On November 5, Princeton will elect two new members of Princeton Council. Three candidates are standing: incumbents Jenny Crumiller (D) and Patrick Simon (D), and challenger Fausta Rodgriguez-Wertz (R). We asked each candidate six questions relating to walkability, affordability and land use in Princeton. (Note: Walkable Princeton is not making an official endorsement of any particular candidate.) We are running each candidate’s answers on successive days of this week. Today, we have answers from Jenny Crumiller (see below). On Thursday, we will publish answers from Patrick Simon. On Friday we will have answers from Fausta Rodriguez-Wertz. We thank all the candidates for taking the time to respond to us!
1. According to US Census figures, there are 22,000 people who drive into Princeton to work every day. Do you think it might be advantageous for some of these people to live in Princeton instead, so they could walk or bike to work?
Yes. Commuters generate a major portion of all traffic. Housing workers closer to their workplaces everywhere, not just Princeton, would reap enormous environmental benefits.
2. Expanding transit options in Princeton would cost money. How do you feel about increasing taxes to fund better transit service?
I would not support increasing taxes to fund transit without evidence that there is demand. Unless there is a plan for a transit system that’s cheaper and faster than driving, I would not support public funding for it because, unfortunately, I do not think people would use it given that driving is easier, faster and cheaper and most people have free parking at their workplaces.
3. Many towns are adding bike lanes to make it easier and safer for people to choose cycling instead of driving. It’s hard to fit bike lanes on many streets in Princeton, because the streets are narrow and much space is dedicated for on-street parking. If Princeton was going to add bike lanes, but had to remove on-street parking to do so, would that be something you would support?
Yes, on streets where businesses would not be unduly harmed by losing parking.
4. As a Council member, what have you done/do you plan to do to make it easier and safer for people to walk/bike to work or to school?
As a former member of the Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee I helped implement the sharrows system for marking the roads to indicate to drivers that the roads are to be shared with bikers. As mentioned previously, most of our heavily trafficked roads are too narrow for bike lanes. I support narrowing roads and adding bike lanes when possible as part of major road reconstruction.
5. Do you agree with the recommendations of the Route 1 Growth Strategy report, which called on local towns (including Princeton) to create transit-oriented workforce housing by “changing plans and zoning to encourage mixed-used development at transit-supportive densities”?
I would need to know what “transit supportive densities” actually are. But I would not support a rapid, large increase in density, because it would create too high a burden on our roadways, schools and other infrastructure. We’ve seen reasonable housing growth with such recent developments as the downtown apartment buildings near the library and the townhouses and apartments on Hullfish, and we have Avalon Bay and new housing in the works by the University at Hibben Magie and on the Stanworth site.
6. Infill development in Princeton often takes many years or even decades, and involves costly court battles. Are there any changes you would suggest for Princeton’s planning/zoning process to make it inclusive, efficient, and to cut down on legal costs for the town?
Those whose living depends on new construction and development may feel differently, but I feel that Princeton’s planning and zoning process ensures democratic participation and it’s a good balance between property rights and the right of the community to guide development.