Princeton Predictions for 2015

The old Dinky Rail Station in Princeton. In 2015, this building will almost certainly reopen as a restaurant. (click to expand.)

The old Dinky Rail Station in Princeton. In 2015, this building will almost certainly reopen as a restaurant. (click to expand.)

‘Town Topics’ just published a very nice review of the year 2014. But what does the New Year have in store? Here are ten stories which are likely to be bothering our local reporters in 2015. We’ll check back at the end of the year to see which of them actually happened. As a bonus, we are including a ‘likelihood index’, which shows how likely we think each of these guesses is.

1. Changes to parking will spark a lively debate.

2015 will see a movement to harmonize parking ordinances between the former Borough and Township. There are sharply different views in the town about how parking should be  regulated and allocated. An attempt to enforce existing parking regulations in the former Borough in 2014 led to an outcry. Expect more lively debate in 2015.

Likelihood: 9/10.

2. Hopewell Township will be hit with a “builders remedy” lawsuit over failure to provide affordable housing.

New Jersey’s Council On Affordable Housing (COAH) and the Christie administration have been engaging in trench warfare over new quotas for affordable housing. COAH violated a court order in 2014 by refusing to adopt quotas that some activists considered to be flawed. The courts could now assume control of designating affordable housing obligations, opening the door to a wave of suits from developers seeking to build in New Jersey’s notoriously tight housing market. The municipalities who will be most vulnerable are those that have chosen to kick the can on their affordable housing obligations for years. Locally, Hopewell Township looks most at risk.

Likelihood: 5/10.

3. The Old Princeton Hospital will finally disappear.

Demolition of the old Princeton hospital is very likely to be completed in 2015, and the disappearance of the tower may provoke a momentary blast of nostalgia.

Likelihood: 9.5/10. 

4. New ‘Elements’ Restaurant Will Get A Glowing Review In The’New York Times’.

Work is progressing on the new ‘Elements’ opposite the Princeton public library. The new eatery is likely going to be amazing. The New York Times are sure to do a review, and we look forward to clichés like ‘renaissance’ or ‘resurgent’ to describe the restaurant ‘scene’ in Princeton. Or maybe “a slice of Manhattan in deepest darkest New Jersey”.

Likelihood: 8/10.

5. A New Princeton Neighbors Group Will Form To Fight Something Or Other.

In 2014, new activist groups sprung up to fight pipelines, sidewalks, and to continue the battle against AvalonBay. It will be interesting to see what new groups appear in 2015, and what they will be opposing.

Likelihood: 9/10.

6. A walker/jogger on the D&R Canal Trail will be hospitalized by angry Canada Geese.

There’s some angry birds down there, especially in egg-laying season. Stay safe.

Likelihood: 1.5/10.

7. Film crews will appear in Princeton to shoot a biopic of Paul Robeson.

Because that will be the next project of Steve McQueen, Oscar-winning director of ‘Twelve Years A Slave’.

Likelihood: 4/10.

8. Old PFARS site will be dedicated for affordable housing.

Princeton First Aid and Rescue Service are moving to a new location at Valley Road and Route 206. That much we know. But what will happen to the old PFARS site at North Harrison Street and Clearview Avenue? It has become municipal property as part of a land-swap arrangement. One possibility is that the municipality will sell the site will to fund at least part of the construction costs of the new PFARS station. Another possibility is that the site will be given away for development of affordable housing, with the new PFARS station being built using property tax receipts. This seems like the more likely option right now, but it will be an interesting debate. In principle, the municipality could sell the site, but require the purchaser to use the land at least in part for affordable housing. The other option is that the municipality could fail to make a decision in 2015.

Likelihood: 6/10.

9. New Jersey gas tax will go up for the first time in years.

It’s starting to seem like a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ the gas tax will go up, because there is no more money available to complete maintenance of existing roads and bridges. Even Chris Christie is refusing to rule it out. The only question is whether it will happen during his term, or whether he will dump the problem on the next guy.

Likelihood: 7/10.

10. A plan will appear for development of the ‘West Windsor Transit Village’.

It is starting to seem like there will be a ‘transit village’ on the Moon before one gets built in West Windsor. The project has been on the drawing board for years, but was barely mentioned during 2014. Surely something will happen in 2015, right??

Likelihood: 1/10.

OK, that’s it. Which of these predictions do you think seem most likely? And what do you think will be making the news in Princeton in 2015? Let us know using the comments section below!

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