To the Editor:
As residents of Hamilton Avenue, we would like to express our gratitude to our elected officials and volunteers who worked on the implementation of the Beta Bike Lane study. The Wiggins-Hamilton corridor is the preferred approach to downtown and Princeton University for many commuters and residents of Princeton, as well as the main artery between downtown and PHS, JWMS, and Westminster.
For years, cyclists of all ages have chosen to ride on the Wiggins-Hamilton corridor; however, because of the traffic volume and lack of space for them to ride, cyclists frequently ride on the sidewalk. The sidewalks are not designed to accommodate traffic for both cyclists and pedestrians, creating an unsafe condition for the near-constant flow of pedestrian traffic which includes people walking with dogs and young children walking to and from school.
Cyclists that choose to ride in the street slow down traffic and are forced to deal with hostile drivers and unsafe conditions as a result of parked cars.
Cycling and walking are increasingly popular forms of transport. As such, we are encouraged to see that Princeton is studying ways to embrace and support them to confront traffic, pollution, and obesity-related health issues. Creating bike lanes on the Wiggins-Hamilton corridor is a logical step toward the goal of having “complete streets” in town, and acknowledges and supports already-existing laws that give cyclists equal rights and access to the road.
We realize that some residents are concerned about losing the (free) parking spaces in the Wiggins-Hamilton corridor (the loss of parking spaces in front of our home would inconvenience us personally as well). However, it is clear to us that, after having lived with the Beta Bike Lane, the benefits of having bike lanes far outweigh the negatives. One big improvement that we immediately noticed was the improved visibility which resulted from the elimination of on-street parking, making both biking and driving significantly safer.
We strongly support the creation of a permanent bike lane in the Wiggins-Hamilton corridor and ask our elected officials to take action to make the bike lanes permanent.
Lauren and Nick Valvanis