Parking has once again dominated Princeton Council’s agenda in 2022, with multiple meetings devoted to reviewing the findings of the ‘Permit Parking Task Force‘. Following substantial opposition, Council scaled back the original plan to expand resident permit parking, and, as discussed previously at walkableprinceton.com has rented parking at the former Westminster Choir College site for employee parking. However another Council action potentially affecting parking has seen little attention. At their meeting on Feb 14, Princeton Council awarded $38,470.00 to T&M Associates to prepare a detailed map of the surface parking lots between Nassau Street and Park Place. And at least one Council member sees it as a potential first step toward redevelopment of the site.
The blocks of Nassau Street between Vandeventer Ave and Moore St are lined with stores, such as the UPS Store, Santander Bank, and Sante Integrative Pharmacy. Behind these stores lies a large expanse of connected asphalt parking lots. This warren of surface parking includes a mixture of metered spots and privately-held parking spaces:
Council member David Cohen said that the town hoped to make a comprehensive map of the area, to identify what utilities are present, and who owns the various parcels that make up the site. Cohen said that he saw this as “an important first step to figuring out a way to more efficiently use this piece of public land…still keeping parking, but other uses as well.”
Although no potential redevelopment plan has been mentioned at the time of writing, it is no secret that some downtown merchants view the Park Place site as an ideal location for a new multi-story parking structure, similar to the one on Spring St. During his visit to Princeton last year, renowned urbanist Jeff Speck was specifically asked about the prospect of a parking deck at Park Place, and he said that he considered the idea to be “exciting”. Redevelopment of the site might also allow stormwater improvements to be made. In its current form, the large expanse of asphalt at Park Place is undoubtedly causing substantial run-off problems. Questions about how the site might be used could become a matter for the upcoming rewrite of the Princeton Community Master Plan. At their meeting on Feb 28, Princeton Council finally approved a contract with Clarke Canon Hitz to oversee the rewrite, at a cost of $313,000.
Link to Council agenda packet for Feb 14, 2022. The item relating to the Park Place survey is Resolution #22-71: click here