.

Visit the WWBPA website at: maps.gismap.us/wwbpa

Posted by: bikenwalk | October 24, 2008

Rutgers University set to get new bike path

An article in this Wednesday’s Daily Targum, the official student newspaper of Rutgers University, annonced plans for the City of New Brunswick to install a bike path between the College Avenue and Cook/Douglass. The path will start in Buccleuch Park and end on Bishop Street on Cook/Douglass campus. Various ideas were brought up for possible commuting routes between the two campuses. George Street, the main road through New Brunswick and a direct route from College Ave. to Cook/Douglass, was determined to be to highly traffic for installing a bike path. The decided route will keep students several blocks away from the major traffic of George Street and the Route 18 on ramps. I think that this has the potential to be the most used bike path at Rutgers. Going through New Brunswick between these two campuses via bus or car can take up to an hour due to the traffic on George Street and the construction on Route 18. However, the same trip can be made by bike in approximately 15 minutes, anytime of day regardless of traffic. These paths will be a great step forward in making Rutgers University a more bike friendly campus.

Posted by: bikenwalk | October 24, 2008

NJ in top 10 of most ‘Bikefriendly’ States

In the League of American Cyclists’ annual report on the most bike friendly states New Jersey cracked the top 10, coming in 9th out of all 50 states. The reasons given for New Jersey’s high ranking were that New jersey has funding and plans in place for mountain biking and commuter biking trails that will help promote cycling across the state. what help New Jersey back from being even higher on the list is that there are no safe pass laws put into place in terms of cars passing cyclists. Coming in first was Washington state for its tremendous funding, facilities, and regulations regarding bicycling. In 50th was West Virginia whom, although does have a very nice system of mountain bike trails, does not have any state funding to promote or support cycling in the state.

To view the rank of all 50 states visit the League of American Bicyclist webpage at www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/

Posted by: bikenwalk | October 23, 2008

Bike Accident Data Available for New Jersey

A fact not known by many is that bike accident data for New Jersey, and most other states for that matter, post the location and description of every accident reported to local or state police officials. While this information is interesting to lookat in terms of the table on the website, it really doesn’t give you a sense of where and why the accidents are happening. Fortunately, Vertices LLC., in conjucntion with the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance (WWBPA) will be putting all bike crash inforation regarding West Windsor, NJ in an online, interactive mapping website. The website will also contain all sidewalk-quality data collected earlier this year by the WWBPA. So check the website www.mappler.com/wwbpa in the coming weeks to look at the relationship betwee road conditions and accident locaitons, I think you will be surprised.

Posted by: bikenwalk | October 21, 2008

Free Bikes for College Students

his article from the New York Times talks about a growing trend across the nation, giving students bikes to ease the strain on parking. It raises the question if it is less expensive to literally give students bikes than have them park on campus, then why don’t cities and states put more money into cycling?

With Free Bikes, Challenging Car Culture on Campus

Published: October 19, 2008

BIDDEFORD, Me. — When Kylie Galliani started at the University of New England in August, she was given a key to her dorm, a class schedule and something more unusual: a $480 bicycle.

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The University of New England

Bicycles to be given to freshmen at the University of New England in Biddeford, Me.

The University of New England

The University of New England bikes are personalized. Free or subsidized bike programs at colleges have had mixed success.

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“I was like, ‘A free bike, no catch?’ ” Ms. Galliani, 17, a freshman from Fort Bragg, Calif., asked. “It’s really an ideal way to get around the campus.”

University administrators and students nationwide are increasingly feeling that way too.

The University of New England and Ripon College in Wisconsin are giving free bikes to freshmen who promise to leave their cars at home. Other colleges are setting up free bike sharing or rental programs, and some universities are partnering with bike shops to offer discounts on purchases.

The goal, college and university officials said, is to ease critical shortages of parking and to change the car culture that clogs campus roadways and erodes the community feel that comes with walking or biking around campus.

“We’re seeing an explosion in bike activity,” said Julian Dautremont-Smith, associate director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, a nonprofit association of colleges and universities. “It seems like every week we hear about a new bike sharing or bike rental program.”

While many new bike programs are starting up, some are shutting down because of problems with theft and vandalism. The program at St. Mary’s College in Maryland was suspended because bikes were being vandalized.

“Ours was one that was totally based on voluntary taking care of the bike,” said Chip Jackson, a spokesman for St. Mary’s, “and I guess that was maybe a tad unwise. So the next generation of this idea will have a few more checks and balances.”

At Ripon, and the University of New England, officials say that giving students a bike of their own might encourage them to be more responsible. Ripon’s president, David C. Joyce, a competitive mountain biker, said the free bike idea came in a meeting about how to reduce cars on campus.

The college committed $50,000 to the program and plans to continue it with next year’s freshmen. Some 200 Trek mountain bikes, helmets and locks were bought, and about 180 freshmen signed up for the program. “We did it as a means of reducing the need for parking,” Dr. Joyce said, “but as we looked at it from the standpoint of fitness, health and sustainability, we realized we have the opportunity to create a change.”

The University of New England here in Biddeford had a similar problem — too many cars, not enough space and a desire to make the campus greener. So it copied the Ripon program, handing out 105 bikes in the first week of school. Because of the program, only 25 percent of freshmen brought cars with them this year, officials said, compared with 75 percent last year.

“We felt the campus could devolve to asphalt parking lots, and a lot of people didn’t want that to happen,” said Michael Daley, head of the university’s environmental council and a professor of economics.

The bikes are marked with each student’s name.

“I don’t have to fill it with gas, and it doesn’t hurt the environment,” said Kaitlyn Birwell, 18. “With a car, you need a parking permit, gas, and it breaks down. I’m a college student and don’t have the money for that.”

Michelle Provencal, 18, said she hopes her bike will help her avoid a dreaded side effect of being a college freshman. “Maybe instead of gaining the freshman 15 I’ll lose it,” Ms. Provencal said.

When Mercer University in Macon, Ga., asked for donations of old bikes, it received 60, which are being fixed up and painted orange and black, the university colors. Forty are available for weeklong rentals, and Mercer has organized mass rides to downtown Macon, about three miles away, to promote the program.

“A lot of students haven’t ridden a bike since middle school or even younger, but when they get back on it their faces light up,” said Allan J. Rene de Cotret, director of the program. “So why not leave your car parked where you live or back home with your parents and ride your bike around campus?”

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Emory University has partnered with Fuji Bikes and Bicycle South, a local bike shop, to provide 50 bikes that can be rented at no charge at six spots on campus. Students can also buy Fuji bikes at a discount and receive a free helmet, lock and lights from Emory.

Students, faculty and staff can go to a rental station, show their Emory ID and check out bikes. The program plans to add 70 more bikes and four checkout points in the next year. In addition, about 150 bikes have been sold through thepartnership in the past year, said Jamie Smith, who runs the program, called Bike Emory.

“We like the idea of bolstering the cycling culture here,” Mr. Smith said, “and ultimately it supports alternative transportation.”

Bikes at some campuses were treated as toys rather than transportation. Others were difficult to maintain or were not used.

“The kids weren’t taking care of the bikes, leaving them wherever instead of parking them in the bike racks,” said John Wall, a spokesman for Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., which eliminated its two-year-old bike-sharing program this year. “The other problem was that the bikes weren’t the greatest to begin with. They were donated by Wal-Mart, and others were rehabbed. They had also been out in the weather. It just didn’t work out.”

The elements are a concern at other universities as well. More than 150 students at the University at Buffalo signed up for a city bike-sharing program that has drop-off points on campus, but it suspends service from November to April.

“It’s hard to maintain all the bikes during winter, and usage drops dramatically,” said Jim Simon, an associate environmental educator at Buffalo.

Here at the University of New England, officials wonder what will happen when snow starts falling, but they are looking toward bike-sharing programs in cities like Copenhagen and Montreal as proof that they can work in the cold.

St. Xavier University in Chicago this month is unveiling the first computer-driven bike sharing system on a college campus.

Students can wave their ID card over a docking port. The port is attached to a rubber tube, which can be used as a lock and opened by entering an access code. Students must enter the bike’s condition before it can be unlocked. The system is used in Europe, but with credit cards.

The first 15 minutes are free, and users pay 60 cents for each additional 15 minutes, or $2.40 per hour. All 925 resident students automatically become members through their ID cards. The system was intended to be environmentally friendly, with solar panels powering the ports.

A tracking system similar to G.P.S. will keep tabs on the bikes.

“You can’t throw it in Lake Michigan,” said Paul Matthews, the university’s vice president for facilities management, “because we’ll know if you throw it in Lake Michigan.”

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Posted by: bikenwalk | October 17, 2008

New Data for the WWBPA

A few months ago the West Windsor Bicycling and Pedestrian Alliance (WWBPA), based out of West Windsor, NJ collected data on the sidewalk conditions of hundreds of crosswalks within their township. The event was put on to raise awareness of individuals with disabilities and quantify the difficulties these individuals face trying to traverse their local streets. The event was a complete success. Tons of data on street walk safety were collected, you can read more about the event at wwbpa.wordpress.com. Now that the group has had time to process the data, the WWBPA will begin to upload their data onto their mapping site. There site (www.mappler.com/wwbpa) already contains a lot of information regarding bicycle and pedestrian accidents in the are, as well as scenic spots, historic locations, and various bike and walking routes. The addition of the crosswalk data will give the citizens of West Windsor, NJ a comprehensive source of information regarding walking and biking in their community. The WWBPA should be commended for their tireless efforts in trying to make their township as bike and pedestrian friendly, and handicapped accessible, as they can. Again, their website is www.mappler.com/wwbpa

WWBPA Mappler Site

WWBPA Mappler Site

Posted by: bikenwalk | October 16, 2008

Better Biker, Better President?

With the Presidential Election just around the corner, the worlds attention (when not distracted by the lack of money everywhere) is focused on two individuals, Sen. John McCain and Sen Barack Obama. So since everything has been focused on these two gentlemen, I thought I should look at the two Presidential hopefuls from a two-wheeled perspective. One of the most popular images that has associated Sen. Obama with cycling is the one below:

Sen. Obama Commuting in Chicago

While I admit that Sen. Obama looks somewhat “dorky”, if you go beyond the tucked in polo and oh-so-tight whitewashed jeans you would see that he is wearing a properly fitting helmet, in a bike lane, and is toting one of the Obama Bunch with a trailer. Overall he looks like a pretty solid commuter.

What gives Obama my respect as a cyclist is when he showed up to Indiana University’s little 500, a 500 lap race of 4 person teams around a quarter m

ile track. Any Presidential canidate who will support track racing has got my vote.

Sen. Obama at Little 500 at Indiana Univ.

Images of Sen. McCain on or around bikes could not be found. John, seriously, biking can improve your cardiovascular fitness. When you hear people shouting, “4 more years” you want it to be becuase they want you in office for another term, not because they think that’s how much time you have left on this earth.

On a more serious note, in Barack Obama’s campaign, he has committed himself to pursuing alternative forms of transportation. Here is a quote from the Barack Obama Campaign website:

“As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account. Obama will build upon his efforts in the Senate to ensure that more Metropolitan Planning Organizations create policies to incentivize greater bicycle and pedestrian usage of roads and sidewalks, and he will also re-commit federal resources to public mass transportation projects across the country. Building more livable and sustainable communities will not only reduce the amount of time individuals spent commuting, but will also have significant benefits to air quality, public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sen. McCain, “hasn’t released a formal policy identified as targeting urban issues”.

So far, Sen. Obama is out to a commanding lead in the realm of urban transportation policy, but as cyclist know a lot can change in the last leg of a race. So from now until Nov. 4th we will see how viewpoints and opinions of each candidates change. My final plea to both candidates, don’t go mountain biking, apparently it doesn’t bode well for presidents.

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A Great "Spokes-man"
Posted by: Wansoo | July 31, 2008

Ripon College: Ahead of the curve

Ripon College is a small, Wisconson, liberal arts college with one big problem . . . cars. In lue of a serious parking shortage, Ripon President David C. Joyce started a program called The Velorution. President Joyce vowed to give a free, $400 bike kit (trek mountain bike, helmet, and lock) to any frist-year student who signed a form saying they would not bring their car to campus. For more information on the Ripon College Velorution click here.

Posted by: bikenwalk | July 28, 2008

Brag about your commute with MapMyRide

The Mappler Websites is a great resource for finding and sharing routes for biking and walking. However, once you find that route, the special awesome route that you want to brag about. Check out MapMyRide, a community of cyclist, and a few runners, who post rides that they particularly like. This, like mappler, is a great way to share and create communities.

To visit MapMyRide click here

Here is a favorite ride of mine

A hilly route in Maryland

A hilly route in Maryland

Posted by: Wansoo | July 25, 2008

Bike Maps in the UK, a jolly good time

London is becoming one of the bike capitals of the world. Read the paragraph and check out the link below for more details on the UK bike map.

From: www.sustrans.org.uk

Get cycling

Sustrans is the co-ordinator of the hugely popular National Cycle Network. Offering over 12,000 miles of walking and cycle routes on traffic-free paths, quiet lanes and traffic-calmed roads, there is now 75% of the UK population living within two miles of a route! The Network is well signed. It connects towns and villages, countryside and coast throughout the UK.

So if you’re looking to walk or cycle to work, the shops, school, railway station or just spend some much needed leisure time walking or cycling then why not discover your nearest National Cycle Network route?

Download a copy of our 2008 National Cycle Network map illustrating routes throughout the UK – published Feb 08 (PDF).

Our interactive mapping within this section can help you find your nearest route – just enter your postcode. There are many ideas and free maps available to help you along. The Sustrans shop stocks useful maps, guides and accessories to ensure you make the most of your time on the Network.

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