In 2015, Princeton Township received funding to create a bicycle master plan (BMP) that would identify bicycle access and infrastructure needs and create a cohesive framework that could work in conjunction with Princeton’s Township master plan. On March 20th, the Bicycle Master Plan was released.
The Plan was the direct result of a two-year effort to remedy the effects of “heavy traffic volumes, lack of dedicated bicycle infrastructure” and “high traffic speeds” on the bicycle realm. The new master plan also aligns with Complete Streets initiatives completed in part by the municipality.
During the process, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert said she was “excited about the work we are doing to position Princeton for a healthy future and to ensure we remain a walkable, bikable, affordable community.” Her view closely aligns with the ultimate vision statement of the bike master plan:
Princeton values cycling as an essential form of transportation for residents, workers, and visitors, Implementation of the bicycle master plan over time creates a community that allows bicyclists of all ages and abilities to safely, comfortably, and conveniently access major destinations throughout Princeton. As a result, Princeton is a more livable, vibrant, equitable, healthy, and sustainable place, whose streets encourage people to bicycle for fun, recreation, and daily transportation.
Princeton Township views this plan as a distinct policy effort to create safer, more established bicycle infrastructure that will change how people commute, shop, spend their leisure time, and exercise.
The BMP outlines its goals, among which are safety (for all road users), connectivity and comfort (a bicycle network that connects people to stores, offices, parks, schools, etc.), health (promotion of active transportation), and finally equity and social justice (providing a viable alternative to automobile transportation). All of these goals listed in the plan are community centric goals aimed at bettering the township and represents a direct response to the needs and concerns of township residents.
During the planning process, WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff combined public outreach with an online Wikimap to allow residents to provide informed knowledge to the firm about problem areas and ideas of improvement.
The BMP explains that nearly 60% of Princeton residents say they are interested in biking but don’t because they are concerned for their safety, these people as a result, are the many demographic targeted by the plan. Some of the biggest improvements suggested in the plan are:
- Improved Bicycle Parking
- Better bicycle path connections
- Improvement of on-street bicycle facilities
- Better lighting for shared-use paths
- Improved intersection design and wayfinding
- Expansion of the existing bicycle path network
- Increased emphasis on policies such as “Safe Routes to School” which encourage bicycle education and safety
The list of improvements in the plan is lengthy and the Plan clearly outlines how each aspect of the framework will be implemented, for example, one new bicycle facility from the project will be implemented each year, with the implementation of an expanded bike share system by 2017.
Princeton residents and those living in the region should soon start looking for the improvements listed in the master plan and take part in utilizing improved infrastructure in an effort to create a more bikeable, pedestrian friendly Princeton with connections throughout the entire region.
- 170,000 motor vehicles pass through Princeton every day
- 12% of residents don’t own a car
- Princeton University makes up 30% of the township population
- Princeton adopted a complete streets policy in 2012
- Princeton received a grant from the DVRPC to implement a bicycle share system
- 46% of survey respondents worried about high volumes of traffic
- Upon completion, Princeton would have a bike network of 67 miles
- “Fear of vehicle collisions” was the number one barrier to cycling listed by survey respondents