Time To Review Our Predictions for 2014 (And Laugh)

The opening of the new Dinky station was one of the most notable Princeton events in 2014. (click to expand.)

The opening of the new Dinky station was one of the most notable Princeton events in 2014. (click to expand.)

This time last year, we made a series of predictions for 2014. A lot of things happened in Princeton in 2014. Just not necessarily the things we predicted! Let’s review:

1. Publication of the Alexander Street Transit Task Force Report

Did it happen? No.

After hosting a public meeting to discuss interim progress in November 2013, it seemed like a no-brainer that the ASUP Task Force would publish a report at some time in 2014 detailing the best way to upgrade transit along Alexander Street. Instead the committee, which is made up of town and University members, hasn’t published minutes of its meetings since February of this year, and apparently hasn’t even met since July.


2. New NJDOT Plan to close Route 1 Jughandles

Did it happen? No.

Rumors have it that NJDOT is working on a plan to review the Route 1 intersections that funnel traffic into Princeton. We have absolutely no idea about the details.


3. Witherspoon Street Area Plan

Did it happen? No.

On this point there was at least some semblance of progress, as Council initiated a dialog on zoning along Witherspoon Street. But it’s not even clear what the scope of the review is at this point, and it seems like the town is a long way off making a decision.


4. Firehouse Expansion at Witherspoon Street

Did it happen? No.

No sign of any conclusion about the idea of expanding the Engine Company No. 3 site, although it is now clear that PFARS will not be joining the firefighters at 369 Witherspoon. Council signed a memorandum of understanding with PFARS to move the ambulance service to a site at Witherspoon and Valley Road. The old garage there was demolished to make way in September, and part of Terhune Road will close to accommodate parking.


5. Court Battles

Did it happen? Yes, of course.

OK, so this was a bit of a gimme. Princeton University and AvalonBay saw off challenges to their development plans. Other issues rumble on- such as the Institute for Advanced Study housing plan, which looks set to be challenged in court for a second time after being re-approved by the Planning Board in November.


6. Christie To Go

Did it happen? No.

The Governor has still not announced his plans for 2016, but spent much of the year out of the state as chair of the Republican Governors Association. It’s been an interesting year for Mr Christie, as he faced the ‘Only-in-New-Jersey’ allegation of using a traffic jam as a political weapon.


7. Improved Cycling Policy

Did it happen? Yes, at least in part.

Princeton hosted an inaugural Ciclovia in May, and has advanced several plans to improve conditions for cyclists in town. On the other hand, there has not been a significant improvement in accommodations for cyclists, and the remodeled Alexander Street continues the trend of substituting sharrows for proper facilities.


8. New Faces

Did it happen? Yes.

Princeton’s new School Board superintendent, Steve Cochrane, faced a baptism of fire with industrial action from unhappy teachers and cafeteria workers. In something of a surprise, Marc Dashield was appointed town administrator. Mr Dashield worked previously in Montclair, and as ‘CEO’ of the municipality, has a powerful position to affect the direction of the town. On the other hand, there were no new faces on Princeton Council, as Jo Butler fended off a challenge from Sue Nemeth in a contentious Democratic party primary.


9. The Return of the Dreaded A-2586

Did it happen? No.

Assembly Bill 2586, which would give private colleges such as Princeton U. the power to override local zoning, has not been resurrected. The University is making nice with the town, with repeated visits from new President Christopher Eisgruber to Council, ahead of the framing of a new campus plan in 2015.


10. Princeton Housing Will Get More Expensive. Traffic Will Get Worse.

Did it happen? Yes, at least in part.

According to Trulia, the median sales price of property in Princeton is up 15.3% year-on-year.  It’s hard to come by reliable figures for traffic, but anecdotally at least, it has got worse.



Three out of ten is pretty terrible, but why be discouraged? It’s great that things are not too predictable, and 2015 promises to be another interesting year. On pattern that is clear, is that if local or state governmental officials are involved in a ‘task force’ or ‘planning exercise’, they will take years to finish the job, if the job gets finished at all!


What are your predictions for 2015? Put your prediction in the comments section below, and we’ll check if you’re right in 365 days time!

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