Nassau Street in Princeton has wide sidewalks, but pedestrians must squeeze together on most downtown sidewalks. (click to expand)
In the past two months, the coronavirus epidemic has killed almost 7,000 New Jersey residents, and sickened tens of thousand more. State directives have closed all but the most essential businesses, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without work and with no means to pay the bills. Looking ahead, we have to find ways to allow businesses to re-open, without putting public safety at risk. “Social distancing” has emerged as one of the most effective approaches we have to prevent spread of the virus, but social distancing in downtown Princeton is currently almost impossible, because people are packed together on narrow sidewalks. To keep people safe, and allow more businesses to re-open, we have to consider doing things differently, and that means closing streets to traffic so that people can space out more.
The Alexander Street work zone, where two bridges are being replaced. (click to expand)
In late 2019, Alexander Street, one of the busiest roads leading into Princeton, was closed for a period of 6 months, to allow replacement of two bridges. Traffic counts show that Alexander St is used for over 7,000 motor vehicle trips per day, so many experts predicted that closing the road would cause major problems. The chief of police in Princeton said that roads would be “very congested…we want people to understand there are going to be delays during rush hour.” But just how bad did the delays get? We measured travel times before and after the construction project began, and found (perhaps surprisingly) that most Princeton commuters are experiencing delays of 3 minutes or less on trips into town during the morning rush hour.
Princeton Future community charrette at Princeton Public Library, Feb 29, 2020. (click to expand)
Community planning group ‘Princeton Future’ held a meeting at Princeton Public Library last Saturday, to discuss planned new affordable housing on Franklin Avenue. According to the town’s affordable housing settlement, agreed last year, and subsequently approved by Mercer County Superior Court, 80 units of new housing are to be built in a 100%-affordable development. The site is on the other side of Franklin Ave from the Avalon Princeton development, between Maple Terrace and Jefferson Road (map). At present, there are some older affordable homes on the site, and a large parking lot that was used by the old Princeton Hospital. Around 60 attendees heard more details about the proposal, offered public comment, and heard concept plans by local architects for what the housing might look like. Continue reading
Posted in Affordability, architecture, Community, Placemaking, planning, Princeton, Smart Growth, Sustainability, The Parking Question
Tagged Affordable housing, Parking, planning, Princeton, smart growth
Witherspoon Street in Princeton. (click to expand)
On Thursday night, the town of Princeton will host its first public consultation on reconstruction of Witherspoon Street to “formulate a master plan for this very important corridor”. All aspects of the street will be considered, including repaving the road, sidewalks, crosswalks, sewers, lighting and street trees. The project is also an opportunity to improve conditions for cycling on Witherspoon Street. Although it is a prime route for people riding in and out of Princeton, Witherspoon Street is not a pleasant place to ride a bike. The town’s “Complete Streets” policy requires street designs to consider the needs of all users, and the increase in popularity of cycling, e-bikes, and electric scooters poses a question about how such users can be safely accommodated and encouraged. What solutions might work on narrow Witherspoon Street? Here are some options…
The Princeton ‘Dinky’ train, at its terminus at Princeton Junction. (click to expand)
NJ Transit is reportedly considering options for upgrading service on the ‘Dinky’ rail line, which currently runs 2.7 miles from Princeton rail station on Alexander Street, to the main line station at Princeton Junction, in West Windsor. The study will consider replacing the existing Arrow III trainsets with some kind of bus. Adding infill stations along the route is also under consideration. This possibility of adding extra stations would help Princeton University connect their new development in West Windsor to the historic campus, or provide opportunities for remote employee parking. But the Dinky study should be used as an opportunity to help address the transit needs of the town. One option, which is not currently being considered, would be to run the Dinky train to Trenton. Continue reading
The campus of Westminster Choir College in Princeton is likely to be in the news in 2020. (click to expand)
It’s that time of year for some guesses about what is likely to be in the news in Princeton in the next 12 months! It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future, and in Princeton things often happen more slowly than could reasonably be expected. But some of these things are likely to happen, if not in 2020, then sometime soon. Also, check out which of our 2019 predictions came true – they are listed at the bottom – and we got 5 out of 10 right!! Continue reading
Council Member David Cohen gets ready to unveil the town of Prineton’s new affordable housing plan (click to expand).
The town of Princeton has released its new affordable housing plan (link here). The plan envisages over 700 new units of housing, which must be in development by 2025, to comply with state housing laws. Continue reading