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This article was prepared for the July 2, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
In September the Department of Transportation is expected
to end the wrangling over one of the last bottlenecks on Route 1,
the troika of lights at Washington Road, Fisher Place, and Harrison
Street. It will pick one of the 19 plans proposed by stakeholders
after two years of deliberations.
Each plan has been analyzed in an environmental impact study. The
plans, as described at a meeting on Monday, June 30, range from doing
nothing, which no one favors, to some elaborate and expensive engineering.
Among these: tunneling Route 1 under Washington Road. This plan would
have frontage roads along Route 1’s Princeton side and could include
a connector through the Sarnoff property to the Harrison Street interchange.
But we predict that traffic will dramatically improve if the DOT simply
builds its original Millstone Bypass plan, including the overpass
at Harrison Street. The annual U.S. 1 traffic surveys have shown that,
as traffic increased over the past 15 years, the overall driving times
have actually decreased, thanks to new overpasses. When the College
Road overpass was built, it helped. When the Scudders Mill Road overpass
was built, it helped. When Meadow Road’s overpass was built, it helped.
A Washington Road/Harrison Street overpass would also make a huge
difference. The worst afternoon bottleneck is where traffic pours
off Scudders Mill and clogs at Harrison.
But will the DOT be willing to foot the bill to tunnel under Washington
Road? The advantage is that it would maintain three entrances. The
disadvantage is that it would continue to route heavy traffic through
neighborhoods in West Windsor. We think there is a chance to have
the cake and eat it too by picking a modification of the original
Millstone Bypass plan. It would include the connector road through
Sarnoff to the Harrison Street overpass and a feeder road from Harrison
Street running parallel to Route 1 to link up with Washington Road’s
dramatic tree-lined entrance. There would still be three entrances
Princeton worries that all incoming traffic would funnel onto Harrison
Street. We don’t think so. To pick one reason why not: Hoagie Haven.
To traverse the stretch of Nassau between Pine Street and Olden Avenue —
which has nearly a dozen eateries — is like herding gnats. People
dart in and out from behind parked cars as traffic slows to a crawl.
If you once drive that stretch you will avoid it next time.
Yes, drivers could choose Prospect Street or Wiggins to reach the
center of town. But we believe that a feeder road parallel to Route
1 will be faster and more pleasant. And to get to the western side
of town, the Alexander Road overpass will still be the best choice.
KUDOS TO YOUR theater critic, Simon Saltzman, for his literate and
penetrating reviews! He is a gem! I particularly enjoyed the review
of "Master Harold and the Boys." Is this a fan letter? You
We agree. Also to Saltzman’s credit, he picked 18 of the 22 Tonys
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