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Township Addresses Muddled Parking On Linden Lane; Restrictions Proposed

Matthew Hersh

Princeton Township Committee targeted parking along Linden Lane with the introduction of an ordinance that would set new restrictions between Franklin and Guyot avenues in Princeton Township. Township officials hope the measure will alleviate parking and traffic conditions on that stretch of the narrow throughway.

The ordinance would create two-hour parking on the Harrison Street side of Linden Lane between the Princeton Borough line (approximately Franklin Avenue) and Henry Avenue.

Additionally, the opposite side of Linden Lane would prohibit parking altogether between Franklin and Guyot avenues.

A public hearing for the ordinance is scheduled for February 23.

Township Engineer Robert Kiser said the move to restrict parking was spawned by several meetings with residents of the neighborhood and emergency service concerns. Other factors, however, are at play in the matter.

"There has been a problem with Westminster Choir College students and [other drivers] parking along Linden Lane for days and weeks on end," he said.

Peter Dougherty, of Linden Lane, said that his street's proximity to the Borough raises issues that should be tackled by both municipalities.

Linden Lane, which runs through portions of both the Township and the Borough, has different parking restrictions depending on the municipality. Mr. Kiser said that because the Borough prohibits street parking between 2 and 6 a.m., Borough residents of Linden Lane drive into the Township to park, thus decreasing availability for Township residents.

"Borough drivers tend to concentrate their cars [near the Borough line], and that's the source of the problem," Mr. Kiser said.

However, imposing a two-hour restriction on parking should "eliminate the situation of that long-term parking that is occurring and creating problems for residents in the area," he added.

"Extensive discussions" came out of several Township Traffic Safety Committee meetings in which residents and municipal officials attempted to find solutions to the "bottleneck" effect along Linden Lane.

The initial proposal was to restrict parking on the roadway to two-hour parking between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the Harrison Street side of Linden Lane from Franklin to Guyot, however, committeewoman Casey Hegener objected to that particular plan. She said requiring drivers to move their cars every two hours throughout the day may exacerbate already dismal parking conditions for high school students.

Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand disagreed, saying the area in question is "remote" in terms of Princeton High School and that students do not typically park there.

In other business, it looks as though Princeton Township may be due for another liquor store.

A jump in Township population since the 1990 census qualifies the Township to sell one more liquor license that sells packaged goods only, according to Township Attorney Edwin Schmierer.

He said that the population had increased by more than 7,500 since the last license was sold. One license is permitted for every 7,500 residents according to state statutes.

Princeton Township population, which now nears 17,000, has increased steadily since the 1990 census which put the town at 13,198.

Mr. Schmierer said a new license will be sold to the highest bidder. The attorney could not offer specific dollar amounts concerning the value of the license, but he said similar establishments in West Windsor have been sold for more than $500,000. Mr. Schmierer is also attorney for the West Windsor Township Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The West Windsor establishment to which Mr. Schmierer referred, Princeton High Spirits, is also a restaurant, which requires a consumption licence, hence an elevated license cost.

A licence will bring at least a "couple hundred" thousand dollars of general revenue for the Township, Mr. Schmierer added. "It's a source of income for the community."

The Township currently holds 10 licenses. Five are for restaurants and bars, and four are reserved for clubs. The new license, or a distribution license, will be used for an establishment like Claridge Wine and Liquor at the Princeton Shopping Center, the attorney said.

Will finding a business owner be a daunting task? Probably not, according to Mr. Schmierer.

"Having a license in the Township is probably a very desirable thing, so I suspect prospective business owners will be in touch," he said.

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