The June 8 issue of U.S. 1 included a letter from West Windsor resident Pete Weale, asking some pointed questions about how the Alexander Road reconstruction was being executed. The letter, in which Weale wondered why the road couldn’t be re-opened to a single lane of traffic during peak rush hour periods, drew some sympathetic reaction from Route 1 commuters, especially on Thursday and Friday, when temperatures approached 100 degrees.

We received at least one phone call from a motorist stuck in the tie-up on Route 1 caused by the shutdown of Alexander, one of three main arteries into downtown Princeton. And we received an E-mail from commuter Jeffrey Bisk, who offered some additional suggestions:

1.) Arrange with NJ Transit to offer free or lower cost rides on the Dinky train until Alexander Road is reopened.

2.) Since the greatest traffic tie-up occurs during the evening rush hour as Princeton traffic clogs Washington Road trying to reach or cross Route 1, establish a temporary right hand express lane through the vacant Exxon station on the corner of Washington Road and Route 1.

Adds Bisk: “I am sure if you ask for suggestions how to mitigate traffic some Princeton students and faculty could give greater input.”

Given the logistical, legal, and bureaucratic challenges of implementing either of these ideas, and the relatively short time span of the closing (the heavy work is expected to be finished and the road partially reopened by Wednesday, June 29), Bisk’s suggestions may be too late to help this time.

But weighing these and other possible strategies should certainly be on the long-term planning agenda. This fall the DOT is planning to temporarily limit access to the Washington Road and Harrison Street jughandles to see what impact that has on traffic. And eventually major projects may take Washington Road traffic under Route 1, and Harrison Street traffic over it. June of 2011 may be just a harbinger.

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