The COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order has resulted in fewer cars on the road. Families have rediscovered the pleasure of moving about together on our feet or on our wheels, and doing so gets us out of our homes and boosts our physical and mental health. We are not alone: communities nationwide are looking to “rebalance streets,” enabling pedestrians and riders of bikes, scooters, skateboards, and mobility aids to enjoy their right to move about safely.
Princeton’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) has worked for years to increase the safety for pedestrians and bicycle riders, through our education efforts, in partnership with the public schools, PTOs, Sustainable Princeton, and Princeton Police. PBAC has helped to create Princeton’s Bicycle Mobility Plan; over ten miles of bicycle boulevards from that plan will be installed this month. We are updating Princeton’s Bicycle Map, and advising Council on a Vision
Zero policy, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safety, health and mobility for all.
Governor Murphy has announced Stage 2 of the state’s re-opening for June 15th, permitting outdoor dining. The reactions to a recent Planet Princeton Op-Ed, “The Streets Belong To The People”, show there is strong support in Princeton for the creative re-purposing of our public space. Space will be at a premium in our public roads including the sidewalks. In support of a safe re-opening, PBAC has been researching best practices for rebalancing in
other communities in New Jersey, nationwide and around the world. We are proposing Slow Streets, extended sidewalks, closed streets, and temporary bike lanes for Princeton. We have discussed our proposals with the Mayor, several members of Council, Municipal Engineer, Police, Public Works, Sustainable Princeton, and Princeton University. Ordinance #2020-14 was introduced on June 1st to Princeton Council to enable the town to put these protective measures in place. In our view the ordinance needs to call for maintaining
safety for a significantly increased number of pedestrians and bicycle riders, both for social distancing and in their interactions with motor vehicles, as well as for outdoor dining and food courts.
- We urge the town’s decision makers to be guided by our Complete Streets policy and to put the highest priority on the safety and health of all users of the streets and sidewalks. Mobility is not just about cars.
- We urgently ask Council to adopt a Speed Limit Ordinance ASAP to lower the speed
limits on Slow Streets, and any street with extended sidewalks or temporary bike lanes. This has been done in other communities for the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and customers.
- To encourage bicycle use in order to alleviate vehicle congestion downtown, and to
complete a safe bicycle network that connects major destinations around town, we
• Temporary bike lanes to be installed, including on Witherspoon Street and the
Hamilton – Wiggins – Paul Robeson corridor.
• Additional bike parking to be installed in the commercial areas in advance of Stage 2 of the reopening.
Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee