Princeton gearing up for improvements on Bank Street, Nassau Street

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Princeton officials plan to reconstruct Bank Street next summer, in a project that also will see the first phase of renovating historic Nassau Street.

The Bank Street portion of the job, calling for installing a new street, sidewalk and sanitary sewer system and making other improvements, is estimated to take about four months to complete, municipal engineer Deanna Stockton said on Oct. 15.

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Stockton declined to say how much the project will cost, with the state providing funding and reimbursement to cover most of the expenses.

Roughly 800 feet long and no more than 18 feet wide, Bank Street will have to be closed to traffic during the project. Stockton said officials would find “parking accommodations” for residents of Bank Street who have overnight parking permits. People who park on the street during the day will need to find other places to leave their cars.

The project predates the merger of the two Princetons, a holdover from when Princeton Township and Princeton Borough were separate municipalities.

“This project really stemmed from the need to work on the sanitary sewers,” Stockton said. “It’s a borough project that has been around for many, many years prior to consolidation.”

She said the project was held up as officials considered whether utilities on Bank Street should be installed underground, an issue that was resolved in favor of keeping them above ground.

“Now we can move ahead making the infrastructure improvements to the road and the sewer,” she said.

At the same time, officials will be replacing the sidewalk along Nassau Street, from Bayard Lane to Bank Street, and making other streetscape improvements. This represents the first phase of improving the non-Princeton University side of Nassau Street, something town officials had been eyeing.

In 2016, officials gathered public input on how to give Princeton’s main street a facelift. At the time, officials said the streetscape looked “tired” and needed repairs.

A consultant for the town created a report, studying a swath of Nassau Street from Bayard Lane to Moore Street, that provided officials with suggestions on how to change the look of Nassau Street from street signs, trash containers, lighting and other items.

“One of the reasons why the Nassau Streetscape plan was put together was to be that guideline for when we did work along the street, that we could do it in accordance with updated design standards,” Mayor Liz Lempert said on Oct. 15.

Lempert said “there is not a timeline at this point” for next the phases of sprucing up Nassau Street.

“In an ideal world, we would be able to wave a magic wand and the whole vision could be implemented overnight,” she said. “But we don’t have the funding in place for that.”

Officials dismissed a concern of having parts of Nassau Street renovated with the other part looking the way it does today.

“Well, at least part of it’s going to start looking nice, right?” Stockton said. “It’s an expensive project. As money allows, we will continue to move ahead on it.”

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