West Windsor Is Making A Climate Action Plan. Princeton Should Make One Too.

West Windsor, NJ is known for its sprawl, but also for sustainability measures such as promoting bike use. (click to expand)

Bicycles at West Windsor WaterWorks. (click to expand)

Today, Princeton is not waking up to flooded roads, downed trees, and widespread blackouts (phew!). The much-discussed ‘Hurricane Joaquin’ is somewhere far out in the Atlantic Ocean. Our compatriots in South Carolina are not so lucky. Lashed by rain last week, the state is now in a full-flung state of emergency, having sustained billions of dollars in damages. The SC weather event was “exactly the type of supercharged storm system climate scientists have been warning about for years as a likely consequence of global warming.” West Windsor has woken up to the challenge, and is developing a ‘Climate Action Plan’ to guide the municipality on a meaningful response to the danger posed by climate change. It’s time for Princeton to follow the lead of our neighbors to the south, and develop our own plan.

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Prof Donald Shoup Tells NJ To Try Something Different With Parking. Is Princeton Listening?

Prof Donald Shoup, speaking at the Rutgers Vorhees Transportation Center 10/1/2015, ridicules arbitrary off-street parking requirements that are a standard part of municipal codes (click to expand).

Prof Donald Shoup, speaking at the Rutgers Vorhees Transportation Center 10/1/2015. (click to expand)

Professor Donald Shoup gave The Vorhees Distinguished Lecture yesterday at the  Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning in downtown New Brunswick. As a planning professor at UCLA, Shoup made a career out of studying parking policies, and wrote the famous 733-page book ‘The High Cost of Free Parking‘.  As a consequence, he is often called a ‘Parking Rock Star’, which is a ridiculous enough idea that he began his talk by making several jokes about it. Prof Shoup went on to make a compelling case that although free parking is free to a driver, it must be paid for by somebody. In practice, requiring free parking carries immense costs, in terms of both a financial burden and by contributing to a degraded built environment. He urged a different approach based on three principles:

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New Jersey League Of Municipalities Issues Affordable Housing Reports, But No Guidance On Unit Numbers

Affordable housing litigation has been a regular topic in Princeton Council's closed-door sessions this year. (click to expand)

Affordable housing litigation has been a regular topic in Princeton Council’s private closed sessions this year. (click to expand)

All across New Jersey, elected officials are dealing with an urgent question: how much affordable housing should they plan for? Earlier this year, the New Jersey Supreme Court told local courts to rule on whether towns are adding their ‘fair share’ of  housing. The judgement potentially clears the way for builders to overturn zoning ordinances in towns that have not added enough homes.  Continue reading

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Safe Crosswalk For Princeton Trail Users Delayed By Wrangling Over Historic Preservation

Unmarked crossing of the D&R Canal Towpath at Washington Road in Princeton. (click to expand)

Unmarked crossing of the D&R Canal Towpath at Washington Road in Princeton. (click to expand)

In October 2014, a father and his 8-year old son on the D&R Canal trail in Princeton were struck by a car while crossing Washington Road. The crash sent both to hospital with serious injuries. Although Princeton Council quickly passed a motion calling for a crosswalk to be added at the unmarked trail crossing, the crosswalk is still delayed almost one year on. Now, thanks to reporting in the ‘Princeton Packet’, we have learned that Mercer County, which operates Washington Road as CR 571, has not yet even approved a plan for a crosswalk. The proposal is stuck, as Princeton’s Historic Preservation Commission ponders what design meets their requirements for ‘aesthetic concerns’. Meanwhile, an unsafe condition persists, and trail users are being put at risk every day.

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Posted in Biking, Complete Streets, Princeton, Trails, Transit | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Princeton Library Should Offer Equal Rewards For Walking And Driving

Terra Libri coffee shop at Princeton Public LIbrary. (click to expand)

Terra Libri coffee shop at Princeton Public Library. (click to expand)

Last week, Princeton Council voted against a proposed ordinance to limit ‘free’ parking for users of Princeton’s Public Library. Library users are currently able to validate parking tickets from the municipally-owned Spring Street Garage, to allow 2 hours of parking without payment. The proposed ordinance would have reduced that to one hour, in part to help cover the cost of upgrades to the entry/exit system for the garage. But Council backed off the idea as users and library staff argued that users should not have to pay to park when using the libary. The result is that people driving to the library get parking worth $2.50 provided for free, while people arriving on foot or by bike get nothing. It’s time for people arriving without cars to get rewarded too.

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Posted in Alternative Transportation, Community, Princeton, Sustainability, The Parking Question, Traffic, Walking | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Princeton High School Principal: “We Need More Bike Racks!”

Bike racks are full at Princeton High (click to expand).

Bike racks are overflowing at Princeton High School (click to expand).

A surge in student cycling has sent staff at Princeton High School scrambling for more bike racks, as all available space for bike parking is taken up early each morning.  Continue reading

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US Surgeon General Issues ‘Call To Action’ For Walking

Pedestrian safety measures in downtown Princeton, NJ. (click to expand).

Pedestrian safety measures in downtown Princeton, NJ. (click to expand).

News out of Washington DC: the US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, has issued a ‘Call to Action’, encouraging Americans to consider ways to incorporate walking into their daily routine. Dr Murthy advocates walking as a way to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and notes that for many people, time constraints or inhospitable streets make walking difficult. The Call to Action is relevant to Princeton, where

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