Did you know? You can charge your electric car in town

For those not already aware, the Chambers Street Garage has hosted a battery-charging station for electric cars, or EVs, since fall 2012. Developed by the Melville, NY–based company Leviton and sold at its website (www.leviton.com), the Fleet 2 unit charger delivers 240 volts at 30Amps (ranging approximately from 38-90 miles to the gallon, depending on the vehicle). Conveniently, the charging station is compatible with all leading EVs—thanks in part to the standard “handle,” or charging nozzle, which fits all EV ports, and is approved by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE J1772).

So how long does a full charge take? While the time differs for each EV, the overall range is convenient and manageable. Here is a timetable for charging most leading vehicles: Nissan Leaf (7.2 hrs); Chevy Volt (3.15 hours); Ford Focus (3.48 hrs); Toyota Prius Hybrid Plug-in (1.5 hrs); Honda Fit (3 hrs); Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid (less than one hour); Ford Fusion, Energi, and S-MAX Energi (2.5 hrs); and Toyota RAV 4, which takes a Tesla battery (7.3 hrs). As for the Tesla, the Leviton station charges the vehicle with the addition of a special adapter supplied by Tesla.

What does a charge cost? At Chambers Street, the Leviton charger offers $1.50 minimum/first hour and $12.00 maximum.  To pay for a charge, you must purchase a ChargePoint card, available at www.chargepoint.com (the website also lists the locations of the over 18,000 charging spots across the country). Two cards, costing $4.95 are mailed to customers which are associated with the user’s credit card, and a $25 monthly deduction is drawn down for the first few months. Once the charging usage is gauged, the automatic withdrawal is increased or decreased accordingly.

According to the garage manager, the station is used 4-5 times a week, a definite increase since its installation two years ago.  Park-In Garage Systems, the owner of the Chambers Street Garage, is considering the addition of a few more charging stations.

 

 

Contributed by Ned Higgins, local editor and writer.

Green Map Coming to Princeton!

(April 2012 update: the Princeton Green Connections map is now live!! Please visit, comment & suggest new sites!) What are Princeton's green resources? And where do you find them? In public parks or woodlands? Along our tree-lined streets? At the Farmer's Market? Or, at a school garden?

Green Map slogan "Think Global, Map Local" shown as a pop up bubble from a google map base

Who takes care of these resources? And can you get to Princeton's green places and resources without a car?

These are some of the questions we hope local residents and others familiar with our town can help answer by working together on the “Princeton Green Connections” green map project.  Green Connections is an interactive online map based on the Green Map System, which uses thematic icons to identify natural, cultural and sustainable resources in communities and encourages public collaboration through its open green map platform.  Currently, there are 776 green maps in 60 countries.

Green maps include photos, website links and videos and because the maps are online they are easy to access, share and update.

The "Princeton Green Connections" green map will focus on Princeton’s green space resources, and also show the bicycle, hiking and pedestrian routes that connect us to, and through, Princeton. Future green maps may focus on other sustainable resources – including green buildings and technology, green businesses, cultural/historic resources, and more.

To find out more and to get involved in the green map project, you can:

  • Come to Sustainable Princeton's “Great Ideas Breakfast” on Feb. 10, 8:30 a.m. There will be a brief presentation on the green map project and an old-fashioned paper map display.
  • Sign up for the “Green Mapping on St. Patrick’s Day” workshop, Mar. 17, 1 - 3pm, where participants will learn the basics of green maps, and get started on some mapping! (Seating is limited - please contact Andrea Malcolm to reserve a spot.)
  • Contact Andrea with your questions or comments, and/or send her your green space descriptions and photos!

Princeton, Lawrence, Hillsborough, and Montgomery are recipients of a Green Map training grant from Sustainable Jersey and the Dodge Foundation. We look forward to working with these neighboring towns, Sustainable Jersey, Green Map Systems, and many others as we create and develop the Princeton Green Connections green map!

Bicyclists and Boarders Ride the Sharrows

Fifty bicyclists, skate boarders and long boarders braved gloomy skies on Sunday, October 2nd for a community ride along local “sharrow” streets. (The term “sharrow” is a fusion of “share” and “arrow” and refers to a pavement marking that reminds drivers and bicyclists to “share the road”). Bicyclists riding single file along a suburban street

The group met at 3:00 p.m. at Hinds Plaza, next to the Princeton Public Library. The bicyclists and boarders were welcomed by Bainy Suri, a special events coordinator for Sustainable Princeton, who thanked everyone for coming together to show their support for sustainability. Diane Landis, Sustainable Princeton’s Coordinator, provided some background about the sharrows and urged the group to share the road safely. Janet Heroux, Chair of the Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PJPBAC) also thanked the group for their support of sharrows.

The group then started off on the ride, following a rectangular loop around the downtown.  (For a map of the route, see this quikmap.)  The route was designed to bring attention to the new sharrow pavement markings installed in August along Wiggins/Hamilton, Harrison, and Witherspoon Streets, and soon to be installed along Nassau Street.

Speaker addressing adults with bicycles and youth with skateboard.

The Princeton Borough Police Department provided a reassuring presence at several key points along the ride and Sustainable Princeton is particularly grateful for their support.

About half the riders were family groups.  The parents who pulled heavy trailers with children impressed the group with their stamina.  Many riders also chose to go for a second time around the loop to extend the length of the ride.

Sustainable Princeton hopes to organize another community bike/skate ride in the Spring.  If you would like to help organize and/or attend this next ride, please contact Andrea Malcolm.

Bicycle Sharrows Coming to Town

Soon, new pavement markings will be installed on some Princeton roads. The "sharrow" symbols will remind drivers and cyclists to "share the road". A sharrow symbol consisting of a bike with a chevron above it

Of course, road sharing is required on all streets. But the sharrow markings are a highly visible way to remind road users to pay attention and make room for each other.

The sharrow markings will be installed along these road segments:

  • Harrison Street from Faculty Road to Mt. Lucas Road
  • Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Valley Road
  • Nassau Street from Harrison to Bayard Lane
  • Paul Robeson Place/Wiggins/Hamilton Avenue from Bayard Lane to Snowden Lane

The symbols will be stenciled on the pavement about 11 feet from the curb. This distance will help remind drivers that cyclists need to safely pass parked cars without being hit by open doors. Where there are no parked vehicles, cyclists should move closer to the curb so that vehicles can pass by safely.

Hopefully, the sharrows will encourage more people to bike rather than drive around town!

More information on the sharrows.