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Snowden Residents Explore Legal Options As Towns Examine Sidewalk Solutions

Matthew Hersh

Princeton Borough and Township officials convened last night at Borough Hall in the hope of resolving the issue of what has been dubbed a "missing link" of sidewalk along a small portion of Snowden Lane.

A proposed 1,300-foot sidewalk on the western side of Snowden between Franklin and Hamilton avenues has caused more than a stir, so much so, that a resident speaking on terms of anonymity, has said the neighborhood is looking to legal counsel to see what their options are in blocking the construction of the sidewalk.

"A sidewalk would be an abomination to the street and we feel disenfranchised," the resident said.

Last night's meeting took place after Town Topics went to press.

First coming before Borough Council in September, the issue was tabled for Council review by Township Committee. Seven of the 12 residences that lie on that western portion of Snowden are technically within Borough city limits, but the actual right-of-way, which includes the area where the proposed sidewalk would be, is controlled by the Township. About 400 feet from Franklin Avenue to the Princeton Borough line affects Township properties, and from the municipal line to Hamilton avenue, about 1,000 feet, the proposed sidewalk would abut Borough properties.

A heavily-travelled road that has retained much of its "country" character, Snowden Lane has turned into a thoroughfare that Township Police believe is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, especially for children going to and from nearby Riverside and Littlebrook elementary schools.

But residents have repeatedly maintained that the foot traffic along the road is slight and that the presence of pedestrians in the road causes drivers to be more cautious.

The construction of the proposed sidewalk would encounter certain obstacles on that stretch, said Robert Kiser, Township Engineer. There are several trees on the western side of the roadway, utility lines, driveways, stone walls, landscaping, and sloping areas which would have to be treated.

Greg O'Neil, arborist for the Township, has said that of the 12 trees that would need to be removed, about seven would have to come down in any case because of poor health.

Michael Suber, chairman of the Princeton Township Sidewalk and Bikeway Committee, said he hoped there can be a compromise.

"The governments and the residents need to come to some kind of solution that is a win-win for everyone," he said. "It may not be possible, but that is what I certainly hope for and I expect that Borough Council and Township Committee will be looking in that direction."

But a middle ground may never be found by some who live on that stretch of Snowden: "We don't want a sidewalk," the anonymous resident said.

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