Six Princeton Things We’re Thankful For This Holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving, Princeton! (Click to expand.)

Happy Thanksgiving, Princeton! (Click to expand.)

Living in Princeton gives us so much to be thankful for every day, with our history, walkable downtown and eclectic neighbors. We’re thankful for our friends. We’re thankful for our family. And this holiday, here are six things, all of which have happened in the last 12 months, for which we give thanks this year, all of which will make Princeton more walkable, inclusive and even more wonderful!

1. New walkable businesses in Princeton

Mistral restaurant in downtown Princeton: a surface parking lot out front, diners squeezed in around the back. (Click to expand.)

Mistral restaurant in downtown Princeton. (Click to expand.)

– 2013 has seen some old favorites close their doors, but with exciting new businesses and restaurants like Agricola, North End Bistro, Despaña, Rojo’s Roastery, and Mistral opening in town, it’s been a great year for trying out new places in Princeton’s walkable downtown!

2. Progress on Dinky transit upgrade

One visualization of what a streetcar might look like running along University Place in Princeton towards the Dinky Station and Princeton Junction. (Click to expand.)

Visualization of what a streetcar might look like running along University Place in Princeton towards the Dinky Station and Princeton Junction. (Click to expand.)

– Dismay greeted the decision by the Princeton Planning Board last December to approve Princeton University’s Arts and Transit project, which involves moving the Dinky station even further away from where most Princeton residents live. But the story  may have a happy ending, as University and town officials work together on possibilities for upgrading the transit line and extending it into the center of Princeton. One possibility is that Princeton might get a shiny new streetcar to replace the aging Dinky rolling stock.

3. Court ruling on ‘Growth Share’ Mt Laurel statute

The New Jersey Supreme Court, who insisted on stricter standards for municipal affordable housing last week. (Click to expand. Image from judiciary.state.nj.us)

The New Jersey Supreme Court, who insisted on stricter standards for municipal affordable housing. (Click to expand. Image from judiciary.state.nj.us)

– The New Jersey Supreme Court delighted supporters of affordable housing in September by tossing out the ‘Growth Share’ program, which enabled municipalities to limit the amount of affordable housing they provided. The Court insisted that municipalities have a duty to make reasonable accommodation for low- and moderate-income households, in accordance with the ‘Mount Laurel’ doctrine, which is part of the State Constitution.

4. Approval of redevelopment plan for the old hospital site

975AVA Avalon Princeton_View01

Hospital site redevelopment with large park on Witherspoon Street. (click to expand.)

– The Planning Board got it right in August when it approved a much-improved design to build apartments on the old Princeton hospital site. Despite concerted objections from some local residents, the Board agreed that the new plan fitted the site zoning. The new construction will increase walking routes across the site, provide walkable market-rate and COAH-approved affordable homes, and provide a new play-park on Witherspoon Street.

5. Completion of ‘Residences At Palmer Square’ construction

New sidewalk and trees at Paul Robeson Place. (click to expand.)

New sidewalk and trees at ‘The Residences of Palmer Square’ on Paul Robeson Place in Princeton. (click to expand.)

– The final piece of Palmer Square, which has been under development on and off since 1929, was finished with the completion of the ‘Avery Lane’ townhomes on Paul Robeson Place. At long last, residents can walk on sidewalks on both sides of the street again, and a pedestrian shortcut through the ‘Residences At Palmer Square‘ complex is now open for those in the know.

6. Mayor’s Bike Ride

Steve Cochrane, Princeton's new School Board Superintendent (front right) makes light work of a gentle hill in Mountain Lakes Park. (click to expand.)

Steve Cochrane, Princeton’s new School Board Superintendent (front right) makes light work of a gentle hill in Mountain Lakes Park during the Mayor’s Bike Ride. (click to expand.)

– Princeton was recently awarded ‘Bronze Bike Friendly Community’ status, and what better way to celebrate than with a big, friendly group ride through Mountain Lakes Park with Mayor Liz Lempert! Around fifty participants of all ages took part, and enjoyed hot cider half-way round at Mountain Lakes House. The start of a Princeton fall tradition? We hope so!

Thanks also to you, our readers, for your participation and comments! What’s making you happy this holiday? And what do you hope to see in the next 12 months? Feel free to leave a comment below, or else just have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

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This entry was posted in Affordability, Alternative Transportation, Biking, Community, Downtown Vibrancy, Events, People, Placemaking, Princeton, Real estate, Smart Growth, Trails, Transit, Zoning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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