March 13, 2019

Letter to Mayor Lempert on Route 1 Traffic Issue, With Response

Dear Mayor Lempert:

Last Sunday, (March 3) at about 1 p.m. I drove out to Route 1 on Harrison Street. Alexander Road was closed. The traffic backup extended back from Route 1 all the way to the bridge. And my wife had driven back into Princeton on Washington Road about an hour earlier and had noticed a similar backup there for traffic heading to Route 1 from Princeton.

If this was the situation in the middle of a Sunday afternoon in March, I can only imagine (or maybe I can’t) the nightmare we are going to be faced with when Alexander is closed for eight months because of the bridge replacement. We have been told that this is a NJDOT project and that it must be done, and I accept that albeit reluctantly.

(I am aware that the Dinky service to the Junction will be resuming and while this will eliminate the problem for NJ Transit riders going to the Junction, it will have little to no impact on vehicular traffic in general.)

The impact of what is coming will be profound. And the health and safety of Princeton residents will be significantly compromised because ambulances will not be able to navigate out Harrison Street to the hospital without being caught up in traffic with no way to get around it due to the constrictions of Harrison Street.

The only thing I can think of, not being a traffic engineer, is that Princeton must encourage the DOT to figure out how the traffic lights at the intersection of Route 1 and  Harrison and Washington must be adjusted in order to allow more time for traffic leaving Princeton to access Route 1. This is imperative, at a minimum. And this study should begin immediately.

I truly do not believe that the scope of what is to come for Princeton residents has been anticipated.

Alan Y. Medvin
Longview Drive

Response from Mayor Lempert: “Thanks for this suggestion. We are in discussions with NJDOT.”