Rt 1 Jughandle Design Needs Bike/Walk Improvements

Many people regularly bicycle between West Windsor and Princeton, and the WWBPA is frequently asked at the Farmers Market for the safest route to Princeton, which involves crossing Route 1.

We generally recommend Washington Road (CR571) because the traffic circle slows down traffic and lets cyclists make themselves visible to motorists – unlike, for example, the high-speed ramps off Route 1 at Alexander, Meadow or Quaker Bridge roads.

West Windsor Township Council supports this, and adopted a resolution calling on Mercer County to designate a bicycle route along CR571 (West Windsor Twp Council Resolution 2010-R174).

Since West Windsor, Mercer County and NJDOT have all adopted Complete Streets policies, we were disappointed that no bicycle or pedestrian safety accommodations were evident in the jughandle concept design.

We recommend the following safety improvements to benefit both bicyclists and pedestrians who wish to use or cross Route 1:

1. Add a multi-use path at least on the east side of Route 1 from Alexander Road to Plainsboro, to connect the Dinky Line multi-use path behind the Alexander Road offices to the Penns Neck neighborhood and on to the hospital (and wellness center) in Plainsboro. Improved pedestrian and bicyclist accommodation for Penns Neck will prevent this stretch of Route 1 from becoming as deadly as further north in Middlesex County.

2. Create a safe bicycle route crossing Route 1 using Washington Rd/CR571, for example by reducing the design speed of the jughandle linking southbound Route 1 traffic to CR 571/Washington Road, or by creating a stop from the jughandle before turning right on CR571, to allow drivers an opportunity to look for bicyclists. The current highspeed jughandle merge design will create a dangerous condition for bicyclists traveling the bicycle route between Princeton and Princeton Junction train station.

3. Add marked crosswalks to all legs of the intersections.

4. Add bicycle lanes or sharrows to the improved intersections to guide bicyclists and alert motorists to the safest lane positioning while using the intersections.

5. Add a westbound bicycle crossing at Harrison even though there is no motorized vehicle crossing in that direction.

6. Add an off-road multi-use trail crossing Route 1 to connecting trails adjacent to the Dinky tracks, as described in the West Windsor Twp Circulation Element of the Master Plan.

Please contact our officials to support these recommendations.

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4 Responses to “Rt 1 Jughandle Design Needs Bike/Walk Improvements”

  1. Jerry says:

    Thanks Ken and Andy,

    To Ken’s point, we tried to describe that in recommendation 6, guess it should have been a clearer description.

    Andy’s call for bike lanes through the intersection is the right idea, but challenging to design when limited to NJDOT’s current accepted bikeway guidelines. If NJDOT was willing to consider additional sources of design guidelines, such as NACTO’s, there are more tools to consider. As a result of the current guidelines, bike lanes through traffic circles are problematic – does anyone have an example in NJ?

    I like Andy’s idea re a multi use trail on the west side of Rt 1, at least from Harrison to Mapleton. Combined with our recommendation for a trail from the Dinky tracks to the hospital, biking and walking should be well supported off the busy Rt 1 roadway. There’s currently a sidewalk over Scudders Mill that pretty sketchy to bike on but tolerable in a pinch, connects to paths west to Mapleton and the canal and east along Scudders Mill toward the hospital.

  2. BTW, I don’t think there is a link to the detailed pdf of the overview rendering of the project, I’m including it here for everyone’s reference.
    http://www.westwindsornj.org/advisories/8-lane-At-Grade-AERIAL_11x17.pdf

  3. Ken carlson says:

    Another option and one the WWBPA has proposed (and lobbied for) in the past is a dedicated bicycle-pedestrian bridge over route 1 immediately adjacent to the Dinky railroad bridge ( approx cost $500,000-1,000,000 since the embankment is already in place). On the east side of route 1 the bridge would connect up with the Dinky line multi-use path and west of route 1 to a macadam path on princeton univ land or existing ROW that would connect with the new bikelanes on Alexander road or that would continue straight all the way to the D&R Canal. This would create by far the safest crossing of rt 1 and one that Princeton and WW residents deserve.

  4. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    Thank you for speaking up on this and saying exactly what was on my mind.

    I saw the close-up of the above rendering and was more than disappointed, but not at all surprised by the total lack of ANY bike accommodations at Washington and Rt 1. What good is a Complete Streets policy if every time NJDOT designs a project, they immediately assume that there is not need to accommodate any thing else but cars.

    Two extra points:

    1 – Add bi-directional bike/ped accommodations on both side of Rt 1 North of Harrison Street to access Plainsboro Road on either side of the highway.

    2 – Bikelanes! Not Sharrows. The traffic volume is WAY too high on Washington for Sharrows to be effective. Plus the speed limit of 45 and 50mph is over the acceptable design limits for the facility type even though the effective speed of traffic at the intersection is very slow if not at a complete halt.

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