A park and ride expansion project that would add forty parking spaces near the intersection of Route 27 and Beekman Road will be put on hold until intersection improvements can begin. The new park and ride hit another snag as officials agreed that Beekman Road needed to be widened to ensure safety at the intersection.
“We had a ,” said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz, who is steering the park and ride expansion.
A new park and ride has also received approval to be constructed at the i
The Beekman Road intersection, which already has an “F” safety rating, according to council members, was deemed unsuitable in its present condition to house the park and ride area.
The Beekman Road intersection improvement project has been in limbo for close to three years, that will finally allow the long awaited improvements to begin. The township went out to bond for the approximately $1 million improvement project about three years ago, yet the plan has remained in limbo due to difficulties obtaining approval from the state. The small two-lane road is regularly clogged with motorists making various turns and going to the shopping center across the street in Franklin.
Schmalz suggested that the park and ride project for Beekman Road needs to be approved as soon as possible, so as not to lose out on grant funding that will only be available for the remainder of 2011. But he met opposition from some council members who were concerned about the safety of the intersection.
“I cannot support this,” said Councilman Joe Camarota. “We have to widen Beekman Road. It’s been too long, it’s been too frustrating, and there are accidents waiting to happen. To add a park and ride there would be ridiculous.”
Schmalz cited that to improve the intersection, new traffic lights are necessary along with the widening of Beekman Road itself.
An additional $760,000 would likely be needed to complete the park and ride aspect of the endeavor, which includes adding several “state-of-the-art bus shelters,” according to Schmalz.
South Brunswick received a $4 million Federal Transportation Grant earlier this year.
The majority of the council members agreed that the park and ride is a valuable project, but should come on the heels of improving safety in the immediate area.
“I think it’s something that needs to be addressed,” said Mayor Frank Gambatese. “But we’ve been waiting a long time to widen Beekman Road.”
The township is still waiting for the Department of Transportation to approve a change in an electrical connection that will finally allow the long awaited intersection improvements to Route 27 and Beekman Road to begin. The project was expected to begin in August.
Another discussion about the new park and ride is expected to return before the council before the end of December.