Mercer County has received approvals from the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission to install a crosswalk and
pedestrian-activated beacons at the Washington Road crossing, a crossing heavily used by pedestrians and cyclists.
The approvals were necessary due to the proposed crossing’s proximity to the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Towpath and the potential visual impacts on the elm allee. The State Historic Preservation Office, Princeton Historic Preservation Office, and Princeton University all had to sign off on the project as well.
The work will be done by the Mercer County Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Officials said the crosswalk, as well as flashers on posts and the road, will be installed by the end of this year.
The Delaware and Raritan Canal crossing at Washington Road (CR 571) is one of the most heavily used at-grade crossings in Mercer County.
In October of 2014, a father and son on a bike ride were walking their bikes across the street and were struck where the towpath crosses Washington Road. Princeton and West Windsor residents demanded that a crosswalk and flashing lights be installed after the incident. Princeton and West Windsor officials later adopted resolutions supporting pedestrian safety enhancements, including a high-visibility crosswalk and pedestrian-activated beacons.
“I’m very pleased that the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission has given the final approval for this very needed crosswalk to be put in place to create added safety for all users of the towpath,” Mercer county Freeholder and Princeton resident Andrew Koontz said. “It’s been a longtime coming, and I’m just grateful to the county administration for their diligence here. This process took a lot longer than anyone anticipated, with a large number of regulatory approvals, but they hey kept at it, and here we are.”
Koontz said the county freeholders will vote on a resolution to fund the crosswalk next month at the Aug. 18 meeting, and that he expects full support for the project.