To the Editor:
Recent weeks have seen individual articles on topics of great concern to many residents of Princeton. The topics have ranged from gang related activity in our town to ways to control the Borough budget, to reducing the size of the Borough police force, to a joint Borough-Township study of combining dispatching for the two police departments, to the retirement of the current Borough police chief, to the Township expanding their dispatcher to a study of their whole police department. I would like to suggest a way to tie what have appeared to be individual topics into one topic.
These are all related if we look at a single joint police department for the Borough and Township. A joint department will address gang activity in creating a department large enough to have enough officers on duty at one time to deal with this problem. A joint police department will address budget issues in both towns because over time it will reduce duplication in the most costly police department personnel, the senior officers. A joint police department will do away with two dispatch centers and two sets of dispatchers.
We can not address all the topics I mentioned in the first paragraph as separate issues. They are all related. Creating a joint police department will mean making hard decisions, it will mean the Borough and Township must work closely together in a trusting relationship to provide the best police coverage they can for our two towns. The dollar savings may not happen for a year or two or three. It will not be as easy as this letter might make it seem.
But in the long run, as we look at the big picture, it is the right thing to do. I hope all Princeton residents and elected officials will give this idea the time it deserves. It could serve us well on many fronts.
To the Editor:
I hope the trustees of the University Medical Center at Princeton will consider Princeton Forrestal Village as a new location for the hospital. It is easily accessible from all communities on either side of Route 1 thanks to the excellent, privately funded overpass. There is already a nursing facility located nearby. The hotel would probably convert easily to a hospital and all those empty stores to doctor's offices. The food court would have a steady stream of customers and there would be plenty of free parking!
To the Editor:
Sidewalks on Snowden Lane are urgently needed for at least three reasons. The Princeton Township police have designated the portion between Hamilton and Franklin Avenues as a dangerous route to school. Normally, that portion of Snowden is less than a 15 minute walk from Littlebrook Elementary, John Witherspoon Middle, and Princeton High Schools.
By being designated a dangerous route, taxpayers will be required to provide bus transportation, at an annual cost of between $600 and $800 per student, for every public school student living on that street, now and in the future. This bus service must be provided whether students use it or not. Stopped school buses halt traffic in both directions while students enter or leave the bus, creating delays and frustration for motorists. Building sidewalks on Snowden would immediately help slow the soaring tax rate.
The second reason for building sidewalks on Snowden would be to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of life such as transportation. The blind and people in wheelchairs are being forced out into traffic in order to use Snowden Lane, which is obviously dangerous. There are no sidewalks on the side streets between Hamilton and Franklin east of Harrison, so the suggestion that other, less traveled routes be used still leaves pedestrians walking in the street with traffic, garbage and recycling cans, plus piles of yard debris waiting for collection.
Finally, sidewalks are much safer for pedestrians than walking in the road. In December there were two separate motor vehicle collisions with Princeton Regional School students on Moore Street. One put a 12-year-old girl in a coma. She is still in the hospital. Luckily, doctors were able to save her crushed leg. There are over 40,000 highway fatalities in the United States each year. More than 5,000 of them are pedestrians and 800 are bicyclists. Of the approximately 100,000 pedestrian injuries reported each year, six percent are fatal and 62 percent more are severe or moderate.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's January 2004 "Review of Pedestrian Safety Research in the U.S. and Abroad" says, "As to the fatal category, the greatest risk is 'walking along the roadway' (13.3 percent versus 6.1 percent fatal overall)." Furthermore, 60 percent of all pedestrian crashes in urban areas do not occur at intersections. In other words, more than 750 people a year, or almost 2 percent of total traffic fatalities, are of pedestrians walking along the side of the road. There is no category, however, for pedestrian deaths on sidewalks.
While just three percent of all trips to work (which is about 40 percent in Princeton Borough, the highest in New Jersey) and six percent of all trips are made by foot power, 13 percent of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and bicyclists. Yet only one percent of transportation spending is devoted to this group.
A pedestrian friendly public policy in Princeton would include not only sidewalks on both sides of Snowden Lane, but well lit crosswalks and benches at every bus stop. Wider, better maintained, obstacle free sidewalks, biking, pedestrian, and jogging corridors parallel to but separated from Routes 206, 27, and the Princeton Pike, plus bicycle parking facilities, are essential for creating alternatives to car use.
Providing opportunities for walking and cycling would save money, reduce traffic, benefit the environment, improve people's health, and help them lose weight. Traffic jams and air pollution are no accident. People will not get out of their cars unless they can do so safely. Sidewalks on Snowden Lane are an urgent public necessity.
To the Editor:
Recently, the members of Not In Our Town, an interfaith, anti-bias Princeton coalition, reflected on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last sermon before his death, Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution. In this sermon, delivered at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on March 31, 1968, Dr. King wove together the three major concerns of his life's work racism, poverty, and war. Those issues may look different in detail today but in essence they are the same nearly 40 years on.
When he gave this sermon, Dr. King was preparing for the Poor People's Campaign, so he brought to it a heightened awareness of the needs of real people he had met on the streets of India and in the overpriced slums of Newark. He spoke of the sin not of being wealthy but of being blind to the poor, and of the arrogance that often comes with the power of wealth. And he mourned the cost of war, in lives lost and resources wasted.
He called for the hard work of community. "No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution," he said. "The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood."
The seeking of justice and peace for the peoples of our small planet is our responsibility now. Signing for Not In Our Town members,
To the Editor:
I realize that everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten, or perhaps Littlebrook School. A fine school it is, but perhaps it should educate some parents as well. Last week, upon visiting my elderly parents, I viewed a note that was anonymously placed in their mailbox by a Littlebrook School parent. The note admonished my parents for neglecting to shovel their sidewalk, which in turn put elementary students at risk.
To add insult to injury, this person called the police who therefore came to query my parents. The undue stress that this placed upon 85- and 90-year olds was debilitating.
Understandable as it may be that the sidewalk needs to be shoveled for the safety of all, this person failed to learn what his or her children are being taught in school. "Be kind to your neighbors." "Be respectful." And "We are community."
A simple knock on the door of my parents' home inquiring about the matter would have satisfied this person's frustration with a simple explanation.
What happened to kindness, courtesy, and community? Have we forgotten all that we learned in kindergarten?
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