MERCER HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

Established 1999


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CURRENT ISSUES  

TRAFFIC IN THE MERCER HILL HISTORIC DISTRICT

VISION PLAN:  Route 206 Roundabout Study


Route 206 Vision Plan - 2 roundabouts and 2 new roads are proposed to be built in the Mercer Hill Historic District
                                       (historic district shown in white below)

VISION PLAN:  Route 206 Roundabout Study

There is a proposed NJDOT/Citizens for a Safer Route 206 Vision Plan & Traffic Calming Study that proposes building several roundabouts along Route 206 north from Princeton. 

The project includes two roundabouts in the Mercer Hill Historic District -- one at the intersection of Route 206 and Nassau Street, and the other at the intersection of Nassau Street and University Place.  The University Place intersection would be substantially reconfigured.  The corner war memorial would become a traffic island, with a new 1-way street connecting Stockton to Mercer Street built behind it (alongside the buildings at 8 Stockton/9 Mercer Streets), heading towards the Nassau Club.  Mercer Street would be 1-way from that point to the roundabout, but enter it more as a secondary road.  An additional new road is proposed through the Trinity Church parking lot, connecting Mercer Street to Stockton close to the entry to Borough Hall.  New back-in angled parking would be installed along both of the two new roads.

The Vision Plan was endorsed in principal by the Planning Board at its October 2006 meeting.  The board noted, however, that several items needed closer study and revision.  Areas for further study include:  (1) the proposed road through the Trinity Church parking lot that would cross the Memorial Garden;  (2) the proposed road behind the War Memorial at the corner of Nassau and Mercer Streets that was drawn where 9 Mercer Street (not on the Vision Plan map) is located;  (3) the question as to whether the 2 proposed roundabouts on Nassau Street would be one lane or two lanes.  An engineer at the Planning Board meeting thought that at least the Nassau Street/Route 206 roundabout would have to be 2 lanes.

The Vision Plan was discussed at the Borough Council meeting on November 8, 2006.  Lee Solow, the director of the Planning Board, was present to describe the proposal.  Some council members are eager to approve the Vision Plan so as not to lose out on what is seen as the Borough's portion of the $8 million that Urban Engineers estimated for the entire project.  They are confident that the details will be worked out later to everyone’s satisfaction. They did, however, ask that the resolution in support of the Vision Plan be reworded to take into account comments from the neighborhood.   At the November 28, 2006 Borough Council meeting, the resolution was tabled once again so that the text could be written to support the overall Vision Plan in principal while clearly expressing the concerns of  Trinity Church, the residents of the Mercer Hill Historic District and Princeton University.

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1.  The Route 206 Vision Plan & Traffic Calming Study is available online at: http://www.princetontwp.org/Rt-206_Vision_Study.html

2.  News article: 
http://www.nj.com/newsflash/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-22/1162759448199480.xml&storylist=jersey

Study suggests Princeton add roundabouts to Route 206
11/5/2006, 3:39 p.m. ET
The Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Princeton Borough and Princeton Township could get as many as 10 traffic roundabouts in the coming years if the towns adopt the recommendations made in a study funded by the state Department of Transportation.

The municipalities and a local advocacy group, Citizens for a Safer Route 206, initiated the $130,000 study about a year ago.

Last month the Princeton Regional Planning Board voted to endorse the report that came about from the study, which suggests roundabouts at busy intersections as some of the changes that should be made to Route 206 from Nassau Street in Princeton Borough north toward Princeton Township

"We expect to have modifications and changes in it, but the general concept is one that we endorse," Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand, told The Times of Trenton for Sunday's newspapers.

DOT embraces roundabouts, which are not to be confused with the traffic circles New Jersey is trying to get rid of, and the department is "considering converting many of the state's intersections to roundabouts," spokeswoman Erin Phalon said.

According to Phalon, a typical roundabout costs between $1 and $2 million without right of way acquisition, which usually bumps up the price significantly.

The Princeton area project would cost $8 million, said former Princeton Borough Mayor Marvin Reed, who is a member of the planning board.

Reed said both towns need to let DOT know that they are in favor of roundabouts for Route 206 and not worry about their specific locations until later.

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Other Issues:

  •  Reconstruction of neighborhood streets

  •  Heavy truck traffic in district

  •  Realignment of University Place

  •  Construction of the Millstone Bypass  


The Penns Neck Area Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Transportation Policy Institute at Rutgers University http://www.policy.rutgers.edu/vtc/pennsneckareaeis/index.html

Impacts of and Alternatives to the Currently Proposed Millstone Bypass.
Sensible Transportation Options Partnership (STOP).
http://princetonol.com/groups/stop/

Mayor Critical of P.U. Master Plan:  Consideration of Traffic Impact Found Wanting.  By Jeff Milgram.
Princeton Packet, Friday, Oct. 6, 2000.
http://www.pacpubserver.com/new/news/education/10-6-00/pu-plan.html

Millstone Bypass Consensus Reached: New Plan to Include Extension
Down to Alexander Road
  By Chris Antar
Princeton Packet, Wednesday, March 17, 1999. http://www.pacpubserver.com/new/news/3-17-99/bypass.html

Princeton on the Prowl: the University's Expansion Plans. Barbara Fox,  U.S. 1 Newspaper, October 23, 1996. .http://www.princetoninfo.com/univers.html