On several occasions over the years, U.S. 1 has addressed the issue of unsafe highways and the risks we all run as we rush to and from work on roads that were designed 50 or even 100 years ago. In light of the tragic accident that happened last Friday afternoon, March 17, we felt compelled to search our files.
The St. Patrick’s Day fatality occurred when a motorist, 65-year-old Natalya Zaltsman, entered the intersection of Route 1 and Carnegie Boulevard at the Bank of America building. She had been sitting on the Carnegie Center side of Carnegie Boulevard, waiting for the light to change, and no doubt planning to cross the highway and head toward her home in Collonade Pointe.
The light did change, she began to cross, and was struck by a truck operated by a driver who either did not notice the light change in his direction soon enough or was unable to stop the truck in time to avoid striking Zaltsman.
We were reminded of a story we ran on September 27, 2000, in which the DOT discussed changes being made to the length of time that Route 1 lights stayed yellow before changing to red, and the length of time lights in both directions stayed red before one got the green. As someone suggested at the time, it would still be a good idea for any motorist at a Route 1 intersection, once they got a green light, to say “one-thousand” slowly, then look again for traffic that cannot or will not stop, and then move into the intersection.
That was nearly six years ago. Since then more lights have been removed from Route 1 and more trucks than ever, it seems to us, barrel up and down the road as if it were a freeway. Especially now that all the other traffic lights have been removed between Carnegie Boulevard and I-95/295.
And it is still possible that the Carnegie Boulevard light will also be deleted. Nine years ago when the Department of Transportation presented its plan for the Meadow Road interchange, it pointed out that drivers who cross Route 1 at Carnegie Boulevard would be able to use Meadow Road instead. Two years ago Arch Davis, of Davis Systems Engineering, wrote a letter urging that the “little used and now unneeded” Carnegie Boulevard light would be removed soon.
Whether the light stays or goes, maybe it’s time to extend that “all red” moment. And it’s certainly time to reconsider the advice about taking an extra moment after you get the green to be sure that your fellow motorists are observing their red. Drive safely.
With this issue we resurrect a section that used to be featured regularly in the paper: “Interchange,” our version of an op ed page where people share their thoughts on issues of the day.
On page 8 of this issue Carolyn Foote Edelmann reflects on the glories of spring, now that it’s not merely tormenting us with 70 degree days in January.
Your submissions on subjects pertinent to the greater Princeton business community are welcomed (with all the usual editorial disclaimers). Mail, E-mail, or over the transom all work for us.