Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 51
Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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Miller Stepping Down as Township Mayor

Ellen Gilbert

Bernie Miller has announced that he is stepping down as mayor of Princeton Township, effective January 2, 2011, when a reorganization meeting will be held to select a new mayor.

“I will do so with deep personal regret,” said Mr. Miller in a letter to Town Topics (see page 13). “It has been my privilege to serve the people of Princeton Township as mayor for the past two years and as a member of Princeton Township Committee for the past nine years.”

Deputy Mayor Chad Goerner reported that he has put his name forward as mayor, and “hopefully will be confirmed by my colleagues on January 2.”

“I would like to extend my praise for Mayor Miller’s service to Princeton Township,” said Mr. Goerner. “Next year will certainly bring its share of challenges and because of Mayor Miller’s leadership, Township Committee is well positioned to face those challenges and deliver strong and effective government to residents of Princeton Township. I look forward to a new role on Township Committee next year and want to thank Mayor Miller and my colleagues on Township Committee as we continue to work together to find solutions for the benefit our community.”

In other business, pending State Department of Transportation and other relevant agencies’ approval of designated roads, the word “sharrows” is likely to become a fixture in Princetonian’s vocabulary after the new year.

In a work session presentation at this week’s Township Committee meeting, Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee member Yan Bennett described “sharrows” as shared lane markings that safely accommodate both vehicular and bicycle traffic. It’s “a great way to make Princeton friendlier for bikes,” she observed.

Narrow streets, numerous parking places, many pedestrians, and lots of people who use bicycles for both recreation and transportation make for a challenging street scene in the Princetons, Ms. Bennett said. The two municipalities average 14 or 15 accidents a year, and almost all of them result in injuries. One, in 2007, was fatal. Ms. Bennett reported that most accidents involve males and occur during afternoon rush hour. She described “dooring,” which occurs when a bicyclist is intercepted by a driver opening a car door, as a particularly onerous problem; besides being hit by the car door cyclists are often thrown into oncoming traffic.

The 1979 bike route system established in Princeton is “not very useful,” said Ms. Bennett. Sharrows, on the other hand, are an official Traffic Control Device that “notify vehicle drivers that bike traffic is to be expected.” The perception of safety created by the existence of sharrows, she said, should result in an increase in area bike riding. “It’s a good fit for our community,” Ms. Bennett observed.

“This is not an experimental design,” Ms. Bennett emphasized. “It is a standard that appears in federal guidelines that are being implemented nationwide.”

Potential sharrows, which are intended only for adults, include stretches of Nassau, Hamilton, Wiggins, and Witherspoon Streets. “We’re asking the Borough and the Township to work together on this,” said Ms. Bennett. A recent presentation to Borough Council was positively received, and Princeton University has expressed its support for the plan. It was agreed that a public education program would accompany the creation of sharrows, and that Township and Borough Police would continue to waive the rule against bike-riding on sidewalks for youngsters.

The next Township Committee meeting will be on Wednesday, December 29, from 10 a.m. until noon. The 2011 meeting schedule will be ready for the municipalities’ reorganization meeting on Sunday, January 2, at noon. Princeton Township Committee meetings typically take place at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, with one meeting a month in July and August.

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