Township Targets High School Parking; Hopes to Curb Resident, Driver Headaches
An on-going problem for residents and drivers around the Princeton High School neighborhood was addressed last night as Township Committee unanimously approved an ordinance that specifically targets the parking enigma in that area.
For years, the neighborhood residents and student drivers have been stymied by a lack of student parking at the high school and tight street parking conditions on neighboring streets. Residents have been particularly bothered by trash and other debris discarded around the neighborhood, presumably by students while on their lunch breaks.
After a discussion with residents and Township police regarding a set of short-term solutions put forth by an ad hoc group organized to address parking problems at the school, Committee opted to introduce an ordinance that works to alleviate the gridlocked conditions during school hours and improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents.
Princeton Borough introduced a similar ordinance for its parking jurisdiction last night at Borough Council.
In May, the same ad hoc parking group appeared before Committee to offer the findings of its research. Those findings would later be the foundation of an ordinance, that if passed, would require those students who drive to the high school to enlist in a permit program. According to Township Administrator James Pascale, this would virtually assure all students a space in the neighborhood during school hours.
While School Board President Anne Burn said in May that her board was seeking a "zero dollar" solution to the problem, if the plans is approved, the school board will have to pay the Township $10 per permit and subsequently sell the permits for an as-yet-undermined price to students. The students will then enroll in a lottery for parking permit acquisition.
The permits will come in the form of decals, that will adhere to the inside of a car window.
While there is a fee attached to the student permits, residents who live in neighborhood and wish to park in the street will be able to acquire residential permits free of charge. Residents will also be required to issue visitors with guest parking placards that hang on the rearview mirror. Guest placards will also be free for residents.
Additionally, the school board will purchase seven guest placards at $10 each for school visitors.
If approved, the Township ordinance will set parking restrictions on the east side of Harris Road from Henry Avenue to the Borough line; the south side of Henry Avenue from Moore Street to Harris Road; the east side of Jefferson Road from the Borough line to Guyot Avenue; the east side of Linden Lane from Henry Avenue to the Borough line; and the west side of Moore Street from the Borough line to Guyot Avenue. Times of enforcement for all roads will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
After the initial proposal in May, Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand worried that monitoring parking decals and placards in the school neighborhood would prove to be onerous for Township police, but she since concedes that the plan appears to be a "pretty good solution."
Township Patrolman Jeff Maurer was also pleased with the outcome of the proposal. He had worked with the ad hoc parking committee, residents, and students in arriving at a "doable" remedy.
"Right now, I feel that this is a very workable, safe, solution to the parking problems," he said. The school board is still seeking a nod from its faculty, but expects to receive an endorsement shortly.
There will be a public hearing on the high school parking ordinance at Committee's August 16 meeting.