Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Witherspoon Street to remain one-way

On Monday, 21 December 2020, Princeton Council voted unanimously in favor of Ordinance #2020-51 which makes permanent the current one-way configuration on Witherspoon Street between Nassau St and Spring St.

The timing of the ordinance is propitious, as NJDOT is in the process of redesigning the pedestrian crossing at Nassau St and Witherspoon St. Actual construction on the street is expected to start in 2022.

Opinions on Ordinance #2020-51 in numbers:

A petition to make the street more people-friendly garnered more than 1100 signatures. In addition, the ordinance was the subject of numerous public comments: a total of 65 at the Council meetings of December 7 (when it was introduced) and December 21, as well as 19 letters in the Town Topics.

The latter included a letter from business owners concerned that the change would negatively impact businesses. The remaining 18 letters expressed support for a more people-friendly street; among them was a letter from another group of business owners, who are ready for the change and even advocated for a pedestrian thoroughfare.

The idea of an all-pedestrian option received overwhelming support from residents as well: Of the 58 people whose comments at the Council meetings supported the one-way configuration, 81% asked that the street be made into a pedestrian plaza, while many acknowledged the necessity for it to be open at set times, to allow access for service vehicles and take-out customers.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Witherspoon St. one-way permanently?

In response to COVID-19, a segment of Witherspoon Street from Nassau Street to Spring Street has been converted to a one-way northbound configuration. Even before the pandemic, Witherspoon Street was already under study for improvements and renovations.

At its December 7 meeting, Princeton's Council introduced Ordinance #2020-51 that would make the current one-way configuration permanent.

A petition in support of this initiative is still open. Nearly a thousand people have already signed it, showing broad public support for a more people-friendly Witherspoon Street.

The one-way configuration allows service and delivery vehicles to access the businesses and residences along this section. Many Princeton residents, visitors, and business owners have called for a flexible design, to allow an all-pedestrian configuration for weekends and special events.

From traffic study report by McMahon Associates

Council will vote on Ordinance #2020-51 at its meeting on December 21.

If approved, the ordinance will enable the municipality to work with NJDOT on permitting and approvals as well as coordinating on the improvement of the pedestrian crossing at the Nassau Street - Witherspoon Street intersection.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Vision Zero - safety first

A group of people gathered in Metuchen last Sunday, World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, to commemorate the  600 people who die in road traffic in New Jersey every year (a recording of the powerful and moving rally is here).

Pedestrians and bicycle riders are over-represented among those traffic fatalities, in New Jersey more so than the national average.

A coalition of traffic safety advocates are calling for municipalities in New Jersey to adopt a Vision Zero policy, which puts the safety of all road users  at the top of the priority list, and which aims for zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries (hence the name). An example of Vision Zero at work is the traffic light at Nassau St. and Washington Rd / Vandeventer Ave, which now has a pedestrian-only interval.

The newly renamed Princeton Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee are calling for Princeton to adopt a Vision Zero policy. PBAC chair Lisa Serieyssol and Jerry Foster, her colleague at the Greater Mercer TMA, have made a presentation to Princeton's Council at their transportation-focused meeting on October 19, 2020. They also made a presentation on November 17 to the Princeton Board of Health, who will vote on an endorsement at their next meeting. The presentation will next be brought to the Traffic Safety Committee.

If a consensus is reached, a task force will be formed consisting of stakeholders from the community, who will explore what a Vision Zero policy looks like for Princeton.

We will update you on the developments. A Vision Zero policy increases safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all, something worth working for!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Transportation meeting, surveys, map

Drive carefully.
We start with a request to slow down when driving around town, as many of our children have started going to school in person.

This Monday, October 19 at 7pm, Mayor and Council are discussing transportation issues in Princeton.

PBAC is presenting a proposal for a Vision Zero policy, which puts the safety of all road users at the top of the priority list; the aim is to have zero traffic deaths.
Learn more about Vision Zero at GMTMA, and the Philly bike coalition.

You can support this initiative by commenting in person during the meeting or sending in an email by 6.30pm prior to the meeting.
Find the instructions for comments in the meeting agenda.

Princeton is applying for renewal of its Bike Friendly Community status with the League of American Bicyclists.
As part of the application, we are asking bicyclists in the Princeton community to provide their input. This survey will remain open through Sunday, Nov 15. Online survey.

The town is working on a re-design of Witherspoon Street from Valley Road to Nassau Street, let the town know what you would like to see on this thoroughfare.

The new map is available from the town's website (pdf); paper maps can be picked up at bicycle stores and wherever PBAC hosts a Bike Valet parking.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020