The South Brunswick Township Council will hold discussions on an alternate site for a new Park and Ride that was previously approved for the intersection of Route 27 and Beekman Road.
Residents of the area have been vocal over concerns about added traffic that the new Park and Ride could generate on Beekman Road.
"We're going to be looking at sites south of Beekman Road that are close to Route 27 so people can park and walk to the bus shelters, or a large enough area on 27 so the buses can pull in," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz. "If we can get parking set back further from 27, it would be ideal for the buses to pull in, make a pickup and go."
The township had until the end of 2011 to spend approximately $2 million remaining from a $4 million federal transportation grant awarded to South Brunswick in 2006.
"This says we will build a new park and ride (at Beekman and Route 27) if we can't find a more suitable location," said Mayor Frank Gambatese when the plan was approved. "It might not necessarily be built there, but the main thing is not to lose that money. There is no time limit on when the project needs to be completed, so this protects us for the time being."
The Beekman Road intersection, was deemed unsuitable in its present condition to house the Park and Ride.
Councilman Joseph Camarota cast the lone vote against the plan last year due to quality of life issues for Beekman Road residents.
"The bottom line is this will add more vehicles to Beekman, whether it's (a parking lot for) 85 vehicles or 40 to 50, it's still the same circumstance that led me (to vote against) the approval before," Camarota said last year. "This will add more traffic to Beekman, which is a concern."
An estimated 3,000 cars per day travel on Beekman Road as a connector between Route 1 and Route 27. Also of issue are the long-awaited intersection improvements to Route 27 and Beekman Road, which would need to be completed before a new Park and Ride would be built at the intersection.
The township has been waiting for years on the Department of Transportation to green light the project. South Brunswick went out to bond for the approximately $1 million improvement project about three years ago
"We're waiting on approval for an electrical permit that deals with the lighting, that's the only holdup," Schmalz said. "We met with our state legislators within the last month to get them involved, but it's been back and forth for the last year on the electrical approval. At first they disagreed on the alignment of lights, so we corrected that. But the issues revolve around lighting at the intersection."
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.
Work on the project is projected to begin some time this year.
Officials from New Jersey Transit are expected to return to the council to discuss alternate sites for the Beekman and Route 27 Park and Ride during the summer.
Where do you think an ideal location for a new Park and Ride would be? Tell us in the comments.