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Princeton Town Council lays out plans for second phase of Witherspoon Street construction

<h6>Charles Roth / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Charles Roth / The Daily Princetonian

The Princeton Town Council held its bi-weekly meeting on Valentine’s Day, during which it continued to discuss its plans for renovating Witherspoon Street. The Council also announced the Palmer Square Management Event Calendar for the rest of the year.

The second phase of Witherspoon Street renovations will take place on the section of the road between Green Street and Franklin Avenue. Jim Purcell, the Assistant Municipal Engineer for the municipality, gave the presentation to the Council.

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“The main purpose of the project, as it was with Witherspoon Street Phase One, is to provide some additional pedestrian-friendly streetscape,” he said, adding that the council has plans to make the road more narrow and increase the width of the sidewalk.

An issue that council members and members of the public brought up at the meeting was potential hazards on Witherspoon in relation to bike lanes. The lack of bike lanes for the planned project could make it more dangerous for cyclists who use the road.

“We did look very hard at trying to accommodate bicycles on Witherspoon Street,” Purcell said. “We just don't have the space to do it safely without eliminating the parking, and even if we eliminate the parking, the necessary space for two bicycle lanes would require us to actually reduce the tree planting space and possibly the width of the sidewalks because there's just not enough room.”

The Council must approve the plan for Phase Two by March 2022. Later in this meeting, they approved a $4.47 million construction contract to Earle Asphalt for Phase One, which will renovate the stretch from Nassau Street to Green Street. Another contract will need to be awarded should the Council approve Phase Two. Construction for Phase One is set to begin in Spring 2022.

Also in the meeting, Jamie Volker, the Director of Marketing for the municipality, announced the Palmer Square Event Calendar for the rest of the year. Events include Pi Day Princeton (March 12) in celebration of Albert Einstein’s birthday, the previously-announced Arts in April, and McCarter Theatre Center Spring Concert Series in May and June.

The meeting can be viewed here. The next meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

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Charlie Roth is a Staff News Writer for the ‘Prince,’ focusing on local town coverage. He can be reached at charlieroth@princeton.edu or @imcharlieroth on Twitter or Instagram.

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