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This article was prepared for the January 23, 2002 edition of U.S.

1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

Compared to all the true misfortune that resulted from

the September 11 attacks, the suspension of games and ultimate

postponement

of the National Football League season by one week was a genuinely

trivial consequence.

Yet we are now forced to mention the NFL because that chain of events

triggered the first glaring error in our annual U.S. 1 wall calendar.

Those of you who have the calendar at the office should note that

the Super Bowl this year will not be on the last Sunday in January,

but rather the first one in February.

We have only ourselves to blame for that error. But other scheduling

changes and cancellations are bound to arise throughout the year —

changes that not even the event organizers could have foreseen last

November when they transmitted their plans to U.S. 1. So we remind

you now as we do in the calendar — consult this newspaper for

more current information and call first or check an organization’s

website before venturing forth to any event.

To the Editor:

Route 1/Nassau Park: A Simple Solution?

Now that the Meadow Road at MarketFair traffic signal

on Route 1 is history, why does the DOT refuse to change the traffic

signal at Nassau Park Boulevard to a solid green signal during morning

(7-9 a.m.) and afternoon (4-7 p.m.) rush hours?

Californians driving into San Francisco can handle rush hour over

the Golden Gate Bridge by changing the number of lanes in and out.

To date, we have been unable to get DOT to consider a similar concept

to permit traffic to flow more smoothly.

(1). Using the infamous overhead traffic signs in

conjunction

with the traffic signals themselves, please change the signals to

a solid green during the particular rush hour times.

During the transition after the posted hours, simply change to

flashing

yellow for 15 seconds, then 15 seconds of SOLID yellow, to transition

back into a controlled solid RED. Most commuters can handle the

complexity

or simplicity of this.

(2). Simultaneously, have a reflectorized barrier fall

with lights remaining solid RED with appropriate signage that will

prevent anyone from entering the intersection from the shopping center

during those time periods.

The alternatives presented to motorists are to use of the existing

Quakerbridge Road/Provinceline Road overpass.

(3). While this is being tested, finalize the plans to

construct a flyover at Nassau Park expense to permit traffic to go

over Route 1.

However, if Nassau Park and its tenants don’t buy into the idea,

remove

the traffic lights at Nassau Park Boulevard, as promised long ago.

The handful of cars crossing Route 1 during rush hour hold hostage

the entire mass of commuters to southern NJ and PA hostage.

(4). Disclose DOT’s plans on how the Interstate 195/95

roadway redesign will handle this traffic traveling at 60 mph and

squeezing into one lane (Route 1 South to I-95/295 North).

Trying to exit or enter Route 1 in Lawrence from the NY Deli to Joe’s

Crab Shack deserves special dispensation to survivors.

(5). Why is limiting access to Route 1 in West Windsor

and Plainsboro and other communities a higher priority than limiting

access in Lawrence where, for example, gasoline fuel tankers and

trucks

pull out of the Amoco Station behind a hidden overpass?

I submit that DOT Commissioner Weinstein and his staff may not

drive Route 1 daily during rush hour or they would surely put their

collective genius, DOT engineers, and contract consultants into

solving

this solvable challenge. What would it take to get DOT to implement

this?

Pete Weale

144 Fisher Place, West Windsor

Editor’s note: Our reader raised some good questions, and

we asked the DOT for answers:

John Dourgarian, a spokesman for the DOT, responded right away.

"We have timed signals to provide as much green time as possible

at Nassau Park. When no cars are lined up waiting to get across Route

1, the light stays green. There is no automatic red cycle.

An automated sensor system lets the light know when a car pulls up

at Nassau Park Boulevard, and detects how many cars join it. The light

then turns red for Route 1 traffic just long enough to allow that

number of cars through.

"It can’t be green all the time," Dourgarian says. "We

still have to let the side street traffic in." He added, however,

that the light will be taken out in about a year. Northbound traffic

will have to exit at Quakerbridge Road to reach Nassau Park, or they

will have to get off at Meadow Road, and then circle back.

As for Weale’s concern about getting traffic off Route 1 South and

onto I-95/195, Dourgarian admits there is congestion at the point

where the roads converge, but says there is no plan to add another

lane or come up with another fix.

Another problem Weale raises is the suicide leap it takes to enter

or leave businesses along Route 1 South. From the New York Deli down

to Joe’s Crab Shack, customers have to have nerves of steel —

and bumpers to match — to peel off the roadway, and then to jet

back in.

"Yes, it’s true," Dourgarian admits, "its hard to get

in." He points out, however, that businesses like the Red Lobster

have been perched on the edge of the highway for 10 or 15 years,

implying

that when they built, they knew their customers would have to be

fearless

folks with excellent reflexes. There isn’t much the DOT can do about

the situation now, he says, except to advise that "motorists have

to use care and caution."

In a piece of excellent news for motorists, Dourgarian says the last

piece of the Meadow Road bypass, the connection to Route 1 South,

will open in mid-February.


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