Borough Council backs roundtable to discuss Route 92
By: Jennifer Potash , Staff Writer
Princeton Packet, 10/15/2004
Other area towns are not as enthusiastic.
The Princeton Borough Council adopted
a resolution Tuesday calling for a roundtable to be convened regarding
the contested Route 92.
Route 92 has been proposed by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority as an
east-west connector between Turnpike Interchange 8A and Route 1 near
Ridge Road in South Brunswick. The 6.7-mile limited-access toll road
would be built and managed by the Turnpike Authority, and would cost an
estimated $400 million.
The council did not back off its past support for the proposed roadway,
but suggested a discussion process
similar to the one convened for the Penns Neck bypass, which
brought all the stakeholders together, would
yield better results for the Route 92 design.
Borough Councilman David Goldfarb said the
public and all interested parties would have greater opportunities to
address concerns about Route 92 under the roundtable format.
Mayor Joseph O'Neill said a roundtable process is an informational one.
"And I see no reason why not to have
more information," he said.
The borough, Princeton Township, West Windsor and Plainsboro have all
expressed support for the Route 92 project.
The Princeton Environmental Commission, which serves both the borough
and township, requested that the council call for the roundtable
Barbara Simpson, vice chairwoman of the environmental commission, said the federal Environmental Protection
Agency, has raised "significant concerns," including the
filling in of wetlands and disturbing wildlife pathways, about the
proposed Route 92 design.
Robert von Zumbusch, a Princeton Township resident who represents the
Delaware & Raritan Canal Coalition, said while Route 92 will
relieve traffic in Plainsboro, the
road will likely dump truck traffic through Princeton by way of
Harrison and Nassau streets.
"There is absolutely nothing Route 92
will do to help Princeton," he said.
Borough Councilwoman Wendy Benchley,
who last year voted in favor of a resolution supporting the proposed
alignment, said she now regrets her
vote in light of concerns raised by the federal Environmental
Protection Agency. She urged the council to send a letter to the
Army Corps of Engineers expressing concern about the flaws of Route 92.
"We shouldn't just have some bland letter supporting a roundtable
(discussion)," Ms. Benchley said. She later abstained from the
council's vote to support a roundtable.
Area officials were cautious about launching a roundtable format for
Route 92, while others rejected the notion.
Princeton Township Deputy Mayor Bill Enslin, who is the Township
Committee's liaison to the Environmental Commission, said the
environmental impact study of the proposed road is well under way and a
roundtable at this point may not be helpful.
Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu said he was "not enthusiastic" about a
roundtable format that would only delay the project and harm the
region. Plainsboro has been a staunch supporter of Route 92.
"We are choking on traffic," he said.
West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh said the focus of any effort, whether
a roundtable or some other format, should be on the environmental and
"If it can handle the way the real
scientific issues and environmental issues are fully understood,
without any emotional side to it, then it would be great," Mayor
South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese
said he was happy to hear that Princeton Borough wants to discuss the
South Brunswick has raised objections to Route 92, which would run
across the township.
"This is a good first step," Mayor
Gambatese said. "You couldn't get your point across to Princeton
or Plainsboro or any other town because they are only looking at it
from their vantage point."
South Brunswick Post Staff Writer Joseph Harvie contributed to this