Consultants working to create a new bicycle circulation plan for the town of Princeton should also consider a very important stakeholder: Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber. Eisgruber was the subject of international press attention in recent months after his sensitive response when his office was occupied by student protestors. But around the same time, Eisgruber also revealed that he is now cycling to work as often as possible. You can find a photo of him arriving at Nassau Hall on his bicycle right here. But Eisgruber noted the problems associated with cycling in Princeton – problems which the new bike circulation plan will hopefully fix.
Eisgruber’s residence, the Walter Lowrie House on Stockton Street (pictured above) is only about half a mile away from his office at Nassau Hall. But it’s half a mile of some of the most congested parts of town, which also includes the terrible intersection of 206 and Nassau Street. It’s a tough battle for cyclists, and not helped by the fact that the former Borough did next to nothing to create safe facilities for cyclists. As Eisgruber was quoted as saying:
“The challenge is getting to the edge of campus, he said; after that, the University pathways are easy and beautiful to ride.”
Princeton residents, who have been giving feedback on the proposed bike plan, seem to agree. Many of the comments on the publicly-available ‘Wikimapping’ tool show a desire for improved bike facilities in the downtown area. in the map below, streets in red are those that have been identified by members of the public as danger areas. Green streets are those were members of the public have requested improved bike facilities, and red triangle designate intersections that are considered especially dangerous. The Nassau Street area, where Eisgruber is riding, and the Hamilton-Wiggins corridor, emerge as two of the biggest problem areas in town:
If the consultants preparing the bike plan can come up with some solutions, it will help not just those who already cycle, but people like President Eisgruber, who would like to cycle more, but find existing conditions challenging. Research indicates that most people would be interested in using their bicycles more, but are intimidated by road conditions and lack of safe facilities. Enabling the greates possible proportion of trips by bicycle is a key way to reduce dependence on cars, and the associated traffic, pollution and parking pressure. Princeton residents still have time to provide feedback on the bike plan, but those who haven’t had their say yet need to move fast, because the town has announced that the study will move to the next stage after the end of January:
The easiest way for residents to give feeback is to fill out the public survey at this link. Alternatively, use the wikimapping tool at this link. There has already been one public meeting to get input from the public, at the town hall on November 12. The next meeting, which has not been scheduled yet, is likely to present draft proposals on what Princeton can do to make streets more friendly to cyclists. Hopefully it will help President Eisgruber, and other people who are enthusiastic about cycling, to feel safer on two wheels!