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Committee considers footbridge

Pedestrians may no longer have to risk their lives while crossing Washington Road.

The University's pedestrian safety task force met for the yesterday for the second time to discuss "ways of providing safer means" for crossing the particularly dangerous street, said Associate Director of Public Safety Chuck Nouvel, who chairs the committee.

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The task force is trying to "make real movement" toward improving pedestrian safety, said USG vice president Spencer Merriweather '00.

With the help of the USG, the task force also hopes to educate students about pedestrian and bicyclist crossing regulations, Nouvel said. According to USG committee on campus and community affairs chair Brad Saft '00, the portion of Washington Road near Jadwin Gymnasium where cars travel at high speeds is more threatening than the area near McCosh Walk where students cross en masse.

Saft said he fears that a student riding a bicycle could be killed crossing the southern part of the road. It is a "fatality waiting to happen," he added.

Task force goals

Because too many signs currently line Washington Road, improving the traffic indicators on the street is an immediate objective of the task force, Nouvel said. He added that he hopes to see some progress in removing signs and adding more uniform ones within the week.

Reducing the speed limit along the southern part of the road is also a goal of the task force. The upper part of Washington Road lies within Princeton Borough and has a 25 mph speed limit. However, as the road approaches Jadwin, it crosses into the jurisdiction of the Princeton Township, which enforces a 40 mph speed limit.

Nouvel said he hopes Mercer county will approve a reduction of the speed limit to 25 mph along the entire length of Washington Road. However, the amount of the reduction depends on the average travel speed, not necessarily on a prescribed figure, Saft said. A study is currently being conducted to record driving speeds on that section of the road.

Pedestrian bridge

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Plans to build a pedestrian bridge over the high-activity, southern portion of the road are also in progress, Nouvel said. The pedestrian bridge has been part of the University's long-range plans for many years. Although, no schedule for construction has yet been determined, Nouvel said that the bridge will definitely be built.

The bridge would be "the best thing the University can do to guarantee the safety of students on Washington Road," Saft said.

Other plans to improve safety include installing rumble strips, redesigning crosswalks and adding more flashing lights along the road.

"We are ready to hopefully implement some things that will make Washington Road a safer place," Nouvel said.

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Because of concern for pedestrian safety, the committee was created in December at the request of Dick Spies GS '72, vice president for finance and administration. In addition to Nouvel and the USG members, Dean of Student Life Janina Montero, representatives from the Princeton borough and township police departments and the University planning office sit on the task force. Public Safety oversees the committee.

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