May 15, 2024

Improvement Projects Currently Underway Provide Opportunities for Bike Facilities Plan

By Anne Levin

At its meeting on Monday evening, May 13, Princeton Council held a work session on the 2024 Bicycle Facilities Implementation Plan. Assistant Municipal Engineer Jim Purcell talked about how to work elements of the Master Plan Bicycle Mobility Plan into programs that are taking place to resurface roads, make capital improvements, and repave sidewalks.

“We have some opportunities this year,” he said. “PSE&G’s gas system modernization project is underway. Twelve miles of gas mains are being replaced, so they are tearing up the roadways.”

PSE&G is required to replace existing markings on the roadways, and will be asked to add some new ones. “Given limited resources, we want to implement these elements when we can,” Purcell said. “With all the construction and PSE&G work, this is an opportunity.”

Key elements of the implementation plan are the bicycle network section of the Master Plan, the Complete Streets transportation policy, and the availability of resources. Details include repaving existing markings and installing new markings for shared lanes and bike boulevards on various streets. Riverside Drive would have a bike lane going northbound, and shared lane markings southbound. This would require the elimination of the parking lane in front of Riverside Elementary School.

Councilwoman Eve Niedergang expressed concerns that removing parking “might lead to lowering of the friction that reduces the speed of cars. Are we compromising safety by taking away parking, by encouraging the cars to speed?” she asked. Purcell said there is a balance that takes place. “We might see increased speeds, but if we see more bikes on the roadway, we’ll see reduced speeds,” he said. “I don’t see it as a problem.”

Princeton’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) supports the replacement of existing markings, the installation of new ones of Chestnut Street, Moore Street, and Walnut Lane, and requests consideration of other changes.

Purcell said future Council action would be needed to prohibit parking by ordinance on Riverside Drive between Nassau Street and Prospect Avenue, on Hodge Road between Bayard Lane and Library Place, and Hamilton Avenue between Moore Street and Linden Lane. The PBAC should review the plan and recommend changes to be incorporated into the Master Plan, he said.

Since the discussion was labeled a work session, no action was taken. But members of Council were enthusiastic about the report. Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros thanked the PBAC and the town’s engineering department for their work on the issue.

“This is such an important subject as we are increasing number of electric vehicles. There are just more vehicles on the road,” she said. “We just need to find safer ways to get kids, and experienced bikers, and bikers like me, and people on scooters to move around safely. I’m really excited we are moving forward with this project.”

A complete outline of the plan is available in the agenda packet for the meeting at