Residents want safety measures on Rosedale Road

Angela Siso Stentz has been appointed interim principal of the Johnson Park School.

Six months after an 82-year-old man was killed as he crossed Rosedale Road at General Johnson Drive, reportedly nothing has changed – and that has upset some parents whose children walk or ride their bicycles to the Johnson Park School.

Two of those parents – Stephanie Oster and Leslie Fabello, who both live on Fairway Drive in the Brookstone development – called on the Princeton Council to take steps to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety at the intersection at the council’s Feb. 14 meeting.

Oster and Fabello urged the Princeton Council to use its influence to lobby the Mercer County Board of County Commissioners for improvements to Rosedale Road, which is maintained by Mercer County.

Oster said she has driven or walked her children to the Johnson Park School, and nearly every day she has watched as some drivers fail to abide by the 25 mph school zone speed limit. Some drivers stop to let children cross Rosedale Road, but many do not, she said.

It was one of those cars that did not stop which struck the elderly man in August 2021. He had pushed the button to activate the pedestrian crossing signal at Rosedale Road and General Johnson Drive, and was crossing the street when he was struck by a car, reports at the time stated.

In the wake of the pedestrian fatality, several residents approached the Princeton Council in September 2021 to suggest safety measures, such as assigning a police officer at school arrival and dismissal time, or installing a traffic signal at the intersection.

The fact that Rosedale Road is not safe is not new, and that’s why residents are asking for a solution, Fabello told the Princeton Council at its Feb. 14 meeting. Former Johnson Park School Principal Robert Ginsberg met with the school’s PTO to talk about it when he was named principal in 1999.

Signage has been added to indicate a school zone, and there are flashing lights announced the reduced speed when children are present. A pedestrian-activated crossing light also has been added.

Despite those changes, “excessive speed is still a problem,” Fabello said.

There is some reason for hope, she said. The town received a $1 million grant from the Safe Routes to School program in 2019, but it is unlikely that there will be any action for a few more years, she said.

“We feel another few more years is too long to wait, and the risk of further vehicular and pedestrian accidents is too high. We are asking the Princeton Council to support our community in taking two simple steps at its earliest opportunity,” Fabello said.

The residents would like traffic calming measures to be implemented – such as better signage and better lighting at the crosswalk – until Mercer County begins working on improvements to Rosedale Road, Fabello said.

Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton told the residents that the Princeton Engineering Department has been working with the Mercer County engineer on improvements to Rosedale Road – from Elm Road in Princeton to Carter Road in Lawrence Township.

“We hope to have some information that we can share publicly, but right now we are in the internal review period with the Mercer County engineer,” Stockton said.

Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang said the town’s staff has been working “really hard” on the issue. She urged residents to contact the Mercer County Board of County Commissioners and Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes.

Princeton Councilman David Cohen said some short-term design ideas had been suggested, such as restriping Rosedale Road to create narrower traffic lanes that would have a traffic-calming effect.

Mayor Mark Freda said he would talk to Stockton, the municipal engineer, about some of the traffic calming measures. Freda and Princeton Councilman Leighton Newlin said they would attend the next Mercer County Board of County Commissioners meeting.