Princeton Township resolution encourages Route 92 roundtable

By: David Campbell, Staff Writer    
Princeton Packet, 12/24/2004

Joins borough in request to state.

The Princeton Township Committee approved a resolution Monday night supporting a community roundtable on the long-delayed and controversial Route 92.

The committee already voted in favor of a Route 92 roundtable at a meeting in November at the urging of the Princeton Environmental Commission. However, at that time a formal resolution had yet to be drafted. The vote Monday night represented formal adoption of such a resolution.

With Monday night's vote, the township joins the Princeton Borough Council, which has also approved a resolution calling for a mediated roundtable similar to one the state Department of Transportation relied upon to resolve differences over the former Millstone Bypass.

The borough and township had earlier approved resolutions endorsing Route 92.

A final environmental review of the contentious roadway is still pending from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Princeton Environmental Commission has made its case for a roundtable with a letter submitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in July as part of the public comment on the Army Corps' draft document.

The letter claims all reasonable alternatives have not been fully evaluated. It says there is a potential for "significant environmental impacts" from the limited-access toll road, suggesting that, contrary to the corps' conclusions in the draft document, Route 92 would result in increased traffic congestion.

Under the resolution approved Monday night, which also cites the EPA letter, the Township Committee called for a roundtable to help determine "the most acceptable alternatives for identifying and alleviating east-west traffic mobility problems."

Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand had abstained from last month's vote because she said she was uncomfortable supporting a roundtable before the final environmental impact statement is issued. She also said an east-west road is very much needed in the region.

Ms. Marchand voted for the resolution Monday night, as did all four of her colleagues on the Township Committee. She said she was satisfied with language included in the formal resolution citing the need for an east-west road.

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 toll road would be built and managed by the Turnpike Authority, and would cost an estimated $400 million.

The Army Corps released its draft EIS to the public in April. A public hearing on the document was held in May, during which opponents of the road vastly outnumbered those who spoke in favor of it. The majority of the attendees were South Brunswick residents worried about traffic impacts to their community.

In other business Monday night, the Township Committee approved a $17,400 bond ordinance for repair, replacement and installation of sidewalks and driveway aprons along the westerly side of Snowden Lane between Braeburn Drive and Franklin Avenue.

Under a new formula being employed by the township, residents will be assessed 50 percent of the repair and replacement costs, with the township covering the balance.

The subject area consists of about 1,700 lineal feet of existing sidewalk between Braeburn Drive and Franklin Avenue, of which 433 feet of sidewalk and 74 feet of driveway aprons need to be replaced.

The ordinance approved Monday night is not to be confused with a controversial proposal by the township to install new sidewalks on Snowden Lane between Hamilton and Franklin avenues.

That matter is pending and has not yet been acted on by the committee.