March Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting Update

Thursday March 17th, 2016 marked the first New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) of the year. BPAC is hosted and chaired by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers University every four months (March, June, September, and December), with phone and in-person subcommittee meetings happening at the quarterly meetings and at other times throughout the year as arranged by the subcommittee chairs.

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Subcommittee Meetings

The meeting started at 9:30 AM with three subcommittees holding their regularly scheduled hour-long meetings: Design and Infrastructure, Education and Outreach, and Safety. The Safety and Education and Outreach subcommittees held a combined meeting, with Elizabeth Ward from the RBA Group and Susan Blickstein giving a presentation on the status of the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Bicycle Safety Action Plan. They then asked for input from attendees about sources of best practices, programs, and policies regarding bicycle safety from around the country, which the project team will draw on to create the plan.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Update presentation at March 17, 2016 BPAC meeting. Source: Charles Brown // Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center
Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Update presentation at March 17, 2016 BPAC meeting. Source: Charles Brown // Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center

At the concurrent Infrastructure and Design subcommittee meeting, attendees formalized a plan for their next action item, a bicycle parking primer, with a focus on covered parking. The primer will look at best practices, low cost options, and other strategies for proving safe, effective bicycle parking.

The Policy and Legislative subcommittee met after the general meeting, at 12:05 PM. Attendees discussed a new pedestrian safety bill (A3503), which “establishes motor vehicle offense of unlawful use of hand-held wireless telephone by pedestrians on roadways.” The subcommittee decided to develop a recommendation to present to the Executive Committee later this year that would state that BPAC does not support the bill.

General Meeting

The subcommittee meetings were followed by the general meeting at 10:30 AM, with approximately 40 attendees. The general meeting is chaired by Charles Brown, and includes bicycle and pedestrian advocates, engineering and planning professionals, and staff members from local, county, and state agencies from the transportation, health, environmental, and enforcement fields. Meetings are led by the Executive Council. Debbie Kingsland (NJDOT) provided updates on several NJDOT projects. These included updates on the following projects: the installation of a separated bicycle facility on Route 9W is in the concept stage; road diet pilots in partnership with the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO) and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) are in the study stage; awardees of the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant will be notified soon; and NJDOT is working with Parsons Brinkerhoff to develop a Complete Streets Design Guide, slated to be completed in June.

BPAC Executive Committee:
Debbie Kingsland, NJDOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs
Greg Krykewycz, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
Mike Viscardi, New Jersey Transit
Gary Poedubicky, NJ Law & Public Safety
Janet Heroux, NJ Department of Health
Emily Armstrong, NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
Brandee Chapman, NJ Department of Environmental Protection Trails Council
Caroline Trueman, Federal Highway Administration
Elizabeth Thompson, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
Alan Huff, South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization
Cyndi Steiner, NJ Walk Bike Coalition
Janna Chernetz, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Doug Gilbert, NJ Travel Independence Program
Charles Brown, Chair, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, Rutgers University

The subcommittee chairs then gave updates on their work:

  • Design and Infrastructure (Greg Krykewycz, DVRPC): The subcommittee’s next action item will be a bicycle parking primer, with a special focus on covered parking. It will look at best practices, low cost options, etc., and will be a resource for transit agencies, municipalities and others looking to install bicycle parking.
  • Education and Outreach (Cyndi Steiner, NJ Walk Bike Coalition): This subcommittee is currently compiling resources about bicycling and walking, in order to understand what’s out there and where there are gaps. At today’s meeting, RBA presented on NJDOT’s bicycle safety action plan and asked for input.
  • Policy and Legislative (Janna Chernetz, Tri-State Transportation Campaign): The subcommittee is working on prioritizing long, medium, and short term goals. They will continue legislative monitoring and perhaps provide legislators with talking points. They are considering creating a resolution to change the word “accident” to “crash” in State law. The recent distracted walking bill will be a primary focus of the subcommittee meeting today.
  • Safety (Alan Huff, SJTPO): At today’s meeting, RBA presented on NJDOT’s bicycle safety action plan and asked for input. Next action items are still to be determined.

This was followed by Elizabeth Ward of the RBA Group and Susan Blickstein providing an abbreviated update on the NJDOT Bicycle Safety Action plan for those who did not attend the subcommittee presentation. They again asked for input from attendees regarding sources of best practices.

A team of consultants, from the RBA Group, Parsons Brinkerhoff, and Urban Engineers, provided an update on the NJDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Update. The project team has used planning conferences in New Jersey over the past few months to gather input on what should be included in the plan, and is scheduled to attend several others in April. They also stated they are finalizing the development of a survey to further gather information from the public about the plan and are creating a website to be the home of the final plan, to be hosted by VTC.

Cassisdy Boulan, a Transportation Planner at DVRPC, gave a presentation on the Regional Cyclical Bicycle Count Program that DVRPC initiated in 2013. DVRPC chose count locations based on where bicycling was already happening, covering all types of facilities (i.e., shared use lanes, bicycle lanes, off-road trails, etc.). From here on out, each selected location will be counted every three years. Preliminary results from the first counts of all locations (in 2014 -2015) show where bicycling patterns are strongest and on which facilities. Next steps will include assessing the count locations, conducting the first cycle of counts, and combining the data with data sets from other collection efforts for a more in-depth analysis. Finally, the floor was opened for announcements and public comments. Notably, Debbie Kingsland, who is retiring from the NJDOT in June, was thanked for her service, both to New Jersey and the BPAC. This was her final BPAC meeting. The meeting ended at 12:00 PM.

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