September 28, 2022

It’s Time for Expansion of “Pedestrian Priority” Crossing System in Princeton

To the Editor:

I was shocked to read earlier this year that 29 pedestrians were struck on Princeton streets in the past year — 24 (83 percent!) in marked intersections. Since we have had a successful trial of the “pedestrian priority” system at the corner of Nassau and Vandeventer streets it now seems logical and urgent to implement that system at other busy intersections in Princeton, whether controlled by the state or the town. This can definitely reduce the conflict between pedestrians crossing and drivers turning at these intersections.

The busy intersection of Witherspoon and Wiggins streets would be a prime location for the “pedestrian priority” system, particularly now as Princeton school and University students, and tourists, are on the streets in increased numbers. With the library on one corner and the Arts Council on another, this has become a busy intersection even during the summer, with lots of foot traffic and, unfortunately, frequent jaywalking. Hopefully, this change can be made without requiring state approval to slow its implementation.

It would also seem logical to implement this system at the corner of Witherspoon and Nassau streets given the conflict of traffic turning north onto Witherspoon Street while pedestrians are crossing simultaneously. Of course, this is more difficult since, as I understand it, the state may have the final say on changes at this location.

And, as the recent discussion of “white lines” has indicated, we are now all aware that there are numerous regulations to be met in making any of these changes.

As I’ve noted before, New Haven uses this system throughout the city. It too has numerous intersections where students and other pedestrians cross busy streets — more safely there because of the “pedestrian priority” crossing system. I hope we do not have to wait for another injury at a marked intersection to spur the use of a safer system for pedestrians in Princeton.

David H. Miller
Hawthorne Avenue