March 20, 2019

Oversized Fueling Station Negatively Alters Character of Intersection

To the Editor:

Recent actions by the municipality of Princeton have made the already overcrowded and dangerous intersections at Cherry Hill, Mt. Lucas, and Route 206 even worse. What’s more, the new, oversized fueling station significantly and negatively alters the character of the area.

The closure of Terhune Road between Mt. Lucas and Route 206 has created even more traffic congestion. Now all cars coming from Valley and Terhune Roads that want to turn left onto Route 206 must do so at the traffic light where they have to wait for east-bound traffic on Cherry Hill Road to clear the intersection.

At a Zoning Board hearing in 2018 on the new First Aid & Rescue Squad building, representatives of the Rescue Squad and the Zoning Department indicated that the municipality had studied the effect of closing Terhune Road and that the state would be redoing the intersection which they believed would alleviate the traffic problems. Terhune Road is now closed and there isn’t a hint of intersection improvements by the state. Surely these should have occurred before putting a shovel in the ground and closing Terhune Road.

And why did we have to destroy an attractive greenspace graced with sculptures created and donated by the family of a local architect and sculptor? To put in a fueling station?  Really? As near as we can tell the town never publicized its plan to relocate and substantially enlarge what had been a relatively inconspicuous, small fueling station in this residential zone (R-6). There’s no record of the municipality informing the neighbors in the immediate area about the final plans. Surely some notice, even if not legally required, would have been diplomatic. Passing mention of a “slightly larger” fueling pump with a “roof” at a Zoning Board hearing is severely lacking in candor.

There must be other sites where the traffic isn’t already too congested and where the large fueling pump and huge canopy would fit better into the surroundings. In fact, the public record shows that the Site Plan Review Advisory Board strongly advised the town to relocate the fueling station out of the area. We ask the mayor and council to move the fueling station to a more suitable site.

This is a travesty and frankly should not stand.  It’s never too late to correct an egregious error.

Cate and Jim Litvack
John and Sue Hurley
Dana and Alberto Molina
Lindsay Casto
Maria Shchelkova and Yakov Prokoshin
Rob Cerutti and Callie Hancock
Dunbar Birney and Louise Senior
Adrienne and Doug Rubin
Celia M. Tazelaar
Elena Dotsenko and Konstantin Styrkas
(All the above residents of Laurel Road)

Louisa and Austin Clayton
Mt. Lucas Road

Huck Fairman
Mt. Lucas Road

Katerina Visnjic and Mark Ioffe
Terhune Road