May 15, 2019

Mayor Lempert Responds With News Of Bank Street Improvement Project

To the Editor

The first phase of the long-awaited Bank Street improvement project will begin this July. New Jersey American Water Company will be replacing water lines, and the work is anticipated to be completed by Labor Day. New sanitary sewer, curbs, sidewalks, and road pavement work will follow in spring/summer 2020. The project is being funded in part through a grant of $214,937 from the NJ Department of Transportation. The project is also supported via low interest loans from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and the Infrastructure Bank. The extra approvals involved in receiving financial support from these agencies can often add time to a project.

The Bank Street project has been a long time coming. The extreme narrowness of the one-way street and its historic nature present unique challenges. Neighbors have been working closely with municipal staff over the past several years on various aspects of the project, including sidewalk design and curbing. The project was temporarily put on hold while numerous proposals were developed to bury the overhead utility wires underground. The cost of relocating the lines was reviewed by neighbors and ultimately rejected. More recently, some neighbors requested free-standing street lights. Municipal staff has recommended against this addition because of the narrowness of the sidewalk and the need to provide adequate room for baby strollers to maneuver, for example. The request for the free standing street lights is currently being reviewed by the State Office of Historic Preservation in conjunction with sidewalk scoring and a raised crosswalk at Nassau Street. Once their review is complete, they will be able to finish the project permitting required for construction to begin.

We all want the road improvement project to be done well and done soon. Throughout this process the town has welcomed the input and engagement of residents and owners. The time spent exploring some of these ideas has added time to the project in some cases, but in the end, the process will hopefully result in a better design that serves the needs of the neighbors and enhances Bank Street for all who have the opportunity to experience this historic Princeton gem.

Mayor Liz Lempert