A new project, sponsored by the NJDOT, will study how to improve overall traffic flow on Parkway Avenue.

Mercer County and the New Jersey Department of Transportation are looking at how to improve safety for everyone who uses Parkway Avenue (County Route 634) in Ewing and Trenton.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said this project, sponsored by the NJDOT, is helping the county look at Parkway Avenue in “a more comprehensive way, putting the focus on pedestrians and bicyclists as well as vehicles.”

With encouragement from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), NJDOT is funding the concept development study with funds from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program.

FHWA wants New Jersey to focus on reducing vehicle-pedestrian crashes, due to it having a somewhat higher proportion of them compared to other states. An independent analysis pointed to the Parkway Avenue corridor as the best location for a pilot study of a “road diet” out of almost 100 eligible candidates in southern New Jersey.

The county and NJDOT are hosting a public information session for interested citizens to comment on June 26.

A “road diet” typically reduces the number of through travel lanes from four to two, with a center left-turn lane and wide shoulders. This creates room on the road for bicyclists and shortens crossing distances for pedestrians. Such diets are an FHWA “proven safety countermeasure” that should reduce the types of crashes experienced on Parkway Avenue.

Mercer County has already partially dieted one segment of Parkway Avenue to create a more urban street in Ewing’s Parkway Avenue Redevelopment Area around the old GM factory site, and another segment to improve pedestrian safety near Ewing High School and for the many lunchtime walkers from the NJDOT headquarters.

“Road diets are a pretty inexpensive way to improve safety,” explained Matthew Lawson, the County’s Principal Transportation Planner. “We have already analyzed traffic growth from the town center and other planned development in the corridor, so we know that the road will be able to carry forecast traffic, even with a diet. For this study we are looking at a wider range of safety improvements. We are happy that FHWA and NJDOT are making it possible.”

This study is exploring adding modern roundabouts to the project in various locations along the corridor.

“There is a range of corridor and intersection improvements that could work,” Lawson said. “The outcome is not pre-determined. We really want feedback from the public on their thoughts and concerns.”

The county and NJDOT are hosting a public information session for interested citizens to comment on preliminary concepts on Tuesday, June 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ewing Senior and Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road in Ewing.

For more information on the project, attend the public information center or contact Matthew Lawson, Mercer County Principal Transportation Planner, mlawson@mercercounty.org or 609-989-6551.