With the opening of Mrs. Green’s supermarket and the imminent arrival of Dance Expo, Windsor Plaza is close to being 100 percent occupied. Along with the new facade, eating establishments, shops and service facilities, roadways in and around the plaza have been receiving upgrades as well.
The recent addition of flashing lights at the pedestrian cross walk at the intersection of Sherbrooke Drive and Route 571 is only the first of many improvements coming to Route 571, says West Windsor township land use manager Sam Surtees.
“The Planning Board imposed the pedestrian crosswalk requirement on the Cyzner Corporation because the township wants to ensure safe pedestrian access to the Plaza and the downtown area. It is part of our vision to make West Windsor a safe, walkable community. Cyzner [the developer of Windsor Plaza] was willing to install the lights at the crosswalk, and the county approved it, and so it became a reality.”
“The pedestrian crosswalk is only the first of many improvements to be implemented along Route 571. We are planning on adding bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the roadway; inserting center turn lanes, and adding median islands. In addition, we anticipate narrowing the roadway to slow traffic driving along Route 571 to and from Clarksville Road. Because Route 571 is a county road, we need county approval before any of the changes can be implemented, but this is what the township is envisioning.”
Jerry Foster, president of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance, stated “I’d like to thank the county for requiring the lights at the crosswalk, which only activates when a pedestrian pushes the button. The lights have shown very promising research results in getting motorists to the honor the crosswalk, since the yellow LED light is quite strong and flashes in a pattern that gets our attention.”
Foster continued: “The crosswalk was moved from the north side of Sherbrooke to the south, which has pluses and minuses. On the plus side, there is less conflict with left-turning motorists out of the shopping center driveway. On the minus side, the crossing distance is much greater.
“Also, we are concerned that so many signs are placed in front of the pedestrian light that motorists cannot see the flashing light until it is too late to stop for the crosswalk. There are requirements (warrants) for the placement of these lights and the clear distances that a motorist must be able to see them to be able to stop, which are speed dependent. I doubt the placement of these beacons would meet those warrants for a motorist traveling at the posted 40 mph, when the signs in front of them are taken into account.”
Justine diNardo Lim, who lives near the intersection, noted, “I am happy that they have put in a pedestrian crosswalk with flashing lights, but it is still not enough because the cars still don’t stop. I have seen kids trying to cross Route 571 from the parking lot, when the lights are flashing, and the cars just keep on going. We really need blinking lights in the roadway itself, so that motorists will actually pay attention and stop.”
“Perhaps when the county is considering the additional improvements to the roadway, they will consider adding in blinking lights embedded in the roadway,” she added.