It’s the turn of the year, you’ve already read the ‘Review of 2022‘ in ‘Town Topics’, and now you’re probably wondering, “what could be on the cards for 2023?” Seek no further, we have ten bold predictions about what might be scandalizing Princeton in the coming 12 months. Check them out – and don’t forget to look to the bottom for the scorecard on our predictions from last year!!!
Princeton Predictions for 2023:
- Yard Waste Reform. The town of Princeton currently does free curbside pickup of yard waste like brush and loose leaves. The Mayor says it costs too much money, and Council is probably going to try to cut back on the program in 2023. Expect angry letters. (Likelihood: 7/10)
- More Surveys For Master Plan Rewrite. The Princeton Planning Board is overseeing the first major rewrite of the Princeton Municipal Master Plan since the 1990s. Outreach efforts to date have set broad priorities for the new Master Plan, but consultants will launch more detailed surveys in 2023, to try to determine more specific recommendations for the final document. (Likelihood: 9/10)
- Support for Dinky Upgrade. NJ Transit sponsored a study in 2022 that concluded that light rail and bus rapid transit should replace the current trains that run on the Princeton ‘Dinky’ train line. Without an upgrade, the service could be terminated, as NJ Transit wants to phase out the antique Arrow III trains that are used for the Dinky. One key problem is that the upgrades would cost $200 million. That money could be allocated by the state, but only with sufficient local support and lobbying. Expect Princeton Council to pass a resolution endorsing the new plan in the coming months. If they do not, Princeton risks losing its train line. (Likelihood: 6/10)
- New ‘Lincoln Court’ apartment plan. The Barsky Group tried to get approval for an apartment building off North Tulane Street earlier this year, but the Zoning Board of Adjusment said “no way“. Expect a new proposal in 2023, possibly with the affordable units removed, to comply with the Zoning Board’s demand for a smaller building. (Likelihood: 8/10)
- Town of Princeton to acquire land on Franklin Avenue. The town of Princeton is required to build affordable housing on Franklin Avenue to comply with its state-mandated ‘fair share’ housing plan. The effort to build housing there has been complicated by neighborhood opposition and the fact that part of the site is not owned by the town. Expect the town to buy the lot that it doesn’t own, to make this development happen. (Likelihood: 5/10)
- Construction begins at SAVE Animal site. The old animal rescue place off Mt Lucas Rd is slated to become another affordable housing site. After fending off a court challenge by local NIMBYs, the developer is likely to begin construction in 2023. (Likelihood: 5/10)
- New restrictions on e-bikes. “E-bikes”, which have an electric motor to assist the rider, offer a clean, sustainable alternative to car use. Princeton Council will probably introduce new rules to restrict their use in 2023. (Likelihood: 7/10)
- Community Park South Vision. For years, the town of Princeton has been talking about modernizing Community Park South, to bring the facilities more in line with current recreation needs. A new study is likely to happen in 2023, as a step toward making that happen. (Likelihood: 6/10)
- Students move into Princeton University ‘Lake Campus’. Continuing Princeton University’s tradition of housing graduate students far away from the heart of the campus, the new ‘Lake Campus’ housing, which is actually in West Windsor, will open in 2023. (Likelihood: 5/10)
- Resolution of Westminster Choir College litigation. Rider University has been trying to sell the old Westminster Choir College site for years, but has been frustrated by Princeton residents who have sued to prevent the sale. Surely this court case will be resolved in 2023? Right? I mean, it has to end some time? (Likelihood: 2/10)
Review of predictions from 2022! (original post can be viewed here)
- Princeton University will advance plan to build new pedestrian bridge over Lake Carnegie. Did it happen? No! Rumor has it that the State Historic Preservation Office has refused to allow a new bridge, which would have connected to Princeton University’s new campus south of Lake Carnegie, and was a highlight of the University’s master plan.
- Lots of Construction. Did it happen? Yes! Construction is ongoing at the new Graduate Hotel on Hulfish Street, Avalon Bay apartments on Thanet Road, a new subdivision off Snowden Lane, a drive-thru Walgreens at Princeton Shopping Center, and, of course, the reconstruction of lower Witherspoon Street.
- Witherspoon Street Phase 2 Road Project will launch. Did it happen? Yes! A plan for the second phase of reconstruction of Witherspoon Street was agreed by Princeton Council. It features no high-quality facilities for people riding bicycles, as usual.
- NJ Transit to Recommend BRT option for Dinky corridor. Did it happen? Yes! Report here.
- More opposition to townhouses. Did it happen? Yes! The Princeton Planning Board flatly rejected a plan for townhomes on Linden Lane, and a judge in Mercer Superior Court threw out an existing approval of townhomes on Humbert Street.
- New stormwater regulations. Did it happen? Yes. Tighter stormwater regulations are advancing at the local, state, and federal level. Princeton’s land use engineer, Jim Purcell, recently announced that the town will move to a “500-year-storm” rating for future developments. Princeton Council also hired consultants to investigate a new ‘stormwater utility’, which could charge property owners according to the amount of stormwater running off their land.
- New municipal charging stations for electric vehicles. Did it happen? Yes. Well, kinda, they’re not built yet, but Princeton Council awarded a contract to add EV charging stations at the municipal complex at 400 Witherspoon Street.
- Communiversity returns. Did it happen? No! President Biden may have declared the COVID-19 pandemic ‘over’, but the long-standing Communiversity street festival did not return in 2022. Is it gone for good?
- Fundraising begins for Princeton Einstein Museum. Did it happen? Yes! For example, this.
- Ban on turf athletic fields. Did it happen? No! Council rejected a plan for a synthetic turf athletic facility at Hilltop Park, but did not go as far as passing a blanket ban on the use of synthetic turf in Princeton.
Final score for 2022: 7/10.
Thanks for reading ‘Walkable Princeton’ this year!!