‘Not enough right now’


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Hopewell Township Committee hears traffic safety concerns at Denow Road and the intersection of Federal City Way and Bull Run Road. 

Residents expressed traffic safety concerns with the Hopewell Township Committee specifically people not stopping at the crosswalk at Denow Road and the intersection of Federal City Way and Bull Run Road.

The concerns followed after the Township Committee heard a presentation about traffic calming remediation on April 17.

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The crosswalk with flashing lights is located at Freedom Way and Denow Road and is between Freedom Village at Hopewell and Birchwood at Hopewell, which are both adult communities that have residents with disabilities on 725 Denow Road.

The parents are concerned for the safety of their children and others as they make their way through the crosswalk to go to the Hopewell Crossing Shopping Center.

“I have a daughter myself with down syndrome, who lives in Birchwood. Recently, as everyone knows a young lady got hit by a car while the lights were flashing and ended up in the hospital,” Karen Morris said. “We have three people that were hit or nearly hit and those are the ones I know about.”

She added that her daughter has a stigmatism and can’t judge the speed very well, so she has to wait for the flashing lights at the crosswalk.

“You have given us all the reasons for why we should not have speed bumps and why we should not have red lights there. My daughter crossing that road is probably the equivalent of me crossing 295 every time I want a pint of milk,” Morris said. “What are you going to do about it? It is not enough right now.”

The parents noted they chose for their children to live at Birchwood so that they can maintain their independence with a shopping mall on the road.

Committeewoman Uma Purandare said she will work with Police Chief James Rosso, the neighbors, and Township Engineer Jim Hutzelmann on the issue moving forward.

Resident Jim Burd raised the traffic issue at the intersection at Federal City Way and Bull Run Road.

“Hopewell Township, Ewing and Lawrence come together right there. What I suggested before was that [the] three police chiefs of the municipalities get together there when it is rush hour,” he said. “The traffic is consistent. That is where a setup has to be done in regard to a double type of traffic lights, so it works properly.”

Deputy Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning has participated in meetings with Ewing, Lawrence, and Mercer County government about putting a stop light at the intersection of Federal City Way and Bull Run Road.

Hopewell Township engineers are figuring out the details and will be in charge of maintenance for the traffic light, according to Peters-Manning.

“[Hopewell Township] has budgeted for it. It was envisioned to be split three ways by the three municipalities. The other two municipalities are on board,” Peters-Manning said, adding the coordination among different entities of government “takes a little bit of time.”

She noted that the county would not “pay for anything,” but would facilitate the discussions.

During the traffic calming presentation, Rosso said the police department has a two-tier approach to traffic complaints.

Traffic officers will conduct added enforcement in the areas they receive the complaints.

“We review their data after about a week and talk to them about what they are seeing on the roadway and see whether we continue with it on the added enforcement sheet,” he said. “Usually, we see a decrease in the complaints we receive.”

If added enforcement was not to work, the police department would use another step, which is utilizing their portable radar traffic data recorder.

“The recorder is a small black box and is invisible to the motorists. We take that box and affix it to usually a telephone pole and sits there for about a week,” Rosso said. “The box records the volume of traffic we are seeing and speed of the traffic [in both directions].”

The department gathers that data, prints out a report and then publishes that report on the township website. They also share that information with the Township Engineer James Hutzelmann once it is collected.

“We sit down and talk to see if there are any other calming measures to be put into place and if there are any additional concerns in that area,” Rosso added.

Hutzelmann noted that police enforcement is not the only tool they have in the toolbox.

Those other tools – physical barriers, actual changes to the roadway, such as medians and bump outs, that make the driver divert from a straight-line road, a speed table, pavement markings, striping, words on street, signage, crosswalks, radar speed signs, and curb extensions [makes drivers deviate steering position], which is intended to slow vehicle speed.

In addition to crash analysis, Hopewell Township has to analyze what would be the appropriate traffic calming measure that would correct an issue.

“Not every crash is due to the same circumstances. The idea is you want to apply the proper measure at the proper location [for] the right reason,” Hutzelmann said. “We really only start looking at true traffic calming on any road that is really posted at 35 miles per hour or less.”

Some of the traffic calming measures won’t work on higher speed, higher volume roads, according to Hutzelmann.

“In fact, you really can’t do these things on these roads because the volumes are just too high and causes too much of an impact to circulation and traffic. These are lower speed local road applications,” he said.

Hutzelmann suggested a process by which the township would evaluate any of the requests, because they are time consuming, require resources and the township has limited budgets for capital improvements.

“Other towns have adopted a process where residents who approach the township about traffic calming would initially do it as a petition,” he said, adding it would help the town prioritize and take measures to the next level of “hey we need to do something here.”

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