WEST WINDSOR: Council allocates money for proposed Canal Pointe Boulevard repaving project

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By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
WEST WINDSOR — Township Council has begun to assemble money for the proposed Canal Pointe Boulevard repaving project, allocating unspent money from several previously approved bond ordinances for the project.
Township Council introduced three bond ordinances that amended earlier bond ordinances Tuesday night. A public hearing and final action on the bond ordinances has been set for the council’s June 13 meeting.
The council also introduced another bond ordinance for $3.9 million, which includes money for the Canal Pointe Boulevard project. Most of the money in that bond ordinance has been earmarked for other purposes, such as bicycle and pedestrian improvements and assorted equipment purchases.
The amended bond ordinances allocate $1.1 million in unspent money.
Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh announced in April that Canal Pointe Boulevard would be re-striped from the present four lanes — two in each direction — to one lane in each direction, plus a center lane for left turns. It would also include bicycle lanes.
Township Council awarded a $58,850 contract to Van Cleef Engineering Associates to perform the survey work and plans for the repaving of Canal Pointe Boulevard as three lanes with bicycle lanes. After the survey work has been completed and detailed engineering plans have been developed, the project will go out to bid.
Meanwhile, township officials have held an initial meeting with the engineering firm. The two fire chiefs and members of the Public Safety Committee asked questions about the project. The fire chiefs had expressed concerns about their ability to respond and pass cars on the redesigned roadway.
The decision to implement the “road diet” — reducing the number of lanes in order to “calm” traffic — is Mayor Hsueh’s under West Windsor Township’s form of municipal government. The administration can propose an action, but it is up to Township Council to fund it.
Some residents opposed the road diet, and presented a petition to Township Council in April. But the mayor decided to go ahead with the road diet, basing his decision on the results of several studies conducted over the years — beginning with a grant-funded New Jersey Department of Transportation study in 2004.
The latest study, conducted in 2015 by the Burns Group, recommended one 10-foot-wide lane in each direction, a 12-foot-wide middle lane for left turns, and a 6-foot-wide bike lane on each side.
The goal of the study, which was initially conducted in 2008, was to evaluate the existing and future conditions on Canal Pointe Boulevard — between Alexander Road and Meadow Road — and to determine if any modifications to the roadway should be recommended to better serve all users, in accordance with the township’s “Complete Streets” policy.