PENNINGTON: King George Road to stay at present width 


By Frank Mustac, Special Writer
Instead of narrowing King George Road, Pennington Borough Council has decided to keep the street essentially the same width.
Engineering plans originally called for reducing the width of the street as part of an improvement project, but a number of Pennington residents opposed the roadway’s slimming. Many of the neighbors attending Borough Council meetings on May 4 and June 1 told elected officials they disagreed with reducing the road width to 28 feet. Street pavement is currently about 34 feet wide.
Following comments from residents, the Borough Council voted, 3-2, on June 1 in favor of a revised design for King George Road, as well as Park Avenue, which is also part of the roughly $1.1 million improvement project that includes water main replacement on both streets.
The new plan is to maintain road widths of 34 feet on King George Road and 31 feet on Park Avenue, as well as have a sidewalk on the south side of Park Avenue.
Two “speed tables” will be installed on King George Road and another pair will be placed on Park Avenue. A speed table is traffic-calming device designed to slow down motor vehicles. The engineer designing the project will determine where the tables will be located.
Improvements also includes adding additional drains beneath the street surface called “under-drains for storm water management.
New curbing, which was originally part of the design, is no longer in the plan. Borough Council members Catherine “Kit” Chandler, James Davy and Charles Marciante voted in favor of the redesign.
Voting against the measure were Glen Griffiths and Joseph Lawver. Before the vote, Mr. Lawver said that about $25,000 could be saved by reducing the street width. Mr. Griffiths said he was keeping in mind the “fiduciary interest” of all the residents of Pennington, not just those who live on King George Road and Park Avenue.
Council member Deborah Gnatt was absent at the vote.
According Mr. Davy, Pennington Borough received a deadline extension to maintain its eligibility for a $300,000 grant that will go towards the project while its engineer makes design changes. He also said the borough’s public works committee, which makes recommendations to the Borough Council on road projects, was “very sympathetic” to the wishes of residents, including removal of curbing from the plan.
Mary Wagner, a resident of Park Avenue, said on June 1 that she prefers there were no sidewalks on her street.
Mayor Anthony Persichilli said he was in favor of sidewalks, in part, because Pennington is known as a “walking town,” but also because he is just as concerned with the safety of older people walking or in wheelchairs as he is with the safety of children traveling along streets in the borough.
Before the council vote, King George Road residents Kathleen McIlvaine and Nancy Willever both requested that their street remain at about 34 feet wide.
Ms. Willever, who works as a real estate agent, told the Borough Council on June 1 that she thought it would be a mistake to narrow King George Road, and that the street width should stay at its width to maintain real estate values. 