To the Editor: Don’t Rush Bypass

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This article was prepared for the October 9, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

We have more glimmers of hope for beleaguered commuters

in our readership area. Our annual traffic issue, printed September

25, detailed the plethora of bright ideas for the proposed Millstone

Bypass of Route 1 between Washington Road and Harrison Street.

Now comes word of "an informal public information center"

on Tuesday, October 8, on the proposal to replace the "functionally

obsolete" Alexander Road bridge over the train tracks in West

Windsor. For the motorists who stack up in traffic at that narrow

bridge every day, this is good news.

Meanwhile our editor, who wrote last week about the Millstone Bypass

and the designation of bicycle and pedestrian paths along its proposed

connector roads, got some ammunition from a group that believes much

more can be done to promote bikes and walkers. Turn to page 71 of

this issue for Richard K. Rein’s summary of that argument, as well

as for a reader’s account of a liberating (!) experience at Hooters.

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To the Editor: Don’t Rush Bypass

Lake Carnegie, the Delaware and Raritan Canal State

Park, and the Millstone River and its tributaries form a continuum

of parkland filled with wildlife. The area also provides recreation

for people who row, canoe, kayak, fish, walk, jog, bicycle, and cross-country

ski in or along those waterways. Yet this unique area is threatened

by the possibility of a road near the shores of the river and the

canal.

Many cities now rue the decisions, made a generation or more ago,

to build roads next to their rivers. It seemed logical to site the

roads next to former water-transport routes and well away from areas

that were rapidly filling with commercial development.

Now those cities are trying to reclaim their waterfronts for recreation.

It’s too late for most. But it’s not too late for us in central New

Jersey; we’ve not yet lost our waterfront.

The Roundtable for the Penns Neck Area Environmental Impact Statement

(EIS) has been meeting for the past year and a half to help find a

solution to the traffic and mobility problems in the region, but a

solution that will also protect the precious historic properties,

archaeological sites, neighborhoods, and the environment.

If a road is to be built or greatly modified, the Department of Transportation

estimates that construction would not begin until approximately 2008.

However, the DOT wants to hurry the key environmental and historical

studies in order to complete a Draft EIS by this December. What’s

the rush?

We should allow the process to continue without unreasonable time

constraints so that the historical and environmental studies can be

thoroughly completed and subjected to the same scrutiny that was given

to the development of the 18 road alternatives presented on September

30 at the Penns Neck Area EIS In-progress Review. It is more important

to do it right before the draft EIS is released.

Why risk a faulty document subject to question? Why risk irreversible

damage to the environment?

Sandra Shapiro

Princeton Junction


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