Representatives of Princeton University continued touring its updated master plan Monday, this time presenting the idea of a denser, more pedestrian-friendly campus to members of Township Committee.
The presentation comes two-and-a-half weeks after being first heard by the Regional Planning Board of Princeton, raising few concerns, save those related to shuttle transportation and traffic circulation in general. While significant portions of University lands are located in the Township, most of the main campus's facilities are located in Princeton Borough.
As such, members of Township Committee were more concerned with traffic flowing in and out of the University, namely along Alexander Road, which, once viewed as the campus rear, was represented by University planners as the emerging main entrance for visitors.
As in the Planning Board presentation, the University brought in Neil Kittridge of the architectural and planning firm Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) to outline specific aims of the University, including the school's goal to further so-called academic neighborhoods, including the natural sciences region that straddles Washington Road, the Alexander Road area, and that within the Borough's E-3 zoning district, encompassing the University's Engineering Quadrangle and 185 Nassau Street, home to the school's creative writing, visual arts, and theater and dance programs.
In addition to circulation planning, Mr. Kittridge underlined the "park-like character" of the main campus, saying that the campus itself serves as a "valuable component of the entire community."
One area of emphasis that did not receive as much attention during the Planning Board hearing is the southern part of campus near Faculty Road and the canal. Mr. Kittridge credited the natural geological landscape of that end of campus as a draw for students and said that wetlands and additional forest could be established to shield less attractive buildings put up in the mid-20th century.
Other firms working with BBB include those specializing in landscape architecture, site sustainability, transportation, parking, horticulture, and garden design, according to Michael McKay, the University's vice president for Facilities.
But transportation is clearly central to the University's long-term plans, as the school, in the past two years, has scrapped plans to build what was once envisioned as a mirror campus on vacant University lands across Lake Carnegie and the canal in West Windsor. Robert Durkee, the University's vice president and secretary, has cited a one-time trend toward a "sprawl" campus that proved to be out of line with the school's aims.
University Architect Jon Hlafter echoed that sentiment, but pointed to the school's continued trend toward growth, signaling that if West Windsor lands were to be used sometime in the future, it would have to supplement a dense, pedestrian-efficient campus in the Princetons. Mr. Hlafter cited the evolving field of Genomics as proof that the school will have to build commensurate with various innovations.
Township Deputy Mayor Bernie Miller addressed the school's need for increased graduate housing, typically built on more remote areas of campus, saying that the University's jitney, P-Rides, should be rerouted to serve shopping areas, like the Princeton Shopping Center. Mayor Phyllis Marchand took that idea further when she said the University should implement a more expansive shuttle system as soon as possible, preceding future development.
Mr. Durkee suggested that one area of drastic redevelopment could be a revamped Dinky Station area, which "will look very different 20 years from now." Mr. Durkee, while not offering specific designs, did say an architect could be named as early as this week for that section of campus.
The University will bring the same presentation before Borough Council on April 25 at 7:30 p.m.
In other news, the Township approved an ordinance allowing the enforcement of the municipal affordable housing code in the municipal court, rather than in Superior court, which is the current area of jurisdiction. The code was amended per the recommendation of the Township's Housing Board.
Township Committee passed an ordinance that will increase dog-related fines, per the recommendation of the Princeton Regional Health officer, David Henry. For example, if a dog is not wearing a metal registration tag, as mandated, a $50 fine will be levied for the first offense, a $75 fine for the second offense and those thereafter. The ordinance also applies to the treatment of dogs in cases where the Health Department is brought in to investigate.
Finally, the Committee approved an ordinance that will allow Princeton Community Television to fall under the aegis of its own not-for-profit organization, rather than under an agency administered by the Borough. The Borough passed a companion ordinance last month.
Mr. Schiltz was commended for his efforts in minority education. "Glen has challenged us with his penetrating questions which have made our deliberations more thoughtful," commented Ms. Burns.
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