Six months after 82-year-old Pinghua Xu was struck by a car while attempting to cross Rosedale Road, not much has happened with regard to improving pedestrian safety.
On Monday, residents once again called on the Council to take steps to address the matter.
Resident Stephanie Oster who moved to Princeton in 2017, told Council that she often sees children walking or riding their bikes, waiting to cross Rosedale Road. “Sometimes cars stop, oftentimes they do not. And my heart stops every time I sit there and watch,” she said. “I know that the Johnson Park community has been seeking some kind of resolution for many, many years and I do not know how they have been so patient.”
She referenced Xu’s death saying it has been six months yet nothing has moved. Oster urged the Council to take action. “Please use your influence to encourage your colleagues in the County government. We know that was the road is a county road,” she said.
“We really don’t want the next accident to be one of our children. That would be absolutely horrific.”
Resident Leslie Fabello told Council that a 2016 report by the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association of New Jersey Safe Routes to School program found the intersection to be an “area of concern.”
She also pointed out that in 1999 when Robert Ginsburg took over as Johnson Park School Principal, one of the first things he discussed with the school PTO were concerns over the intersection of Rosedale.
“The fact that the intersection is unsafe is not new. Our community has been asking for a better solution for 22 and a half years and yet today, none has been forthcoming,” Fabello said.
She asked the Council to support the community by taking “two simple steps” to ensure safety of residents. “Firstly, we ask the traffic calming measures be implemented and maintained so drivers adhere to the posted limits,” Fabello said.
“Second, we ask our local elected officials support our coalition of residents and using their influence at the county level to speed improvements.”
Acknowledging the urgency and delays in the matter, Mayor Mark Freda said Municipal staff have been working hard and had reached out to the County. “But I’m happy to reach back out to the County again tomorrow and try to push that some more,” he said.
Township Engineer Deanna Stockton said she and land use engineer Jim Purcell were working with the county engineer on the matter.
“They are looking at some corridor-wide improvements on Rosedale Road, from Elm Road all the way to Carter Road. We hope to have some information soon that can be shared publicly,” Stockton said. “But right now, we are more in the internal review period with the county engineer and hope to escalate that up higher very soon.”
Councilman David Cohen said that there were some short-term design ideas suggested to the County, but those improvements were not implemented. Some design ideas included restriping the road to make the travel lanes narrower, which would have a traffic calming effect, and to put additional flexible delineators.
Councilwoman Eve Niedergang said a good way to get County officials to take swift action was to show up at the County Commissioner’s meeting.
“My understanding is that very few people show up at Mercer County Commissioner meetings. So, I urge you again, not to shift responsibility, but to share it. To reach out to your County Commissioners, and to Municipal, and to County Executive, Brian Hughes as well. And I plan to do the same,” she said.
A month after Xu’s death last year, residents attended the Council meeting calling for more safety measures. They asked Council for a crossing guard or police presence to “build confidence” among families.
The intersection is the subject of a grant to address safety issues, but the improvements will not be in place before 2023 or 2024.