Planners Eye Seminary, Princeton Shopping Center As Sites For New Housing

Tennent Hall, Princeton Theological Seminary (click to expand)

Princeton’s Planning Board last week passed a Reexamination Report for the Community Masterplan. The report, which must be prepared regularly according to state law, contains a list of problems facing the community and what planning remedies will be used to address those problems. As could be expected, affordable housing and traffic are mentioned as issues facing the town of Princeton, and the report gives some insight into where planners are considering as potential sites for new housing. Continue reading

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Princeton’s NJ State Senator, Kip Bateman, Talks Priorities Ahead of Re-Election Bid

Incumbent NJ-16 State Senator Christopher ‘Kip’ Bateman (click to expand)

On November 7, voters in Princeton will elect two new representatives to the New Jersey State Assembly, and one Senator for the New Jersey State Senate. Princeton is in the competitive NJ-16 district, currently represented by State Senator Christopher ‘Kip’ Bateman (R), and State Assembly Reps Andrew Zwicker (D) and Jack Ciattarelli (R). We reached out to all the candidates for these positions, to try to find out about their goals, and their policies on housing and transportation. Unfortunately none of the Democratic candidates for State office (Andrew Zwicker, Roy Freiman, Laurie Poppe) responded to our requests for comment. Republican Assembly candidates Donna Simon and Jack Caliguire also declined to respond.  However, incumbent State Senator Kip Bateman did respond! Continue reading

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Princeton Council Candidates For 2017 Talk Goals, Housing, Transportation

Princeton Council Candidates Leticia Fraga (left) and David Cohen (right). (click to expand)

Each year, we pose questions to candidates for local office ahead of the November election. This year, Princeton is electing two new Council members. Democrats Leticia Fraga and David Cohen are running to replace outgoing Council members Bernie Miller and Jo Butler. No Republicans are running in this cycle. Why are Leticia and David running for office? And what are their thoughts on housing and transportation? Continue reading

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A Closer Look At Princeton’s “Eruv”

Utility pole with attached pole to mark edge of Princeton ‘eruv’ (click to expand).

In 2015, the town of Princeton approved a plan by Princeton University to install an ‘eruv’ around several local neighborhoods. An eruv is “a symbolic enclosure that allows observant Jews, mostly of the Orthodox community, to carry objects outdoors on the Sabbath”. In practice, it takes the form of a number of poles that are attached to the side of utility poles. Most residents probably didn’t even notice the eruv being constructed, but walking around Princeton, it is possible to spot the poles that mark its boundary. They aren’t on every utility pole, just some number of poles around the edge of the eruv. The picture above shows one at the intersection of Jefferson Road and Terhune Road. It’s a thin, gray plastic pipe about 20-ft tall. Continue reading

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Bus Rapid Transit Comes To US-1 But Not (Yet) In Princeton

US-1 busway in Alexandria, VA (click to expand)

New Jersey Department of Transport (NJDOT) recently allowed cars to drive on shoulder lanes on part of US-1, a key highway in Central New Jersey which runs past Princeton and connects local towns like West Windsor, Plainsboro and South Brunswick. Allowing car drivers to drive on the shoulder lanes is intended to ‘reduce rush hour congestion’. But this new traffic alignment is quite different to what was proposed by a joint NJDOT-Rutgers University study in 2010. This ‘US-1 Growth Strategy’ envisioned  ‘growth centers’ in the Central Jersey region, which would allow green space and existing neighborhoods to be protected, and which would be linked by a new ‘Bus Rapid Transit’ system on Route 1. This ‘Bus Rapid Transit’ (BRT) has not been built – instead, we are expanding lanes for cars. But in Virginia, BRT was built, so we can see how it would work. Continue reading

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Princeton University’s New Arts Complex: The View From The Outside (PHOTOS)

New ‘Lewis Center for the Arts’, Princeton University, as seen from entrance to Princeton Rail station (click to expand)

In 2012, Princeton University got approvals to construct a new ‘Arts and Transit’ complex on Alexander St at University Place. Extremely controversial at the time, the plan called for moving Princeton rail station approximately 400-ft south, converting the existing rail station to restaurants, and building a big new Center for the Arts on the site of a bunch of old houses. The old ‘WaWa’ convenience store was also torn down, and replaced with a new one. For those of us who walk or jog around that side of town, the construction has been a big mess, but it is largely done, and although the Center isn’t open yet, the paths are in place, so we can check out what the new site looks like. Continue reading

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The High Cost Of New York/NJ Transit Projects: Some Possible Explanations

Departure hall for trains to New Jersey from World Trade Center PATH station. (click to expand)

New Jersey commuters to New York city are currently suffering through what NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo called a ‘Summer of Hell‘. Emergency maintenance on tracks around New York Penn Station has resulted in service cuts and packed trains. In general, there is a sense that transit options in the New York – New Jersey area are not as good as they ought to be. This is particularly true in car-clogged New Jersey, where rail commuters have put up with regular fare hikes in return for what many feel is a sub-standard service. So why don’t we have better transit? One problem, clearly, is that building new transit facilities is very expensive. But is it unreasonably expensive, or do we just lack the political will to invest in non-car transportation? Continue reading

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