Princeton University Bike Scene
On Friday, I posted this photo from my ride Bicycling in Princeton’s downtown and the University campus. Princeton is actually a lot of fun to ride around as far as central New Jersey is concerned. The main road in town, Nassau Street(Route 27), is lined with shops on both sides, until you run up onto the the campus, and all of it is quite easy to navigate on a bike.
Nassau street you can see in this video here, is quite busy, however, cars in the area tend to be pretty aware of bicyclists, and the town has put sharrows on the roads to emphasize the need for cars and bikes to share the road. It can be quite fun biking along side the cars, but, you have to be very careful when you’re riding between parked cars and drivers. I almost got doored on my way home from this ride, and my heart stopped for a second as I simultaneously produced a face to be feared and shot it at the driver.
(Sorry in advance for the low quality of the video–not exactly at GoPro status yet.)
Princeton University was actually recently awarded the Bicycle Friendly University designation, and it really shows when you’re on campus that they are dedicated to promoting bicycling. I initially read about this on WalkBikeJersey which is a great blog to keep up to date on NJ bike happenings. There are bike racks all over campus, bikers everywhere, and the Princeton University shuttles are outfitted with bike racks which are utilized by it’s students and professors.
This is from the BikeLeague.org website:
At Princeton, also a Bronze BFU, new students get information about bicycling in their welcome packets, introducing them to the large network of campus paths, weekly bike maintenance classes, plentiful bike parking, free bike locks and the wide array of U-Bikes and CycLab programs and events.
Bike Commuting is Good for Business
Throughout the town of Princeton as well, biking is popular and it seems that popularity is growing. When I ride from Route 27 in South Brunswick, I usually don’t knock into any other cyclists until I glide into Princeton. The city is outfitted with convenient bike racks which makes it easy to roll down Nassau Street and find a place to safely park your bike. As we know, promoting biking in cities is not only good for the health of the citizens, congestion in the city, and our planet(as if that isn’t enough?), but it is also proven to be great for business.
Businesses are sometimes weary of replacing parking spaces with bike parking, but when you can take one parking space and turn it into 6-12 bike spots, you’re talking big opportunity. Biking infrastructure, like bike lanes also gives people who would like to bike an opportunity to pass through a neighborhood or street they may otherwise avoid. It is also found that because bike commuters can stop and park easier, they are more likely to frequent shops, in addition to the fact that through riding and not driving they have a better vantage point for observation.
Simply placing a bike rack in front of your shop, guarantees that a whole new group of people will see your store.
This is from a Streetsblog post in March:
And the economic benefit of bicycling for communities doesn’t end with cyclists’ expensive cappuccinos and impulse buys. Properties near bike paths increase in value 11 percent, said Economides. Realtors and homebuilders consistently find that access and proximity to walking and biking facilities, especially greenways, makes homes easier to sell. A reporter for the Indianapolis Star said it best in 2003: “It may not have sand and crashing waves, but the Monon Trail is the equivalent of beachfront property in the Indianapolis area.”
Add to that the fact that bike lane construction creates about twice as many jobs as road-building for the same amount of money, and you’ve got yourself a great economic argument to take to local leaders and politicians when you ask them to support walking and biking – even (or especially) in tough economic times.
More to think about!
Anyway, Princeton is fun, cool, hip, crazy, lovely, smart, blue, green, yellow, red, and there is a great coffee shop in town–Starbucks! Just kidding! Really there is a Starbucks, but if you go I’d wander over to Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street, for the towns best.
Here is another video while I was riding a bit through the campus itself. Enjoy!