NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–Rutgers University is spending $20,000 to investigate how to improve the bicycle path connecting New Brunswick and Piscataway at the site of the Route 18 bridge.
Mayor James Cahill identified the nexus of George Street and the John Lynch Bridge as a priority among missing bicycle links. The longtime Mayor asserts that the study "will provide input to the city's strategic planning and improvement projects for bridge access and bicycle network connectivity."
Cahill says that two agencies and a part of Rutgers are behind the grant-winning proposal. New Brunswick's Department of Planning, the Middlesex County Department of Planning, and the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) came up with the idea.
The Route 18 bridge, also known as the John Lynch Bridge, is a major connector between Rutgers campuses on both sides of the Raritan River.
The bridge also connects New Brunswickers to Johnson Park and people north of the river to New Brunswick.
The bicycle path runs alongside the southbound lanes of Route 18, and is most frequently accessed by a challenging crossing of George Street in New Brunswick. Access is much easier from the other side of the bridge at the Busch Campus in Piscataway.
According to Mayor Cahill, the bicycle path has changed its layout over the years because of the opening of an on-ramp to Route 18.
The path starts a bit to the northwest of that on-ramp, which runs from George Streets into the southbound side of Route 18. As Cahill noted, the path is tricky to get to, as the most convenient approach is to cross a busy section of George Street along Buccleuch Park.
The travel lanes are narrow, and curbs force bicyclists to get off their bikes. George Street traffic is speedy and potentially dangerous, and the inclines on either side of George Street are steep.
The other means of access to this path is via a long-forgotten bicycle path between Rt. 18 and the river. It runs from the Albany Street bridge to the Lynch/Route 18 bridge, is overgrown with vegetation, is missing some of its fences, and has been known for the graffiti along its route.
The path has a staircase to it from Deiner Park, but the gate to that staircase has been locked in recent years. Homeless people often make the riverside path into a campsite.