Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 28
 
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

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Weichert, Realtors



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Weather Forecast


Questions Continue to Slow Phase II

Dilshanie Perera

The impending closing of the Tulane Street parking lot as part of Phase II of the downtown redevelopment plan sparked concern among residents, merchants, and Council members last Tuesday.

Henry Landau, co-owner of Landau on Nassau Street, expressed disapproval that a meeting for merchants had not been scheduled until July 9, two days after the proposed July 7 start date of the construction. At Town Topics press time, construction had not begun and the lot was still open.

Worrying that access to stores would be blocked by construction trailers, Mr. Landau requested more specific details regarding the project.

Robert Bruschi, Borough Administrator, assured Council members that private access to apartment and retail parking would continue, though public access would be limited. He noted that the first part of construction would close the main parking lot at the corner of Tulane and Spring Streets. The second would see the closure of the smaller lot behind Landau and the Running Company. The parking spaces adjacent to McLaughlin’s will also be closed.

Building C is a proposed five-story mixed-use building that will occupy the site of the Tulane Street parking lot. Comprised mainly of one and two-bedroom units, it will also house a grocery store on the ground floor. The Borough Council’s vote on June 10 approved of the estoppel agreements that allowed Phase II to commence.

Council members David Goldfarb and Kevin Wilkes spoke of their concerns regarding the plan. Asking whether the developer, NHKT, would pay the Borough for parking revenue lost as a result of the closure, Mr. Goldfarb expressed skepticism when told by Mr. Bruschi that the “parkers would revert to the garage.” He underscored his statement, saying that “when public meters are taken out of service to accommodate the needs of a developer, we must be compensated.”

Mr. Wilkes stated that the plan looked “a little crude” in terms of incorporating adequate pedestrian safety measures. Attempting to allay fears, Mr. Bruschi responded that the safety of pedestrians was a key issue specifically discussed in planning meetings. He added that crosswalks and walkways will be incorporated on site.

Noting that the plan allows for a 12-foot-wide roadway behind Building C, Mr. Landau expressed concern that the width would be insufficient for two emergency services vehicles to pass through. He requested that a cut-out be made in the sidewalk to widen the road to at least 16 feet.

Mayor Mildred Trotman noted that the Regional Planning Board had accepted the plan, and that she would follow up on Mr. Landau’s query.

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