Planet Princeton

Princeton Area Residents Start Petition Calling for End of Route 1 Jughandle Trial

Residents from West Windsor and Princeton have started an online petition calling for an end to the Route 1 jughandle trail.

In early August the New Jersey Department of Transportation closed the jughandles at Washington Road and Harrison Street in an attempt to improve the traffic flow on Route 1. Drivers who wish to cut across Route 1 to go to Princeton must either exit on Alexander Road or Scudders Mill Road.

Residents who live in neighborhoods along Route 571 in West Windsor say motorists continue to make u-turns on the road despite warnings by police and threats that they will receive extra points on their drivers licenses. People who live in Princeton or commute to Princeton say their commuting times have doubled or tripled because of the extra traffic on Alexander Road.

“The NJDOT implemented the jughandle closures as a pilot program and the general consensus is that the pilot program has failed,” reads the online petition. “If in conjunction with the jug-handle closures, three other projects are completed it will be a more rational solution. Closing the jughandles in itself does not and will not solve the problem inherent to the Washington Rd/Route 1 area.”

The three projects the petition says should be completed first:
1. A Harrison Street overpass
2. A Vaughn Drive connector in Princeton Junction
3. The widening of the Alexander Road Bridge over the Stony Brook Canal

“Implementing jughandle closures without coordinating other solutions has greatly diminished the quality of life for the residents of Penn’s Neck, increased travel time and cost for anyone needing to make a left turn to exit Route 1 at Washington Rd and Harrison St, forces drivers to cross four lanes of traffic and a solid white line to make a simple u-turn at Alexander Road, putting them in danger, and prevented emergency vehicles from being able to safely navigate the road way, reads the petition. “(The trial has) increased the number of accidents and incidents for the entire area and has not substantially increased the flow of traffic on Route 1 as intended.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • The traffic light at Fisher Place is no longer needed, but it needs to be moved to the entrance of Scudders Mill onto Route 1 southbound. If entering traffic had a chance to enter the traffic on Rt. 1, drivers would be more likely to use the Scudders Mill U-turn for Harrison St.
    Alternatively, there is plenty of room to build a nice, long jughandle at Harrison, on Sarnoff property and with their cooperation. I think this would be a plus for their employees, who must be as put out about this experiment as anyone.
    I am baffled by what to do about the illegal u-turns on Washington Road East. DOT, it is not enough to believe that “people will learn.” There is a tragedy waiting to happen there.
    Trucks should be forbidden on the Alexander Road bridge over the canal.
    Marcia Wood

  • Chris

    DOT should build an overpass at Washington Road. If overpasses can be justified at Quakerbridge Rd. and Meadow Rd., then the intersection of Washington Rd./Route 1/CR 571 is a prime candidate for an overpass. All three lights in this area could then be removed. The traffic light at Harrison Street could also be removed.

  • There is no mention of the Millstone Bypass in the petition and Smart Traffic Solutions has no hidden agenda. The Bypass ship sailed long ago. In fact, there a number of people who were and would still be opposed to the Bypass who are working with our group. We want the jughandles reopened but we are also afforded an opportunity to promote something positive – the recommeded solutions that came out of the Penns Neck EIS Roundtable that will benefit everyone, residents on both sides of Rt. 1 and commuters. And to JH – the “greater good” is not a shorter commuter time for you. The greater good is safety and quality of life for the residents of Penns Neck and restored traffic flow for hundreds of east west commuters. Unless you are totally myopic you must realize that this is much larger than “the concerns of a few Princeton residents”. The major concerns also involve hundreds of people in West Windsor. Proper traffic management is regional and takes into consideration flow in all directions.

  • Smart Traffic Solutions is all for impoving the traffic flow. Improving traffic flow and the safety of residents is the whole point of the petition. By making these changes it will further improve the traffic flow. Also, if anyone has a better solution that is also cost effective (route one in a cut would cost $235 million+ accoriding to the DOT and will not happen) I am all ears. This would not divert all of the traffic to Harrion as the overpass would not connect to Washington road but eliminate the light at Harrison and Route 1 greatly impoving the traffic flow on route 1. As I said, the point of this petition is not only to get the DOT to open the jug-handles but INCREASE the traffic flow on Route 1. This has also destroyed the quality of life and decresed the safety for everyone living in Penn’s Neck. There have been over 7 accidents in the Penns Neck neighborhood since the start of this pilot program. This “band-aid” fix is not the solution and just reporting what will NOT work is not the answer. Smart Traffic Solutions is offering solutions to a huge problem.

  • JH

    You know, I live in Princeton Borough and commute to College Road East and I think the jughandle closings have really improved traffic flow on Route 1. I’m not sure the concerns of a few Princeton residents should outweigh the greater good of shortening commute time for all the Route 1 commuters.

  • As
    I read the petition it refers to a Vaughn Dr. Connector and Harrison
    Street Overpass. (No mention of the Washington Rd. underpass.) This
    isn’t the re-introduction of the dumb idea
    of shifting the Washington Road traffic onto Harrison St? Harrison St.
    already backs up badly. If so, not only can I not sign this petition,
    but I would aggressively oppose it as a Harrison St. resident.

  • harborsparrow

    Too bad you’ve coupled other proposals with a request to reopen the jughandles. I’m against the jughandles, against any “bypass”, and against widening Alexander St bridge (which acts as traffic calming). I’m FOR an overpass or underpass at either Washington or Harrison St.

  • Harrison st resident

    Can’t sign this petition though I am 100% for ending the trial. The millstone bypass idea is not the solution. The petition should be solution neutral.

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