Council Approves Contract for Jersey City Bikeway Implementation

Posted on 12/03/2013

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Apologies for not getting to this sooner – between family duties and holidays and a cold, I didn’t get around to reporting on the status of the November 15th Jersey City City Council bikeway vote – announced earlier here. I attended the council meeting, which ran long due to extended testimony regarding Journal Square redevelopment. When it got late, I had to leave before the bikeway vote took place. So I later confirmed, via the City Clerk’s office, that Jersey City did indeed move forward. The council voted unanimously in favor of  authorizing the $550K contract for implementation of roughly 50+ miles of on-street bikeways, due to be completed by summer 2014. The capital funds for this were already approved in September. The November 15th council vote merely authorizes the city to proceed with a contractor to do the work on the ground.

The bikeway implementation contract will be awarded to the Parsippany-NJ-based company Statewide Striping, one of two companies that bid for this project. I emailed Statewide Striping, curious about their past experience with bike facility implementation in other locations, preferably nearby JC. I received an email reply from Michael Plath of Traffic Calming USA, which “represents Statewide Striping as well as several manufactures of textured paving treatments and traffic calming devices.” In his email, Plath states:

Our products are being used throughout the area on downtown streetscapes, Safe Routes to School projects, traffic calming schemes and for bike and bus lanes.  Our goal is to improve pedestrian/bike safety, reduce speeds and accidents on our roadways.  I have attached some pics from projects in the area including some bike lanes installed in the city of Newark.  This location in on Irvine Turner Blvd.  We also have bus and taxi lanes on Raymond Blvd around the train station.

Photo of green bike lane in Newark - courtesy of Traffic Calming USA

Photo of green bike lane in Newark – courtesy of Traffic Calming USA

Overall his response gives me some sense that Statewide Striping is in the right ballpark for this project – and has the right street safety issues in mind.

I’ve ridden some of Newark’s green bike lanes, and I think that they’re great. Unlike some painted green bike lanes that can be just a little bit slippery, the Newark lanes include some sort of texture roughening agent – like a grit (sorry – not sure of the proper technical terms to describe this properly.)

I am still trying to get my hands on the exact scope of work for this Jersey City bikeway implementation contract, but my understanding is that the work doesn’t actually include any green bike lanes – but mostly implementation of the city’s basic bike plan (~35 miles of bike lanes and ~20 miles of sharrows – see map here.) I think that this is fine for now. In the past, in other locations, I’ve asserted that I think it’s more important to get the (white) striping in first. Green colorization is icing on the cake – and drives up costs a bit – so better to get more mileage of basic bike lanes, and save the green for special emphasis/visibility where it’s really needed.  I will post additional information about the scope of work once I get a copy of it.

Kudos to the Jersey City City Council for voting to authorize our first-ever bikeway facilities implementation capital contract, and looking forward to riding the new bike lanes soon.

Posted in: bike lane, sharrow