The South Brunswick Township Council is moving forward with a plan to improve safety on Beekman Road for pedestrians. In addition to the installation of three crosswalks on the roadway, the township is also exploring lowering the speed limit from the current 45 miles per hour.
"We need to do those crosswalks, I don't think we need any additional information for that," said Mayor Frank Gambatese during Tuesday evening's council meeting. "I think those crosswalks are absolutely crucial."
Crosswalks are being discussed for locations near Lori Drive, Jared Boulevard and near the entrance to .
"In terms of the topography of the road near the parks, folks who are crossing from the street, with a 45 mile per hour speed limit, they're at a decided disadvantage," said Deputy Mayor Chris Killmurray. "With the width of the roadway, how long it takes to walk and how much ground they have to cover, it's not a straight shot and we need to explore a further speed reduction."
While both crosswalks and a speed reduction were recommended following a recent analysis of Beekman Road by South Brunswick Police, a licensed engineer will still need to verify the recommendations of police before the ordinance can be amended to lower the speed limit.
An estimated 3,000 cars per day travel on Beekman Road as a connector between Route 1 and Route 27.
"There's some real risk there based on the timing and speed of the cars with how long it takes to cross that road," said Councilman Joseph Camarota.
There is also hope for the long-awaited improvement project to be completed at the Beekman Road intersection.
The Beekman Road intersection improvements have been in limbo for close to three years, . The township went out to bond for the approximately $1 million improvement project about three years ago, yet the plan has remained stalled 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.
The improvement project will include the widening of the intersection, an improved turn radius, and the addition of a right-hand turn lane. The intersection will also receive a new traffic signal that will include right-hand turn only lighting.
As the township still waits for the DOT approval, the work to install the crosswalks is expected to begin in the near future.
"We need to really do what we have to do to protect those residents because there's a lot of them off of that road with five housing developments," Gambatese said.