The would-be developer of a three-unit townhouse project at 39 Linden Lane has presented a new ‘concept plan’ to the Princeton Planning Board. The new concept comes after an earlier proposal raised several concerns from the Site Plan Review Advisory Board and Historic Preservation Office. The new design is intended to respond to these concerns, and provide improved management of stormwater.
On Tuesday night, the Princeton Planning Board approved another key part of the town’s affordable housing plan, a 125-unit mixed-income apartment community at the intersection of North Harrison St and Terhune Road. The development includes a number of advanced ecological features, improved bike and walking amenities, and community benefits including a new playground and a public dog park.
Seven years ago, Princeton University demolished graduate student accommodation at the ‘Butler Tract’, off South Harrison St (map). Since then, the large site has sat empty, with occasional use as a surface parking lot. A petition initiated recently by local resident Matt Mleczko aims to change that. The petition, which has been signed by over 100 people, calls on Princeton University to donate the land at the Butler Tract to a new ‘Community Land Trust‘, which would construct permanently-affordable housing on the site. This housing would be prioritized for Black residents, and for University staff who are struggling to afford housing. Mr. Mleczko has written two columns for ‘The Daily Princetonian’ (linked below), which further expand on his vision for the Butler Tract. We caught up with him to discuss the idea some more…
Princeton Concil has awarded a contract to a consultancy firm to investigate whether the town should set up a ‘stormwater utility‘. If so, every local property owner would be required to pay a new fee, which would be dependent on the amount of stormwater runoff generated at their site. The revenues would fund local improvements to manage stormwater. The decision to fund the study was made after a short discussion at the end of the April 11 Council meeting.
At their meeting on Monday night, Princeton Council held a work session to identify final design alternatives for the ‘Witherspoon Street Phase II’ engineering project. This is a major engineering project for the part of the street between Green Street and Frankin Avenue, and the design selected is likely to define it for the coming decades. Advocates including former Princeton Borough Mayor Yina Moore had championed a bike lane on this section, which would improve the safety and comfort of cyclists, including the large population of low-income workers who live in the area around Witherspooon St. Based on staff recommendations, however, Council decided to reject the bike lane concept. Cyclists will instead have to share the road with car, bus, and truck traffic. The saga is a good illustration of why the town of Princeton keeps failing to install high-quality facilities for bike users.
Parking has once again dominated Princeton Council’s agenda in 2022, with multiple meetings devoted to reviewing the findings of the ‘Permit Parking Task Force‘. Following substantial opposition, Council scaled back the original plan to expand resident permit parking, and, as discussed previously at walkableprinceton.com has rented parking at the former Westminster Choir College site for employee parking. However another Council action potentially affecting parking has seen little attention. At their meeting on Feb 14, Princeton Council awarded $38,470.00 to T&M Associates to prepare a detailed map of the surface parking lots between Nassau Street and Park Place. And at least one Council member sees it as a potential first step toward redevelopment of the site.
A spokeswoman from NJ Transit announced on Thursday night that the agency has narrowed the field of potential options in its ‘Princeton Transitway’ study. The study aims to identify ways to improve transit along the Princeton ‘Dinky’ rail corridor. Whereas four potential options were being considered previously (see full story at walkableprinceton.com), NJ Transit is now focusing on ‘Alternative 1’ and ‘Alternative 4’.
On Thursday, Feb 3, 2022, the Princeton Planning Board will consider a concept plan presented by Princeton University, outlining their design for a new undergraduate residential college. The new college will be called ‘Hobson College’, after donor Mellody Hobson, and will be the first college at Princeton University named for a Black woman.
Affordable housing remains a major ongoing topic for discussion in Princeton. Where should we build it? What should it look like? And how should it be paid for? Stepping up to the moment, the Princeton Jewish Center co-hosted the second in a series of panel discussions on housing earlier this month. The session was entitled “Affordable Housing in a Just World: Basics and Beyond”, and featured presentations from three participants with distinct perspectives on the process of planning and building affordable housing.
2021 may be remembered as another year ruined by coronavirus, but a lot of good things happened in Princeton this year. A very-busy Princeton Planning Board gave the green light to construction of more affordable homes (probably more than in the previous 5 years put together) and an amazing new Princeton University Arts Museum. Princeton Council approved a new vision for Witherspoon Street that is likely to create a more beautiful and walkable downtown. And the long-delayed Gateway project to build new rail links between New York and New Jersey finally gained key federal approvals. But what will the new year bring? Here are ten guesses about what 2022 might have in store for Princeton…and don’t forget to read to the end to check how our predictions from last year held up!!