Princeton Bike Month Presents Wealth Of Opportunities For All
By Donald Gilpin
Beta bike lanes, a new bike corral, Ciclovia, valet bike parking, the Bike Rodeo, the Police Unity Tour, Bike To School Day, Bike To Work Week — May is National Bike Month, and Princeton police, municipal engineers, Council members and Bicycle Advisory Committee members are taking the lead.
“This is all part of a bike culture that we’re trying to build in town, keeping pace with changes in our community,” said Council member Tim Quinn as he discussed the creation of experimental beta bike lanes on Wiggins Street and Hamilton Avenue from the Princeton Public Library to Walnut Lane.
The experiment will provide two dedicated bike lanes on this busy thoroughfare over a ten day period from May 19-29. “It will be a demonstration of what this road could look like,” Quinn said. Bike riders will have the opportunity to enjoy a more comfortable biking experience, minimizing competition for space on the roadway and on the sidewalk. On-street parking will be suspended on that stretch of Wiggins-Hamilton during the ten-day period.
“What happens if we provide students at Princeton High School and John Witherspoon Middle School with a safer way to ride to school and to downtown and the library?” Quinn asked. “Some people have asked why we didn’t think of this sooner. Bike lanes are good for everyone: pedestrians, motorists, and bikers—and a win-win-win for the neighborhood.”
Volunteers are needed for two-hour stints on Friday afternoon, May 18, and Saturday morning, May 19, to help install the temporary bike lane markings, under the supervision of the Princeton Police Department (PPD) and the Municipal Engineering Department. Sign up on the princetonnj.gov website.
Quinn and his colleagues will be monitoring the effects of the beta lanes, engaging the neighborhood and examining how people feel about the lanes. Bike and pedestrian counters will be used to measure traffic before, during, and after the installation of the bike lanes.
Many rode bicycles to Communiversity on April 29 and took advantage of valet bike parking on the lawn at HiTops. The Bicycle Advisory Committee reports parking a total of 65 human-powered vehicles, including bikes, strollers, and scooters.
Last Sunday’s fifth annual Princeton Ciclovia event took place on Quaker Road, which was closed to car traffic and taken over by non-motorized vehicles. The Chasing George ride from Trenton was canceled because of the Saturday night rain’s effect on the tow path, but George Washington appeared, as did the food trucks, and tours of the Updike Farmhouse, home of the Historical Society of Princeton, proceeded as planned.
In further news for Princeton bicyclists, Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton has announced that a bike corral will be set up on Witherspoon Street near the library by the end of next week. There will be bike parking available with bike racks. Stockton emphasized the need for additional options for bike parking in town, with the expectation that additional parking options will encourage more people to ride bikes.
Several officers from the Princeton Police Department (PPD) are participating this week, May 9-12, in the Police Unity Tour, a yearly event to honor police who have died in the line of duty. The participants ride from Northern New Jersey to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Other biking events include the PPD’s annual Bike Rodeo for area youngsters on Saturday, May 19 in the parking lot of the Municipal Building on Witherspoon Street, as well as Bike to School Day May 9 and Bike to Work Week May 14-18.