Township Enacts Law Prohibiting Passing At School Entrance
After several discussions between residents, Township Committee, and the Princeton Regional School Board, Township Police have begun enforcing a new law prohibiting eastbound drivers from passing on the right near the entrance of Johnson Park School.
The problem stems from a bottleneck that forms for about 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon during school drop-off/pick-up times. The turn on to General Johnson Drive off Rosedale Road has caused headaches during the morning rush, but the intersection is otherwise quiet.
A safety concern arose when commuters heading east toward Princeton on Rosedale Road began to bypass vehicles making left turns into the school. Most drivers would pass those turning vehicles on the right using the deceleration lane designated for the entrance of the newly-built Greenway Meadows, which lies directly across the road from the school entrance. Residents worried pedestrians were at risk with cars using that lane to pass.
At a hearing last month, a resident movement calling for the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection stalled when two county engineers said the intersection would never get approved for signal because the bottleneck was only a problem for a brief, albeit hectic, part of the day. The engineers, Acting County Engineer Greg Sandusky and County Traffic Engineer George Fallat, said the Township would be better served by introducing an ordinance enforcing restrictions on the use of the Greenway Meadows access road to pass vehicles turning left into the school.
In addition, Mr. Sandusky said that a long-planned traffic signal at the corner of Rosedale and Province Line roads, about a mile west down from Johnson Park School, will help to lighten the traffic load at the school. The installation of that light, however, has been slowed due to property acquisition obstacles on the county end.
It was also suggested that police have a member of the force directing traffic at that intersection, but Township Police Chief Anthony Gaylord said that there are not enough officers available to direct traffic at that entrance. Currently, Township Police cover 16 school crossings daily (combined morning and afternoon) and over 500 crossings annually.
"It's a tough situation," Chief Gaylord said at the hearing.
But to many residents, passing in the second lane, which was intended only for park use, has created a "two-lane highway" effect on that segment of Rosedale.
Summonses issued for passing on the right merit a four-point ticket, according to the Motor Vehicle Commission statute. Roadway markings and signs indicating the new law have been put into place.