County Study Envisions 'Road Diet' for Washington Avenue

Access and Mobility study sees four-lane, 40 mph roadway as incompatible with plan.

Green Brook Township zoning envisions the development of a village commercial district, with multi-story, mixed-use buildings offering retail and office space on lower floors and residential spaces above and nearby, in the area around the Washington Avenue and Greenbrook Road intersection.

But such a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly neighborhood wouldn't work well with Washington Avenue's traffic barrelling through the area at 40 mph.

So county planners studying the area as part of a mobility and access study under way said Washington Road might be a candidate for a "road diet," slimming it down to two lanes south of Route 22, instead of four.

That was one of the points from the study Green Brook Planner Richard Roseberry shared with the Township Committee at Wednesday's meeting, after he and Township Administrator Kelly Cupit attended the county Planning Board's Access and Mobility Improvements Study meeting last week.

The study is being undertaken by the county to check areas where local zoning and planning may be at odds with county road planning—such as exists in Green Brook's Village Commercial District, a zone created about six years ago aimed at increasing potential tax assessments while creating a central area for the township.

Roseberry said the county study examined three conceptual plans for the zone, noting a mixed-use concept is most like the township's thinking, as opposed to plans that included more commercial development on Greenbrook Road or one with mixed residential and retail uses (similar to the current development in the area).

The county will be wrapping up its study with an April 2 public hearing, and Roseberry said the county planners want to hear from the township on the study.

"How far before their meeting do they want input from us?" Mayor Pat Boccio asked.

"Like... today," Cupit said.

Roseberry noted the project could help the county and township obtain grants to use for making roadway and sidewalk improvements to the area, but as Cupit noted, everything starts with changes to the roadways, which are county roads, anyway. 

gerry connery February 22, 2013 at 07:17 PM
this is the dumbest idea Greenbrook has had since it turned down the revenue producing OTB in the old Saturn building or when it destroyed the face of the hill along route 22 with over-building. Washington avenue changed from four lanes to two is the thinking of an imbecilic city planner. what's next, a bike lane, cobblestone and a welcome wagon to hand out coffee to the motorists stuck in traffic for miles? tell the geniuses that thought up this nitwit plan to go out and watch the traffic flow in this area and stop reading the garbage on their computers or the pinhead treatises by overpaid city planners.
John Patten February 22, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Keep in mind this is a county road, and county plan, to put the road on a "diet," not the township. They do also plan to consider bike lanes...
Dorothy Ring February 23, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Considering Washington Avenue is the only direct connection to Rt. 287, it is unlikely that you can reduce the actual number of people who need to use the road. Therefore, cutting it down to two lanes will result in the same number of cars trying to wedge into two fewer lanes, backup onto local roads and Rt. 22. Where is the intelligence in this plan?
Diane Eisen February 23, 2013 at 04:06 PM
This is the best route from upper Warrenville Road to the Dunellen train station and will greatly increase traffic on other local Green Brook roads and increase commute times if it is compromised. Please don't consider making commutes to NYC even more stressful.
mrsp March 04, 2013 at 01:18 PM
Excellent and slightly bold that genuine commercial and community planning is even a topic of discussion -- at the periphery of an area whose traffic and very landscape has been moulded by corruption, apathy, and ignorance -- a harsh accusation sadly backed up by the continuous parade over decades of arrested polluters, builders, planners and law enforcers. Of course, the problem of connecting 287, Parkway, Turnpike and Rt. 78 traffic with their Plainfield, S. Plainfield, Middlesex and "Watchung Hills" residents must be resolved before a new bottleneck is created. Right now driving through Greenbrook is the roadway, built centuries ago, that moves traffic from one region of NJ to another. Soon a Costco will be just a mile from that location, bringing tens of thousands of new cars to an area that is already overly stressed and jammed with traffic on a daily basis. I would try to get involvement from the execs of both Costco, as well as the new CVS, whose construction complicates any easy solution to combining community with commerce. Both of those companies may have a well of insight and an interest in solving such problems, so long as there is some pressure from the town for corporate citizenship. Obviously Greenbrook sees this as a (last?) chance to take a stand against turning into just another NJ traffic jam that, to smaller minds probably seems inevitable. Good for these planners for taking a stand -- that's leadership.


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