Jan. 13, 4:42 p.m.: Linking Forrestal to Rt. 92 not smart

Fight Route 92 on its own merits.

By: Hank Kalet
   I didn’t get a chance last week to offer some comments on this story. (I’m going to try and comment weekly in this blog on local issues, so keep your eyes open and get ready to get mad.)
   The gist is that some critics of Route 92 see a proposal being pushed by South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese as adding more justification for Route 92.
   The proposal is fairly basic: The township rezoned 78 acres of residential land near Route 1 for office corporate use in exchange for preservation of 214 acres of land at the edge of Kingston. The rezoning — approved last year — gave Forrestal 150 total acres that it could build offices on.
   The scope of the office park being proposed — between 900,000 square feet and 1.8 million square feet of office space generating about 7,200 employees — has Route 92’s critics concerned.
   It’s a concern I can understand, although I think it is misplaced. There is one very big reason to worry about this project: Traffic. The 7,200 employees means a lot of cars on Route 1 and local roads, though the township will not allow the office park to dump cars directly onto Ridge or Mapleton roads. That doesn’t mean that some of the traffic will not take Route 1 to Mapleton, running the cars through Kingston.
   Whether this is a legitimate trade off for the 214 acres of preserved land is debatable.
   But I don’t see this as a project that will drive the discussion on Route 92. A large portion of these offices are going to be built — either in South Brunswick or Plainsboro — so the traffic we are talking about is not something that should surprise anyone.
   I think the issue is that Route 92 makes the office park more valuable, creating another private driveway into a Forrestal property.
   I remain committed in my opposition to Route 92 for reasons I don’t need to elaborate again. But I think we’re making a bad mistake in focusing our energy on this office park when we should be marshalling the forces to stop the highway.