A High Schooler’s View

Clarksville Road: in need of bike lanes

Clarksville Road: in need of bike lanes

This letter — unsolicited by the WWBPA! — was published in the December 18 issue of the?West Windsor-Plainsboro News:

Biking Is Enjoyable

But Dangerous

West Windsor is a great area to live in. It has a great school district, a wonderful mayor, many serene parks, and the second largest train station in New Jersey for commuters. I personally like my town, and I take pride in riding my bike to the Aljons to get a slice of pizza or delicious garlic bread, or to the library to pick up some books or DVDs, or even to the train station to take a ride into Princeton.

I enjoy this, but the fact is that West Windsor has dangerous roads. Just look at North Mill Road, South Mill Road, or Clarksville Road and look at the high speed limits, low police presence and dangerous risks pedestrians have to take to cross the street. Cranbury road going to Grovers Mill road has no sidewalk, forcing pedestrians onto the 50 m.p.h. speed limit roads. Wallace going toward Alexander Road is an extremely dangerous speedway during rush hour, yet there is no police presence at this time.

Has anything been done to make roads safer? Yes. There is, in fact, an organization known as the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance (WWBPA) that campaigns for safer roads. You can join this group. For more information go to wwbpa.org, the group?s website.

What else has been done? The West Windsor town government has completed a project known as the Dutch Neck Village Safety Improvements. This project was completed to lower the speed limits on Reed Drive, Oakwood Way, and South Mill Road. Also, following the 2005 automobile death of Rebecca Annito, the S curve that she died on was re-stripped and remodeled. Have these solutions helped? Yes, they did help, but have they really helped enough? No, they have not completely solved the the problem.

Several incidents have happened due to unsafe roads. On March 3rd 2008, an 18-year-old high school student, Christopher Dittrich, swerved off Route 571 and hit a tree, critically injuring himself. Dittrich was sober and wearing a seatbelt, and the airbag worked properly. Route 571 has a speed limit of 50 m.p.h., and it has many dangerous bends and turns, so this high speed limit should definitely be lowered by a significant amount especially on the route?s danger zones.

Jaquan Wilson, a 22-year-old from North Brunswick was killed in an accident on Village Road West, on January 15 2009. At the North Post Road intersection, his car smashed into a utility pole. The speed limit again is the problem and without doubt it has to be lowered from its 45 m.p.h., to 25 m.p.h. at this dangerous spot. I could keep going with West Windsor automobile deaths but I will not continue the depressing topic and get to the root of the subject. I will leave it to the reader to understand how pertinent the problem that we are dealing with is.

Now, after reading this editorial, please keep the WWBPA in your mind. Look at the website, maybe give some donations, maybe sign a petition, maybe just join the group. Anything you do with this group will help create safer roads. The more support the WWBPA receives, the less chance there is of innocent people dying. Keep safe.

Arvin Smith

Editor?s note: The writer is a ninth grade student at High School North.

5 Responses to “A High Schooler’s View”

  1. Antonio says:

    You do realize that Chris Dittrich was going over 90 mph when he crashed? Lest we attribute all of the dangers to roads and not the mistakes of new drivers.

  2. Brian says:

    The speed limit on Route 1 should be 55 near the areas with a lot of intersections (like near washington Rd.), 65 in the general area, and 65-70 in the open areas such as between I-95 and Franklin Corner Rd. and between Plainsboro Rd. College Rd. E. There is no reason doing 70 in any of those areas poses a hazard if you’re paying attention. Doing 70 through the penta-intersection with Washington Rd. is just plain stupid and 55 is fine there.

    And it should be 75+ on I-95 or the turnpike as is typical on European highways. So 55-60 wouldn’t be unreasonable for 571 at all, its the irresponsible drivers that ruin it for everyone. It has to be consistent but if I had my way, they’d all be raised to an actual *limit* not something where you can break it by 10 mph and get away with it

  3. silvia says:

    Enforcement would be great, but in the meantime, let’s remember that even 571 is narrow and has curves. Why should the speed limit there be higher than on wide-open Route 1?

  4. Ikons694 says:

    Also a 25 mph speed limit on villiage road west would be insane. The guy was a bad driver, thats it. Don’t penalize everyone with tons of pointless tickets because of one bad driver.

  5. Ikons694 says:

    Speed limit should be RAISED to 60 and enforcement of tailgating increased. Tailgating is the problem, not speeding. Better sidewalks are needed though, and there are some bikers that ride right in the road, which needs to be stopped. This is a major throughway, putting the speed limit artificially low is just going to piss people off and create more tailgating accidents. Nobody will follow it. Typical speeds on 571 are 50-55 and recommended speed limit is 85th percentile (though angsty locals rarely do their research and realize that this is the safest option), hence 60 or at least 55 mph would be a good limit for the road that would put most drivers in compliance with the law.

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