By Anne Levin
After considering three alternatives, the recommendations of a traffic consultant, and feedback from members of the public and business owners, Princeton Council voted at a special meeting Monday evening to introduce an ordinance to keep traffic one way, going north, on Witherspoon Street between Nassau and Spring streets.
This portion of Witherspoon Street has been operating this way for the past several months in order to accommodate outdoor dining and encourage patronage of local businesses that were suffering during the pandemic. But the data that the consultants McMahon Associates considered before making a recommendation was based on pre-COVID conditions, when traffic was much heavier and flowed in both directions.
Heather Balgowan of the consulting firm said the company studied three different alternatives — returning the street to two-way traffic, making it pedestrian-only, or keeping it one-way northbound. Their recommendation for the latter also includes some modifications to Wiggins and Chambers streets, and to intersections with Nassau Street.
The section of Witherspoon Street in question is part of a larger project to redo the roadway between Nassau Street and Valley Road. “The municipality typically touches a road for a major reconstruction project every 25 to 30 years,” said Deanna Stockton, the town’s municipal engineer. “So this is our time to work on this. We’re looking at what we can do to preserve and enhance this main economic area of downtown Princeton. And how can we find healthy, safe, and equitable improvements to benefit the community?” more