This November, Princeton will elect two Council members. On the Democratic Party side, four candidates are running, and the Princeton Community Democratic Organization will meet this Sunday, March 20, to make endorsements. Ahead of the PCDO meeting, we contacted the four candidates to hear their views on various questions relating to walkable living and reducing car dependency. Responses from Tim Quinn are below. Answers from Jenny Crumiller can be viewed at this link. Answers from Leticia Fraga can be viewed at this link. Answers from Anne Waldron Neumann can be viewed at this link. Thanks to all the candidates for participating and sharing their views!
Responses from Tim Quinn:
1. 21,000 people drive into Princeton each day to work. Do you believe that the town should try to reduce vehicle-miles-traveled. If so, how?
In addition to being a great place to live, Princeton is a major employment center in Central Jersey. I’d like to see the municipality collaborate with Princeton University and other employers on a solution that reduces the number of vehicles entering the town during weekdays by creating opportunities for people to drive, park and take a shuttle into town to work. While the university and others have realized some gains in this area, I see a need for a community-wide approach to offer drivers a reliable, affordable way to park and shuttle into town. The 2013 amendment to the Circulation Element of the Princeton Community Master Plan calls for improvements and expansion of bus routes serving Princeton as well as a Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit system to run parallel to Route 1. Implementation of some or all of these would have the desired effect of reducing vehicle miles traveled.
2. What do you think the town should be doing to reduce the affordable housing waiting list (currently estimated at over 1,000 households) and enable middle class people to live in town?
These are two different questions. The answer to reducing the waiting list is obvious: expand affordable housing, in cooperation with our existing hometown agencies and by working with developers. The sites identified in the court-ordered plan that replaced COAH are a nice beginning, but I’d like to see more options in a greater price range. I’d also advocate with the state for redefining the income limits for what constitutes moderate income. It’s my understanding these are set by county. As for enabling middle class people to live in town, I would like to investigate ways in which the municipality could make it feasible, and even attractive, for developers to build multi-family structures on parcels targeted for redevelopment. I am solidly middle class and live on a street with a variety of single-family and multi-family homes of all kind that form a diverse, yet harmonious, streetscape. Everyone in town has watched with concern as developers have used favorable zoning to purchase smaller homes on larger lots and replace a single home with two larger houses. Through it all, many have been left to wonder what happened to the duplex in Princeton. While attracting new middle class residents, we also need to be sensitive to middle class people already in town who would like to continue to enjoy all Princeton has to offer without fear of economic insecurity.
3. Princeton is working on a new bicycle circulation plan. What kind of changes do you think the town should make to promote cycling?
As important as any plan outlining safe, dedicated lanes to promote cycling as a healthful and sustainable alternative to car travel is building a cycling-friendly culture, a culture that starts with our residents and spreads to those who come here to work and to visit. I would model Pennington in encouraging the enforcement of lower speed limits. As a result, Pennington became a town where cyclists are expected — and accepted. As part of the 10 percent of people identified by Princeton’s consultant who will ride on just about any road anytime, my personal experience is that I’ve had far fewer auto-cyclist incidents in Pennington than in Princeton. We must also expand opportunities for casual, off-road cyclists. A good place to start would be leveraging pipeline rights-of-way to connect Princeton to the Lawrence-Hopewell Trail. Finally, part of building a bike-friendly culture is to strengthen our infrastructure so students in all of our schools can ride safely to school.
4. What specific idea or policy is the thing that drives you most in seeking office?
When I moved to Princeton in 1990, I found a town committed to social justice, to dealing with the shameful parts of its past and moving toward a better future for everyone. I found a town that ran counter to a widespread narrative of being a tweedy and elitist — in fact, I found it very diverse in all ways. Most of all, I found a place where equality of opportunity was still alive, where the son of a lower-middle-class deliveryman from the river wards of Philadelphia was given the chance to meet great thinkers, multigenerational families and brand new Americans, all living in the same neighborhood and each seeking to enrich their lives and the lives of their families. From my professional work at Princeton Public Library, our great civic equalizer, to my service on the Princeton Board of Education, where social commitment was translated into public policy, and with numerous non-profits, what drives me is maintaining and advancing this equality of opportunity for those who continue to be welcomed here and are encouraged to pursue their dreams. The Princeton I moved to has changed in many ways and there is much work to do, but that commitment is alive and it would be my honor to help advance it on Princeton Council.