June 12, 2019

Princeton and Mercer Are Teaming Up To Improve Biking Safety

By Donald Gilpin

Elm Road and Rosedale Road, for starters, will soon be seeing improvements that will make those routes safer and more comfortable for bicycles, and for pedestrians and motorists too.

Elm from Stockton Street to Rosedale is scheduled to be resurfaced this summer, with the addition of a bike lane, according to David Cohen, Council liaison to the Princeton Bicycling Advisory Committee and Planning Board member.

At their Monday, June 12 meeting, Princeton Council discussed plans for the Elm Road refurbishing with a representative from the Mercer County Engineering Department. Cohen requested consideration of bike lanes on both sides of the road, but the narrowness of Elm is problematic.

Cohen, however, noted that the town is also “entering into exciting plans for Rosedale.” Princeton has been awarded a $1 million federal Safe Routes to School grant for Rosedale (CR-604), General Johnson Drive intersection, and pathway improvements.

Cohen reported that Mercer County is looking into extending the side paths and enhancing the traffic control at the entrance to Johnson Park Elementary School, with a pedestrian crossing and possibly a traffic light.

More long-term future priorities, Cohen noted, may include bicycle-friendly improvements to Harrison Street and a plan for cyclists to cross Route 1 more safely.

Cohen acknowledged “some frustration in the cycling community that the good planning we’ve done isn’t getting implemented,” but he emphasized “how much work it takes to get it right.”

Cohen is also hopeful of resolving the question of bike lanes on Hamilton Avenue and Wiggins Street. Last year’s Beta Bike Lanes experiment revealed much positive feedback and support — from motorists and pedestrians, as well as cyclists — for bike lanes on Hamilton and Wiggins, but also concern about loss of parking spaces, particularly for downtown employees. Council will take up the issue after reports and complete data are published.

Mercer County has announced a meeting to be scheduled for July in Princeton to allow the public to learn about the
County Bicycle Master Plan “to guide future bicycle facility improvements on county highways.”

Meetings are taking place this month in Ewing, Hightstown, West Windsor, and Trenton, where the public can learn about the long-term plan and provide input.

“This will be a listening session for county officials,” said Matthew Larson, principal planner–transportation of the Mercer County Planning Department. “We need to decide what routes to prioritize, and we want direction from the public.”

“Consistent with Mercer County’s Complete Streets Policy, this plan is intended to guide installation of bicycle facilities on county highways, connecting with state highways and municipal streets,” the county’s June 6 press release stated.

Mercer County also has prepared a survey to learn about residents’ biking patterns. It will use these responses to prioritize improvements and promote various elements important to the bicycling community. The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/CML9WW5.