draft Way to Go Meeting Notes

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Attached and embedded below please find a draft of our January 19, 2010 meeting minutes for your review, corrections, and comments. 
Our next meeting date is Feb 16.

Bike, Pedestrian, and Transit
January 19, 2009
[Draft] Meeting Minutes
Next Meeting: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 in the Community Center located in front of the Township Municipal Building, 7:30 PM
Attending members:

Berman, Barbara - Group Chair
Berg, John
Blatt, Rob
Corson, Mike
Dougherty, Dennis
Elsas, Don
Shanas, Yaron
Shinn, Roxane
Widman, Lee


1.       News Reports
Barbara discussed two Philadelphia Inquirer news reports on the danger faced by pedestrians attempting to walk on State roadways in our area. 
A January 7, 2010 article reported that from 2006 to 2008 there were nine pedestrians killed on Route 130.  The spokesperson for the New Jersey Tri-State Transportation Campaign said, “Wide, straight roads with lots of destinations on them where people shop and work and with cars moving quickly are a dangerous mix.”  The article reported that:
 “Last month NJDOT moved to make pedestrian and bicyclist safety a priority on its projects by creating a “complete streets” policy.  It requires most highway projects include items such as sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, “countdown” pedestrian signals, median refuges, curb extensions, bike lanes and bus shelters.”
Six days later the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Camden County had 35 pedestrian fatalities between 2006 and 2008.  In Cherry Hill one-fifth of the roads do not have sidewalks.  Natalie Shafiroff, a township planner, said the number of roads left without sidewalks should dwindle in the years to come.  Barbara Berman said, “There is a huge amount of people that want to be able to walk to work or with their families on the weekends, safely.”

2.       Pedestrians Accidents
Roxane has filed another OPRA request for the accident reports involving pedestrians in Cherry Hill from January 2008 to the end of December 2009.  There are approximately twice as many pedestrian accidents as bicycle in that time period. 
After sending two officers to a Pedestrian Decoy Training Workshop on May 12, 2008, the Cherry Hill Township Traffic Safety Unit selected locations where they believed an education and enforcement detail would be effective for driver’s not yielding to a pedestrian decoy walking in a crosswalk.  The results of that study were sent by email to the Way to Go group on January 13, 2009
On June 19, 2009 the Cherry Hill Traffic Division requested to participate in the Western Michigan University Research Pedestrian Project.  The Traffic Division sited a tremendous growth of population, residential and commercial construction and increase in school enrollment, size and convenience of shopping centers resulting in an increase in pedestrian crashes.  The Division reported that in the last 22 months there were at least five fatalities involving pedestrians and several other collisions resulting in serious injuries to pedestrians. Those fatalities occurred at Brace Rd. near Rt. 70, at Edison and Rt.70, at Grove Rd. and Rt.70, at Longwood Ave. and Rt.38, and Haddonfield Rd. near Church Rd.  This increase in pedestrian collisions gained the attention of New Jersey Department of Transportation Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs (NJDOT-OBPP). In 2008 a section of Rt. 70 in Cherry Hill was selected as part of a Pedestrian Road Safety Audit by NJDOT -OBPP to contribute to the State’s goal of sustaining safe communities for pedestrians.   
3.      Bicycle Accidents
Committee members discussed the bicycle accidents occurring in Cherry Hill between 2008 and 2009.  Roxane grouped the accidents by the following categories: in parking lots, on narrow shoulders and on one-way streets, driving while intoxicated, bicyclists riding on sidewalks, and bicyclists traveling against traffic.  The analysis of each accident was emailed to the committee on January 10, 2009.
John noted, given the large percentage of bicyclist hit by automobiles in Cherry Hill while riding on the sidewalk or on the roadway shoulder against on coming traffic, we needed to create an education program for bicyclist.  Lee, who participated on a school committee whose discussions focused on the importance of education, thought a program on safe bicycling would help reduce these type bike accidents.
Mike suggested we research and create a list of health and safety fairs and events to attend with information to help educate bicyclists on ways to go safely.  Members also suggested getting bicycle safety information out through the school community, teachers, websites, adult events, the spring and fall Township festivals at Croft Farm, Earth Day (April 22), and Keswick Cycle clinics and sessions on traffic laws and bicycling safely.  Don suggested contacting the Recreation Department and the Adult Education program with an offer to provide instruction on safe bicycling and traffic laws all bicyclists should know.  Members also agreed the Cherry Hill Police and Way to Go could distribute flyers at Township events mentioned above with information on State Law NJS 39:4-14.2 (requiring bicyclists to travel on the right).  Lee will consult Lori about scheduled events in 2010 where we could distribute this information. 
4.      Way to Go Bike Ride
Dennis, Don, Lee and John said we must begin planning for a spring bicycle ride now.    Dennis and Don have participated in City to Shore Bike Tours and Don is a certified safety trainer.  He can provide instruction if the event begins in a parking lot.
5.      Bike Ride To Do List
  • Work with Township authorities and Police Department to determine date, time, route, and locations for the beginning and end of the Way to Go Ride.
  • Secure permission from Township, County, and State authorities to use their roadways
  • Form a breakdown team to give aid in the event of bicycle problems
  • Bike Valet parking at destination (bike racks, a cordoned off area, checking procedures and monitoring bikes) Use Keswick Cycle, neighborhoodbikeworks.org, or Way to Go Members
6.      Civic Associations’ Concerns with Road Conditions
Lee and Chris received responses to inquiries on community transportation safety they sent to Cherry Hill Civic Associations.  The African American, Kingston, Erlton, and other Civic Associations responded.  He said the majority of the complaints are with N.J. State Route 70, Route 70, and Route 70.  Their concerns with the condition of this State roadway also extend to their neighborhoods streets, with traffic speeds and roadway safety top priorities.  (State) Routes 70, (County) Kresson Rd., (County) Berlin-Haddonfield Rd. are the only roadways for travel from the east to west side of Cherry Hill.  These are among our most dangerous and deadly roadways for all travelers.  These roads have no continuous bicycle lanes, safe, maintained and marked shoulders, or sidewalks for pedestrians, and few if any safe crosswalks with signals. 
7.      Dangerous Locations
John said Rt.70 (State Hwy.-45MPH), crossing under Interstate 295 (Federal-65MPH) and over New Jersey Turnpike (State -65MPH), Kresson Rd. (County-40MPH) crossing over the N.J. Turnpike (State-65MPH) and Interstate 295 (Federal-65mph), and Haddonfield-Berlin Rd. from Brace Rd. to Voorhees (County-40/45 MPH) are, in his opinion, the worst roads in Cherry Hill for pedestrians and bicyclists.  Chapel Ave. (County-25MPH) has a bridge over Interstate 295 but ends at Old Cuthbert Rd. (County-40MPH) which dead ends on the north at the South Branch of the Pennsauken Creek and at Route 70 West Bound on the south end.

He said the Kresson Rd. Bridge over the Turnpike needs new decking because there are potholes that repeatedly reappear soon after the holes are patched.  One hole is so large there is nowhere for a bicyclist to go, other than is into the hole or into the traffic lane. Even the path for pedestrians becomes over grown with vegetation or disappears with into a traffic guardrail.
8.      Advocacy Actions For Safe Roadways for Bicyclist and Pedestrians
John Boyle, Advocacy Director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, was invited to discuss how Way to Go can be a more affective advocacy group.
The Coalition’s website is www.bicyclecoalition.org and John can be reached by email, jo...@bicyclecoalition.org or (215) 242-9253, ext.2# or 1500 Walnut Street, Suite 1107 Philadelphia, PA  19102-3506.  He suggested the following initiatives:
  • Attend the Camden County Freeholders meetings often and give testimony and/or comments on our need for safer roads for all users. Send letters and emails often to Freeholders and their websites, and make phone calls to the Freeholders (Director Louis Cappelli, Deputy Director Edward McDonnell, Riletta Cream, Rodney Greco, Ian Leonard, Jeffrey Nash and Carmen Rodriguez) and also Robert Kelly (the County Engineer), asking them when they plan to provide bike lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks to protect County residents and people using County roads by bicycle or walking.
  • Use http://www.seeclickfix.com to report, document, track, and remind the responsible authorities that safety problems still exists for pedestrians and bicyclists and need to be fixed now.  Then have the messages sent from the website to the Freeholders and the County Engineer.
  • Contact and work with other bicycle clubs and pedestrian safety groups to have a unified voice and clear message.
  • Urge friends, family, and other concerned interest groups to join you in the above actions. 
John said the same excuses are used whenever the public requests sidewalks and bike lanes: There is no space for sidewalks or bike lanes, the traffic is too heavy, the road is  too dangerous, there are no funds to provide these facilities, there are no walkers or bicyclists on this roadway.  He described what happened in Charleston, South Carolina when the above refrain was give to their transportation customers wanting something more than a bridge exclusively for cars and trucks.  The public wanted sidewalks and bike lanes included with the construction of the Cooper River Bridge.  They fought for a better bridge and won.  He said after the bridge was constructed people began to use it and the adjacent park for jogging, exercising, and recreation.  It is now a focal point for the community, not a void.
He said locally Camden County is in the process of creating bikeways from Camden to Winslow and Waterford.  The municipalities of Pennsauken, Gibbsboro, and Voorhees have bike lanes.
In Philadelphia John said they have counted 175 bicyclists per hour crossing the Walnut St. Bridge.  There are 2,000 to 4,000 bicyclists per day in the city and they calm traffic.  The City’s new bike lane is 6 feet wide with an extra 3 feet of buffer between bicyclists and traffic.  With 9 feet of roadway more bicyclist are obeying traffic laws, not racing through lights. 6 or 7 cyclists now wait at traffic lights.  Traffic congestion in the city did not get worse.  People behave differently when more bicyclists are sharing the road.  The mayhem predicted with bike lanes on Spruce and Pine Sts. in Philadelphia did not happen.  People stay in their lane.  Bicyclists, at one time seen as being on the fringe, are now seen stopped at red lights and behaving lawfully. Now the fringe bicyclists are those that don’t follow traffic laws.
John urged members to support the following measures:   
·        Be out there on bicycles.  “Let them see more bicyclists.  Bicyclists attract more bicyclists”.  
·        The Township needs more bike racks at schools, stores, restaurants, public buildings, parks, and other public places.  
·        Cherry Hill needs a Bike Rack Ordinance.  Under its resources section, the Bicycle Coalition website has information on ideal racks for parking bicycles.  He has seen 1000 bike racks filled within days of being installed.   
·        Work on the “low hanging fruit first” such as fixing the potholes on Kresson Rd.   
·        Create a bike route and map like the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s map with Cherry Hill, County, and State roads color coded ** RED** for BICYCLE FRIENDLY (Most suitable for on-road cycling.  Some roads may have heavy traffic but also have wide shoulder, making them preferred routes), ---BLUE--for AVERAGE (Moderately suitable for on-road cycling.  Cyclists of lesser skill and experience riding in traffic may find conditions unfavorable) and ##YELLOW## for BELOW AVERAGE (Least suitable for on-road cycling.  While riding on these roads may not be pleasant, they may be the most direct route between two points.  The map notes: Ratings shown on this map are determined using a combination of traffic volumes, roadway geometry and field observations.  Road conditions change based on when you ride, weather, construction, and other factors.  So use this map as a tool, but don’t substitute what it says for your own common sense.  The agencies, organizations, and individuals involved in the development of this map assume no liability for the safety of bicyclists using these routes.
Safe Routes to Schools is a health issue and supported by NJDOT.  New Jersey has
excellent programs for schools such as the New Jersey Department of Transportation
Bike Camp and School. The Bike Camp is a 4 hours session. Sheri Davis, a Lumberton resident, is the Bike Camp and School director. The Bike Pedestrian and Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator for NJDOT is Aleise Bremer-Nei.
9.      Funding Bike Routes and Sidewalks
In December the New Jersey passed a Complete Streets Policy requiring State or Federally funded Transportation projects include bicycle and pedestrian facilities or explain why it is not possible.  The requirement does not apply to Municipalities, but they are given incentives to do so.  By acquiring points Municipalities receive more funding for transportation projects. Montclair is the only municipality in New Jersey to have adopted Complete Streets.  Cherry Hill Township officials can contact Sheri Davis to discuss this program.  Cherry Hill can get a Complete Streets Plan done for free.  She has funds for consultants that can draft the plan, but NJDOT does not advertise it because communities have created plans but let them sit on the shelf.  NJDOT wants a commitment from the community. 
Other groups to contact for information include The League of American Bicyclists with an ordinance for bike parking and Haddonfield’s Traffic Calming Committee.
Dennis and John will investigate Way to Go’s participation in upcoming events.  Roxane and Lee will attend the Cherry Hill Township Open Space meeting tomorrow night. Lee will contact teachers and community members about events and Barbara will contact Lori about Complete Streets and the February New Jersey Bike Summit.     
The New Jersey Bike Summit is on February 27, 2010 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM in Denville, New Jersey.  Registration ends on February 14th (No day of event registration).  The agenda can be found at http://www.njbikesummit.org/agenda.asp and the list of speakers can be found at http://www.njbikesummitt.org/speakers.asp.   Barbara and John are going and welcome other carpoolers.
WAY TO GO January 19, 2010 meeting minutes draft.doc
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