Force Report Recommends Merging Facilities, Transit Strategy
(Candace Braun contributed to this story)
Princeton Task Force on Community Resources has released a report
outlining the need for sharing municipal facilities throughout
Princeton Township and Borough and for creating a transportation
strategy to allievate road congestion.
planning and a commission that helps Princeton institutions manage
resource sharing, swapping, pooling, and other collaborative efforts
are needed, according to the newly-formed task force's report.
order to achieve this cooperative resource planning and facilities
use, the task force has recommended establishing a formal commission
or agency to oversee community resources and a yet-to-be-established
joint transportation commission.
The initiative was in response
to issues regarding the handling of increased demand on Princeton's
indoor and outdoor facilities.
A catalyst in launching the
effort was to entrench a transportation system throughout both
the Township and Borough.
"We really take seriously
the question of jitney transportation in Princeton," said
Mayor Marvin Reed at a recent Borough Council meeting.
long considered as a built-out community, is in need of collaboration
in planning future resources and cooperative scheduling of all
facilities available to the community, according to the report.
the report calls for the development of a transportation strategy
that is created and put into operation through what is termed
as a "joint transportation commission."
of such cooperative efforts will be more cost effective for towns
to share space instead of creating more single-purpose structures,
the report said.
In addition to sharing facilities and taking
steps toward one Princeton (at least, infrastructurally), the
report focuses heavily on the advent of a Joint Transportation
Commission that enables collaborative transportational planning
between the Borough and the Township.
The report alludes
to the possible creation of a comprehensive shuttle system much
like the one that has proved successful on the Princeton University
Campus. P-Rides, as the program is known, enables members of the
graduate population, who largely live in designated, remote areas
of campus, to move laterally around campus without driving. In
fact, graduate students who live on campus are not issued parking
permits in an effort by the University to eliminate campus driving
Further, P-Rides utilizes shuttles that operate
using energy-efficient, compressed natural gas.
Force report calls for the School Board, towns, and the University
to push for the New Jersey Department of Transportation to advance
the timetable for its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System study and
take steps to assure the Dinky and a connecting Princeton Shuttle
System to be included in that plan.
Recently, at a conference
hosted by the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association=8Bthe
organization that manages the University's P-Rides program=8BNJ
Transit was on hand to discuss BRT saying that study gave state
transit agency the impetus to begin their own study of the program
and that the organization would accept any Bus Rapid Transit plans
that included the Dinky at the Princeton Station as part of its
The second catalyst for this initiative was the question
as to how to use efficiently the Valley Road School Building,
which is currently under renovation to house joint-municipal recreation
With this renovation, opportunities are opening
up that could allow for various community groups to use the facility
for their activities. Currently some of the space is being used
for school services that would otherwise be disrupted due to construction
on the public schools. New carpeting, lighting, and ceilings in
the building are opening up the potential for the building, said
"It's beginning to look a lot different
than when the Township had facilities there," he said.
The private schools also have several facilities that could be
shared throughout the community. In particular, Princeton Day
School, which has 10 athletic fields, will soon be constructing
an artificial turf field that could possibly be shared by other
community sports teams.
Another area of interest to both
the public schools and local universities is the anticipated auditorium
that is being built at Princeton High School. According to Mayor
Reed, nearby Westminster Choir College has shown an interest in
using the school's auditorium for concerts once it has been built.
The college could supplement the school's budget costs in order
to have better acoustics in the facility.
" With the
forthcoming renovations and expansions on all six public schools,
intramural sports may expand at the schools due to the district's
"no-cut" policy. The high school will soon have four
athletic fields, five tennis courts, one outdoor track, and two
gyms. John Witherspoon will have three athletic fields, two gyms,
and a pool. The elementary schools have a total of four auxiliary
gyms and four athletic fields. In addition, the Valley Road building
will have one gym and three shared fields.