Many Princeton residents complain about speeding cars on their local streets. The town, however, banned speed bumps through a Council ordinance in 2013. With no speed bump option, the town is increasingly making use of ‘rumble strips‘ to limit speed at intersections around Princeton. The rumble strips look like painted white lines across the road lane, but are in fact made of a small ridge of hardened thermoplastic that transmits vibrations and an audible ‘rumble’ to drivers. Recently, rumble strips have been added on Terhune Road at the intersection with Jefferson Road, as shown in the picture above. But this speed reduction technique is also used at other locations around the town, such as at Birch Avenue and John Street, in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood:
Given the current ban on speed bumps, and ever-present pressure from local residents to do something about speeding traffic, it seems likely that more rumble strips will be added on other streets in the coming months and years. But how effective are rumble strips at slowing cars? Could other measures be more effective?
These questions will soon be addressed by a new municipal task force, set up through the town ‘Complete Streets Committee’ in June. The task force will create a list of traffic calming options that might be allowed on local streets where speeding is considered to be a recurrent problem. Notably, speed bumps are already in use in Princeton, for example on roads in the Western Section. Other options, such as mini-roundabouts, curb extensions, and lane narrowing will presumably also be considered. On many Princeton roads, lane widths of 12-ft or even 18-ft are currently preferred, even though such wide lanes tend to encourage speeding, making life more difficult for pedestrians.