If you haven’t taken the chance to complete the Princeton Economic Develeopment Survey, you should stop what you’re doing, go to this link (princetonsurvey.org), and fill it out now. This survey is part of the public outreach to rewrite the Princeton community Master Plan, the document that guides all development decisions in town. The Master Plan has not been substantially revised since 1996, therefore this is potentially a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help guide the future of Princeton. However, there are going to be other opportunities in the coming months, which fans of walkable living should be aware of.
The town of Princeton appropriated funds to rewrite the community Master Plan earlier this year. This is an important and costly process. The lead consultant team, from Clark Caton Hintz, was awarded $313,000 to lead the Master Plan rewrite. The Master Plan provides a framework for all development decisions, including zoning regulations, what land should be preserved, traffic flow, and historic preservation. Given the scope of the work, the town eventually ended up hiring consultants from two additional firms to provide further assistance with the rewrite. These are JGSC Group, who are working on economic development, and Susan G. Blickstein, LLC, who are working on public outreach efforts.
Despite the importance of the Master Plan rewrite, the initial public outreach has been slightly chaotic, to the extent that it has attracted negative comment in local press. Specifically, the Master Plan team have pushed ahead with consultation for the Economic Development chapter of the new Master Plan, separately from all the other elements. This outreach effort has been in the form of the online survey at princetonsurvey.org, advertized around the town with yellow “TELL US WHAT YOU WANT” signs.
Running a survey during the summer months is unusual, because many people are out of town, most notably all the students at Princeton University. Some residents are also confused about why the current survey focuses on economic development matters, and not on other issues affecting the town.
In response, the lead officials leading the Master Plan rewrite have commented that the economic development survey is just the first of many different forms of public outreach that will inform the writing of the new Master Plan, which is scheduled to be completed by spring of 2023. It’s not clear why the various elements of the public outreach could not have gone forward in a coordinated fashion, but it is nonetheless extremely important to participate in all the different outreach efforts. ‘Walkable Princeton’ will contine to update the public on how to get involved.
In particular, Princeton residents should consult the website “engage.princetonmasterplan.org/“, which will be the primary hub for Master Plan-related information. But for today – make sure to fill out the Economic Development Survey at princetonsurvey.org. The survey has a bunch of important questions about sidewalks, traffic, and bike lanes, and it takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The survey is open to people from around the region – you don’t have to be a Princeton resident to respond. The deadline to complete it has already been extended and it is likely to close this week – possibly as soon as Monday – so go do it now if you haven’t already done so!!