Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 51
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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Stepping Down as Township Mayor, Bernie Miller Thanks Staff, Citizens

Bernie Miller
Governors Lane

Money for Community Leaf Recycling Into Soil Enhancements Is Well Spent

Ronald C. Nielsen
Humbert Street

Some Thoughts On What to Do About Fire, Police, Valley Road Space Issues

John Boyd
Cherry Hill Road

Reader Wants “Less Politics, More Planning,” Misquoted on Planning Board, Dinky Station

Chip Crider
Bank Street


Stepping Down as Township Mayor, Bernie Miller Thanks Staff, Citizens

To the Editor:

On 2 January 2011, I will step down as mayor of Princeton Township. I will do so with deep personal regret. A new leadership will assume responsibility at a time of many challenges for the Township. I sincerely hope that they are successful in meeting these challenges.

As I leave the position of mayor, I want to express my gratitude to the highly professional and competent staff at Princeton Township, and to the many citizens of our town who give freely of their time and expertise on our boards and commissions. It is the dedication and work of these individuals that make our community a wonderful place to live, to raise our families, and to work. I also want to thank those many Township residents who have taken the time to meet with me informally to discuss their concerns.

2011 will be the third and final year of my current term on Township Committee. I fully intend to complete my current term and to devote my energies to the realization of the initiatives that I began as mayor. It has been my privilege to serve the people of Princeton Township as mayor for the past two years and as a member of Princeton Township Committee for the past nine years.

Bernie Miller
Governors Lane

Money for Community Leaf Recycling Into Soil Enhancements Is Well Spent

To the Editor:

We are a nation of over optimistic dreamers. When we use words like “sustainability” we mean that we can continue to drive our SUVs forever. We do not think of how to return nutrients to the soil, such as by leaf mulch, so that it can produce forever. The collective composting of leaves is one of the few things Princeton actually does that contributes to true sustainability. But that is not why we do it. Leaves in the streets form a traffic hazard, as anyone who has skidded on them can attest to. And if piled up in the back yard, they form a fire hazard, especially in the Borough. It does not matter if the fire is started by someone tossing a cigarette or by kids playing with matches.

Furthermore, composting is an inherently smelly operation and has no place in a dense residential area. Would you want your next door neighbor to do a proper composting job by adding vegetable peelings, eggshells and rotting fish heads to his backyard heap?

This must be a collective effort, else we wind up with a hodgepodge of various degrees of compliance. Peak oil has already come and gone (see my articles on http://home.earthlink.net/~princetonsfuture/). The amount of money spent on this community leaf recycling into soil enhancements is well spent because we will need productive gardens in the not-so-distant future. However, to achieve a measure of net-cost-reduction, we could charge for the recycled compost and mulch.

Ronald C. Nielsen
Humbert Street

Some Thoughts On What to Do About Fire, Police, Valley Road Space Issues

To the Editor:

I was wondering why any of the groups presently occupying space in the Valley Road building cannot be accommodated in the huge, almost new Township building. I seem to remember that back when officials and architects were touting a new building over other ideas, they said they would include plenty of space for growth.

I also wonder why the fire and rescue departments need more space. Over the course of the 45-plus years I have lived here, both departments have done a fine job with what they have been provided. With the huge problem of out of control spending and the increase in property taxes that goes with it, the last thing this town needs is bigger public buildings to build and then maintain.

As I see it, the problem is that the people who want and spend the money on such things are not the same people who have to pay for it.

John Boyd
Cherry Hill Road

Reader Wants “Less Politics, More Planning,” Misquoted on Planning Board, Dinky Station

To the Editor:

In your December 15 article on the Princeton Regional Planning Board (“Dinky Wins the Day, Location Up for Debate”), I was misquoted; here is a summary of my comments:

I chastised the Planning Board for spending four years dickering about the University’s proposed 460 ft. Dinky station move and thereby squandering opportunities to do any long-range transportation planning. They spent enormous time on this minutia while ignoring the bigger picture and choosing not to even discuss it. Their interest has focused on public opinion and politics rather than planning. It is likely that the Dinky will not be with us forever; we presently have no long-range plan or even a fall back position.

For some time the NJDOT has been predicting a 55 percent traffic increase in the Princetons by 2020 which is now only nine years away. When that occurs the town’s main arteries will be at a standstill several times daily at the times we need them the most. All those busses upon which our present local network is based — Tiger Transit, NJT, FreeB — will be immobilized beside everyone else in their cars and trucks.

Further, it is quite likely that energy costs will double or triple in an even shorter time frame. This will make the already hopelessly energy inefficient Dinky even more vulnerable. We’ve just seen the largest transportation project in the country cancelled with scant forewarning.

I also criticized the University for failing to publicly engage in exploring future transportation options. The University and other institutions enjoy tax exempt status presumably because of their contributions to society. Energy conservation and energy efficiency are of ever increasing importance to us locally, nationally, and as a planet. Transportation presently is not nearly as energy efficient as it could be. In fact, transportation is the University’s number two area for energy consumption. Yes, they encourage bicycles, ride sharing, and electric campus maintenance vehicles. They too have a sustainability program as is popular at universities across the country. But in the area of future efficient public and private transportation, where they could really make world class strides and demonstrate phenomenal leadership, they are strangely silent.

For the past four years I’ve been exploring future options and have come to some conclusions and prepared a plan. Other than from a couple of individuals, so far there has been no interest from the Planning Board as a whole to hear the details. I have been able to very briefly present ideas in the public comment sessions; I fared slightly better at Princeton Future. So I put the concept on the web at http://spurts.org. I’ve had interest from all over the world except from Princeton. After all, we come out in droves for the status quo.

So please, less politics and more planning.

N.B. I said nothing about the Planning Board being too hasty nor did I call for study of the optimal Dinky Station location.

Chip Crider
Bank Street

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