New Jersey - What Concerns You?

KenS

JORBA: Board
JORBA.ORG
A few JORBA folks are headed down to the National Bike Summit in DC next week.

If you have any suggestions for mtb advocacy agenda items that you would like to see addressed on Capitol Hill please take a few moments to reply to this thread. I will need your replies by the end of the day on Monday. Thanks!

There will be a full report of the conference in a future issue of "The Dirt".
 
Anything we can do to diplomatically grease the wheels in the South Mountain/Essex County access situation or we're talking 'really large scope' here?
 
Not that its an issue for the MTB world but I am very much into the Safe Routes to Schools program.
I have a little one on the way and I recently found out that if she rides to school (in the future) she will get into trouble.
This kinda pisses me off because we live about 1 mile from the school and are required to use the bus.
Something needs to be done not only in this town (west Milford) but through out the state.

thats my .02
 
i would say south mountain access, trail expansion/improvement programs in parks, and now i guess with the budget problems we are having in the state (and state parks being on the chopping block possibly), whether or not that will affect our access any of the areas we have/or are working on having access to.

i think another area of concern is rider education and getting out the message of trail use versus trail abuse (like going out when its wet)... which may come down to an improvement of an 'overall image' of mtn biking to groups like the sierra club (who usually dont like us bikers).
 
I'd sure like to see more federal funds/mandates/whatever be put into the creation of bike paths (gulp, paved ones); whether they be isolated paths or the shoulders of established roads.

Going "greener" is a tough thing to do when you're sharing shoulder-less roads with speeding 2 ton vehicles.

I think about places I've lived before in Oregon and Minnesota. It was much easier to leave the car in the driveway and take the bike instead because you weren't in constant fear of your life. Hell, it was even easier to just walk to places because of the paths/large shoulders.

Most of this came about because of local government and advocacy (it helps when local government if full of bikers). It'd be nice to see areas that could benefit from paths/shoulders, that don't have bike insiders in the local government, get some "encouragement" from on high...
 
Great stuff so far, keep it coming.

PS - I wouldnt worry about the "size" of an issue, if it is something that you feel needs addressing, please post it here or email/pm me.
 
summit suggestions

We still need limits on liability. While state parks have some protection under the "Tort Act" we need protection at the county and town and private levels. If these land managers do not have to worry about lawsuits, we could see many more "skills areas". If industry and landowners were protected , we could utilize power and gas lines as trail networks.
 
Anything to make commuting by bike more safe would be great. I cant believe that kids are not allowed to bike to school...is that for real? statewide?
Anyway to make (educate) car drivers more aware and respectful of those on bikes would be a step in the right direction.
Also I am hearing a lot about economic boost packages in the form of rebate checks or something along the lines of 300$ per person...I am thinking that 2000-3000$ per person would be more realistic. They could make it into 'biking initiative' or something. I for one would put it right back into the local economy by spending it at the local bike store.
Also, I second what TRAILHEAD says about opening up utility provider trails. lots of miles there waiting to be accessed.
 
another one...

i know there was talk about it here on mtbnj before - but help with making of a DJ area, or pump track somewhere would be cool. i guess that talks to trailhead's liability concerns.
 
We still need limits on liability. While state parks have some protection under the "Tort Act" we need protection at the county and town and private levels. If these land managers do not have to worry about lawsuits, we could see many more "skills areas". If industry and landowners were protected , we could utilize power and gas lines as trail networks.

i'll second that.

i noticed in alaska that there were paved bike paths along nearly every highway, and many within towns in general. a couple of people said that it was because it was difficult to get federal funding for roads without the instalation of them. it would be nice to some sort of mandate for bike paths or at the least safely wide(@8ft) shoulders on major roads and highways. perhaps not rt 80, 287 and the parkway/turnpike, but roads like rt 15, rt 46, rt 10 and others could greatly benefit from this.

it would increase the likelihood that a certain portion of the population would ride to work/stores, increase safety, increase appeal of neighborhoods and promote physical fitness.
 
great topic ken, and great replies everyone!



to give you an idea what the agenda entails, this years:

http://www.bikeleague.org/conferences/summit08/2008_summit_program.pdf

and a recap of last years summit that I attended with Wally and Frank: http://www.jorba.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=519

cherry picking some issues mentioned:

regarding national park access:

agenda said:
Keynote Speaker
The Honorable Mary A. Bomar, Director of the National Park Service, will speak at the 2008 National Bike Summit opening dinner on March 4. Director Bomar was sworn into office as the 17th Director of the National Park Service (NPS) on October 16, 2006. She has been a leader in moving forward with the Department’s Centennial Initiative, which proposes $3 billion in new funds for the National Park Service over the next ten years. As the NPS continues to organize for its centennial in 2016, we look forward to working with the Director and the NPS to ensure that bicycling is a part of the vision for our National Parks and public lands.

her keynote is a good sign. supporting IMBA appears to be making in-roads with the NPS. i know for a fact that jenn dice spends about 90% of her time working on issues with NPS, BLM and issues of a federal nature. considering the keynote, plus 2 NPS related agenda items, pilot projects in a couple of national parks, i think the NPS is ready to embrace mtb soon.

agenda said:
The 100-year Vision for National Parks: Creating Bicycle Friendly Parks
National Parks represent the best places in America where millions
travel to experience nature, learn about cultural resources
and celebrate historic places. Many bring their bicycles. But
when people look for safe areas to ride or want to explore their
parks on roads, paths, and dirt trails, they have very few options.
As the National Park Service organizes for its centennial
in 2016, what is our vision for bicycling? How can we be part of
the recreation and transportation mix? This panel will explore the
opportunities and challenges of creating bicycle-friendly National
Parks and other Federal Land Programs.


agenda said:
Creating Bicycle Friendly National Parks and Public Lands – Legislative Roundtable
The ISTEA revolution that brought bicycling into the State
transportation programs has somehow skipped over many
of our federal land agencies, and there is a growing concern
that qualified non-motorized transportation systems are not
being fairly considered for funding under both the National
Parks transportation programs and the 2016 Centennial
Initiative. This roundtable discussion will identify what
legislative actions should be taken over the course of the
next two years to involve bicycling more in federal lands
transportation programs and lay out opportunities to include
bicycle projects in our country’s broader NPS Centennial vision.
regarding safe routes to schools:

agenda said:
Safe Routes to Schools
What has happened in the two and a half years since the Federal
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program was created? Discover
what Congress is hearing about the program, and get the latest
news on state programs. Learn how to form a state SRTS network,
and how school siting decisions affect the ability of students to
walk and bicycle to school. Get the latest evaluation tools and
guidelines for gathering success stories.

more: http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/.

bj, i agree with you. 1 mile away and you have to take a bus. ridiculous. that's narrow-minded thinking.

regarding "Complete Streets" (the concept that bike/ped lanes should be planned into road infrastructure up front, rather than ignored or as an lame afterthought. example: the west milford town center project being planned now should incorporate complete streets.

agenda said:
Changing Outcomes with Complete Streets
This session will highlight lessons learned from some of
the most recent successful policy campaigns to change
the outcome of transportation investment. Panelists will
discuss the new law in Illinois to include safe bicycling and
walking facilities in all projects in urbanized area and the
comprehensive complete streets ordinance in Seattle. We
will also discuss federal complete streets legislation.
 
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How about mandated bike lanes on any secondary road??

This is coming soon enough since gas will be $4 a gallon in the near future.

As for mt biking we need to have the unified strength that the equestrian community seems to have. With one stronger voice we can make a stand for the use of public land s in our best interest. Jorba is a moving in the right direction but there as still very few members and very low awareness that JORBA even exists.

I would be willing to hand out pamphlets in my store to encourage JORBA memberships the way that we do for IMBA. While IMBA is great, having more support for JORBA is critical for the future of MT biking in NJ. Acting locally could have a bigger impact that any dollars that people give to Imba.

I believe that trail protection is also critical. There is no trail in NJ that is immune from pressure to exclude mt bikers by other trail users. Even if we build the trails ourselves we can still loose access. A general education for the public might be handy to show that we are not just maniacs on motorless dirtbikes. Developing a perception that Mt biking is a healthy, safe sport that a family can do together will benefit us all.

A goal for the near future might be to pinpoint a NEW spot to build a new riding spot here in NJ. There must be some tract of land that we can gain access to build on before the last of wooded open space in NJ is gone??


A last point that I have mixed feelings on is the potential for the justice system to use trail building as an outlet for community service for young kids with minor criminal offenses. This could potentially get some kids into mt biking that would otherwise never get on a bike or in the woods.

This could be used nationally to get kids back on the right path. maybe.
 
another one...

i know there was talk about it here on mtbnj before - but help with making of a DJ area, or pump track somewhere would be cool. i guess that talks to trailhead's liability concerns.

This might not be that far off. it wasn't that long ago that skateparks were uncommon. Now they are considered a viable use of public funds. As a kid who grew up in the 80's I sometime feel that I was born 15 years too early.

A public model that gets local support is all that is needed to get this going nationally. On paper a good DJ park is much cheaper that a concrete skate park. 2 acres and some dirt. that is almost free!

Again this is where working locally with the powers that be can make a difference of opinion on a regional and then national basis. I personally have been working with state park to get more mt bike trails going and i have found it to be pretty easy going. The initial challenge was to show them that the public at large valued this use of public space. Once they saw that 100's of people were using our trails they began to show a greater support for our efforts. Furthermore we provided them with free labor which made it even easier for them since they are facing heavy budget cuts.
 
Great points here.

Between my commute to NYC everyday by train and getting around here near New Brunswick its impossible not to notice the amount of landfills around us. These could be cool bike parks, along the lines of Highbridge but with a distinctly Jersey twist. I think they are owned by municipalities.?
I remember asking my dad what those 'mountains' were and he told me they were building ski areas for NJ.
He also told me that the face on the moon was made by the astronauts with dynamite...
I digress...lots of landfill land and no one else wants it was my point.
 
I second the funding, and liability issues (so the parks don't nearly pee themselves when any one mentions a skills area, dj park, or pump tracks.) At MCPS they are so mired down with bureaucracy and fear, they will barely let us do regular maintenance.
 
bike park/dirt jump park/small town.

i live in clifton,its a small town(passaic county)
i have noticing that a lot of kids riding their BMX bikes at a small park.do tricks, jumping, and otthers riding tricks.
so,its nice to see them doing things they loves so much.
but they were in a wrong place/park.
it would be great, if every small town in a city have a bike park/or dirt jump park.
so every kids can have a save place to play w/their bikes.
 
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