In the early morning of March 9, a test was conducted on South Tulane Street. Vehicles were sent south on the street towards the Nassau Street intersection as part of an experiment to see what would happen if the town reverses the direction of the street.
The reversal of the direction of South Tulane Street has been proposed as part of the plan to permanently make Witherspoon Street a one-way street heading south to north. In order to create a clockwise circle for traffic to flow in and alleviate the extra traffic on Vandeventer Avenue, the idea was to reverse the direction of Tulane Street so drivers could turn on Nassau to Witherspoon Street, then onto Spring Street, then onto Tulane Street, and then make a right back on to Nassau Street.
Mayor Mark Freda, a volunteer firefighter and member of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad for more than four decades, expressed concerns at a council meeting last month about the proposed change, citing safety issues. Some of the buildings at the intersection of Nassau Street and South Tulane stop where the street begins. Freda was concerned that vehicles would have no line of sight to safely turn onto Nassau Street, and that the change would be very dangerous for pedestrians. Other officials seemed to be unaware there could be safety issues, and thought they could be remedied by putting potted plants or other materials between the road and the crosswalk.
But the experiment on March 9 revealed that the change would be problematic due to the safety concerns Freda raised. One local merchant noted that the front end of some vehicles is well into the crosswalk before the driver has a line of sight.
Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton confirmed in an email on Monday that her department does not recommend that the direction of traffic on South Tulane Street be reversed. “It is not a viable option,” she said.