Letters: We Need a Real Traffic Solution on Route 1

Dear Editor,

So, I took a walk in my neighborhood of Penns Neck on a warm autumn Saturday from Manor Avenue to US Route, 1 along Washington Road (0.8 miles), along with meanders one block down each on Fairview Avenue and Wilder Avenue, and here is what I found:  49 orange and white barrels, 10 “No U-Turn” signs; 7 “Local Traffic Only” signs; 1 “No U-turns” spray painted upon Wilder Avenue; 8 traffic cones in driveways; 2 official NJDOT traffic cones; 2 sawhorse barricades at driveways; 6 homemade signs saying “no U-Turns”, “no driveway turns” and the like; 7 six-foot-high plastic barricades, 1 “Road Closed” sign, 2 right arrow signs; 1 changeable information sign, 1 big orange directional sign, 9 signs to join in on the local petition, 1 crushed barrel on the side of the road, 1 “No U-turn” sign on a mailbox, and, lastly, a piece of old plywood against a metal garbage can blocking a driveway. Quantity = 110 items.

My guess is that there is no other neighborhood right now cluttered with such road and highway items like Penns Neck.

And yet, errant and confused drivers of cars, trucks, and buses continue to ignore the signage, to ignore the attempts of NJDOT to direct their path, and so they enter and explore the pleasant side streets of Penns Neck in the hopes of getting to the elusive town known as Princeton.  These side streets of Penns Neck were not made to handle such wayward travels.  The safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and schoolchildren is imperiled by the actions of these drivers following the recalculated routes of their GPS devices.

Over at Alexander Road, there has been a new solution suggested by the NJDOT this past week for a southbound US Route 1 motorist attempting to get to Washington Road east towards Hightstown. It is to take the ramp towards Princeton, to go beyond the first traffic light to make the cloverleaf turn at Canal
Pointe Boulevard, to make a left turn at the aforementioned traffic light, to go over US Route 1 on Alexander Road, and to make a left turn at another traffic light in order to take US Route north to Washington Road. (Distance = 0.9 miles).  The Alexander Road overpass and ramps were never designed to accommodate the traffic solution imposed on it by NJDOT.

Meanwhile, directional signage has sprouted like mushrooms upon the roadside in an attempt to convince the northbound US Route 1 driver trying to get to Washington Road to go to Princeton to travel the additional 1.9 miles into Middlesex County to Scudders Mill Road and back. (No, I didn’t count them.)

These new traffic patterns beg the question: Is this really the best way to have better and smoother travel upon US Route 1?  Is this the best we can do?

This bandage that NJDOT has applied to the wound has been on long enough. Even bandages need to changed in order to promote proper healing. We need a real traffic solution, not a bandage.  The bandage needs to be changed now.

We have got to do better than this.


Curtis Hoberman

One Comment

  1. It is important to remember, as we approach this election, that “solutions” are not always universal. We live in a democracy, solutions tend to be designed for the majority of voters.

    Since moving to Princeton, I have heard many opinions on the solution to transit issues. I have watched otherwise intelligent people become totally lost in egocentric arguments.

    It is well past time to face the facts. Princeton does not represent the majority of voters in New Jersey. We are a TINY little town. Many multiples of the population of Princeton travel on Rt. 1 each day. Their desires come before ours. Many multiples of the population of Princeton will NEVER use Washington Rd. and don’t care if you could make U turns or Left turns there.

    One thing I have always appreciated about small towns is that they tend to be difficult to get to. We should applaud NJDOT’s efforts to keep Princeton isolated, or move to busier cities.

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