Letter: Don't Make Public Transportation Less Convenient

Global warming requires communities to increase public transportation use. It's wrong for Princeton to exchange an historic, in-town train station for access to a parking garage.


To the Editor:

As a Princeton taxpayer who headed the Borough's Traffic and Transportation Committee for many years, I must offer a few observations about the University's wrong-headed determination to move the Dinky station further from downtown.  My bottom line is simple (I'm sure most residents--and most Planning Board members--will have had this thought): in a time when scientists agree that climate change threatens, why make public transportation less convenient?  Make no mistake; to approve this plan means more people will drive to the station and fewer people will use the rail connection, period.

Princeton is full of people expert in their fields who have testified against this proposal: among the adverse effects they have noted is hopelessly snarled traffic in the Alexander Road corridor.  So not only is this decision wrong in its essence, it's wrong in its details.

Here's how to serve the arts: build the proposed arts complex, but maintain the current station.  Princeton will not regret this outcome, just as New York City did not regret saving Grand Central station in the 1970s.  As the Supreme Court wrote in that decision, "[H]istoric conservation is but one aspect of the much larger problem, basically an environmental one, of enhancing...the quality of life for people."

Has the University's largesse silenced those who might otherwise say that this plan offends sensibility as well as good sense?  Bottom line: we know what's right.  Can we now look the other way as Princeton University trades our in-town, historic train station for better access to its parking garage?

Sandy Solomon

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Pat Palmer December 12, 2012 at 07:57 PM
No one who actually commutes using the dinky wants it moved. If Princeton goes ahead with this, they'll be moving towards a car-oriented community. I commute and use the dinky often, and sometimes I bicycle or walk to the dinky. People, I always have a backpack or briefcase. That's 400+ more feet UPHILL added on to the 1+ mile I'm already walking or riding. Furthermore, the traffic on Alexander is going to get much worse, with the addition of another light and not letting people be dropped off on University without having to use Alexander. The whole thing will just guarantee that people like me, who live on the other side of Princeton, cannot use public transportation without resorting to a car. It's a horrible thing, and if there were anything I could do to prevent it, I would.
Sandy Solomon December 13, 2012 at 03:52 PM
So here is what I understand you can do to help: (1) Go to the Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, December 18th, 7:30, Valley Road Municipal Building. Bring friends. Sign up to speak. The Planning Board can only take into account statements that are made live at the meeting. Your comments from the experience of your daily commute will really help, for example, that this plan will put more people into cars, make traffic worse, make using the train less safe and far less convenient--not to mention that it will destroy a landmark train station. (2) Share your views with the University community (a) sending feedback to the Daily Princetonian at http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/feedback/ (3) Send an email to the Board of New Jersey transit (njtboard@njtransit.com) with a copy to princetondinky@gmail.com.


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