You can’t always get your heart’s desire

Town Topics
15 August, 1984

You Can’t Always Get Your Heart’s Desire In Naming a Street

Members of the Regional Planning Board, seldom shy about the conditions they impose on developers, last week told a Township developer, in effect, that they didn’t like his name.

The issue arose during the hearing for Michael Giardino’s proposed development of the Peyton estate on Pretty Brook Road. Mr. Giardino plans to construct a new road into the property. His choice for the name of the road was Pretty Brook Lane.

The question was raised by Planning Board member Tom Poole, who wondered if that name’s similarity to the existing Pretty Brook Road would cause confusion. Mr. Giardino argued that it would not, given “the proximity of the lane to the road and the fact that there would be no duplication of street numbers on the two roads.”

But another board member, Township Mayor Winthrop Pike, was not convinced. “The first time the rescue squad goes out there it could be trouble.”

Would it be trouble? If so, how do the police and fire and rescue squad cope now with the plethora of similar and even identical street Parties, some of which actually lie miles apart from each other?

Pray, for example, that the rescue squad does not race over to Beech Hill Circle (in the Herrontown Road area) when the call actually is from Beech Tree Drive (in Elm Ridge). Of course, if they are called to Beech Tree Lane and they turn into Beech Tree Drive instead, that’s not so seriuos — both roads are in the same neighborhood. Hope also that the firemen don’t end up on Cleveland Road (the extension of Pretty Brook Road, actually, after the intersection of Province Line) rather than 5 Cleveland Lane, in the Borough off of Bayard Lane. But remember, of course, that yet another Cleveland Lane exists in Kingston, off of Raymond Road. It is light years away from the one in the Borough. All of which is not to mention the Cleveland Circle in Montgomery Township. And consider another tough one — Lake Drive and Lake Lane, which are nowhere near each other.

Mixed Opinions. The men and women who have to sort through this nomenclature were nowhere near the Planning Board meeting last week, but several later were asked to evaluate the gravity of the situation. Opinions were mixed.

Borough Police Chief Michael Carnevale saw no problem with the similarity of Pretty Brook Road and Lane, particularly since the proposed street would be a branch of its namesake. “One of the first jobs of any new patrol officer is to become familiar with the community,” said the chief.” “The police should know every street and alley.”

As for the rescue squad, the chief pointed out that “most of them know all the streets. If they don’t know they will be directed” by the police in the municipality where the call originated.

Mark Freda, president of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Said “it just depends on what kind of directions you’re given.”

But Ed Obert, the squad captain, said he would rather not take any additional chances “There’s enough of that already,” he said of the Pretty Brook Road/Lane nomenclature. “Cherry Hill and Cherry Valley is always a problem. Hillside Road and Hillside Avenue — ones off Walnut; the other’s off 206 near Mary Watts’s store. (Mr. Obert could have added Hilltop Drive, also off 206.) There’s Olden Street and Olden Lane. Fortunately one’s in the Borough, the other in the Township, so you can tell which is which, by which municipality- the call comes from. Then take Rosedale Road and Rosedale Lane — you’ll never find the lane unless you’ve been there. It doesn’t even have a street sign.”

What about sound-alikes? Mr. Obert cited the potentially confusing Arreton Road and Herrontown Road (or lane or circle in the case of the latter). And, the captain added, “by the time the report gets to us, people – in their haste – just get brief, or forget the last part of the name.”

Numbers Help, Too. Not all of Mr. Obert’s fellow volunteer rescue workers agreed with him. Some felt that the worst problem was caused by the failure of municipal authorities notify them when a new street is created. A Pretty Brook Lane designation would at least point them in the right direction.

Mr. Freda noted that, in addition to confusing street names, the rescue-squad has been hampered on occasion by poorly illuminated or nonexistent house numbers.

So what did the august planners finally decide in the matter of the Peyton estate proposal and the choice of Pretty Brook Lane vs. Pretty Brook Road? The Planning Board made the choice of name a condition of their approval and voted, 5-3, to stipulate that. Mr. Giardino change the name to something distinct from Pretty Brook.

After the vote, Planning Board Chairman Hans Sander offered some good-natured advice to the applicant, “Please don’t call it Giardino Lane, okay?”

Another board member, mindful of the original name of the estate being developed suggested “Peyton Place.” The thought drew the biggest laugh of the evening, but would the rescue squad share in the fun? Peyton Place? Gosh, that could be any street in town.

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