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Safe Routes to School attracts visitors to special information center

More than two dozen people turned out for a special public information session April 19 to review proposed safety improvements on Rosedale Road, between Elm Road and Christopher Drive.

Residents who missed the public information session may still offer input by emailing their comments to the Princeton Engineering Department at engineering@princetonnj.gov by May 3, said Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton.

The project’s goal is to provide safe pedestrian and bicycle crossings at Rosedale Road and General Johnson Drive, which leads to the Johnson Park School. It would make it safer for students who walk or ride their bicycles to school.

“We want to provide safe access so parents don’t have to drive their children to school. The children can walk or ride their bicycles,” Stockton said.

The proposed improvements include installing an 8- to 10-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle path on the north side of Rosedale Road (the school side), which would replace the existing 6- to 7-foot-wide asphalt path. It would begin at Christopher Drive and end at Elm Road.

Also, a 5-foot-wide concrete sidewalk is proposed to be installed along portions of Rosedale Road on the south side. New curbs, ramps, crosswalks and driveway aprons would be installed on Rosedale Road.

Proposed improvements also include a mini-roundabout, or small traffic calming circle, that would be constructed at the intersection of Rosedale Road and General Johnson Drive. Tweaks to the traffic light at Rosedale Road and Elm Road also have been suggested.

The final design is expected to be completed by spring 2023, Stockton said. Construction could begin in 2024.

Princeton received a $1 million Safe Routes to School state grant for improvements to the asphalt path on Rosedale Road and to make improvements to the intersection of Rosedale Road and General Johnson Drive.

The town’s initial Safe Routes to School grant application sought to install a traffic signal at Rosedale Road and General Johnson Drive, but the New Jersey Department of Transportation nixed it. Traffic signals must be approved by the state agency.

Princeton residents have increasingly pushed for more safety measures, following the death of a pedestrian who was killed as he crossed Rosedale Road near General Johnson Drive in August 2021.

There are some safety measures in place, such as a pedestrian-activated rectangular rapid flashing beacon and signage that indicates a school zone. There are flashing overhead lights that announce reduced speed when children are present.

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