Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 23
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

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N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

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Engineering Departments Installing New “Shared Lane” Markings This Summer

Yan Bennett, Laurie Harmon, Steve Kruse (Borough)
David Cohen, Betsy Marshall (Township)
Janet Heroux (Township and Committee Chair)
Patti Lieberman (Princeton Regional Schools)
Jenny Crumiller (Liaison to Borough Council)
Liz Lempert (Liaison to Township Committee)

Further Evidence From BYOB Campaign On Need to Reduce Use of Plastic Bags

Daniel A. Harris
Dodds Lane

Trustees Describe Plans for Proposed Valley Road School Community Center

Kip Cherry, Dempsey Avenue
Chuck Creesy, Dorann Avenue
Claire Jacobus, Cleveland Lane
Dick Woodbridge, Prospect Avenue

This Is the Season Drivers Should Be Alert to Baby Deer Crossing the Roads

Kathyrn Trenner
Nassau Street

Township Police Department Should Hire Only Experienced Police Officers

Ethan C. Finley
Princeton Community Village

Residents Should Appreciate the Job Mark Johnson Does 365 Days a Year

Barry Goldblatt
Andrews Lane


Engineering Departments Installing New “Shared Lane” Markings This Summer

To the Editor:

We would like to inform readers about new “shared lane markings” (also known as “sharrows”) that the municipal engineering departments plan to install in summer 2011 along parts of Harrison, Hamilton/Wiggins, and Witherspoon streets. The purpose is to make it easier and more comfortable for cyclists and drivers to “share the road” along these busy and narrow streets — too narrow for separate bike lanes.

The markings, pictured here, depict a bicycle with directional arrows, are applied to the roadway pavement, and are highly visible to drivers.

Mercer County and the NJDOT have also committed to installing shared lane markings on key sections of roads over which they have jurisdiction — including parts of Nassau Street, in-town.

We wish to acknowledge the considerable efforts that our municipal engineers have dedicated to this important undertaking, and the seriousness with which our elected officials have approached improving the safety of the many bicyclists in our community.

Members of the Princeton Joint Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee

Yan Bennett, Laurie Harmon, Steve Kruse (Borough)
David Cohen, Betsy Marshall (Township)
Janet Heroux (Township and Committee Chair)
Patti Lieberman (Princeton Regional Schools)
Jenny Crumiller (Liaison to Borough Council)
Liz Lempert (Liaison to Township Committee)

Further Evidence From BYOB Campaign On Need to Reduce Use of Plastic Bags

To the Editor:

The BYOBag campaign (Bring Your Own Bag) recently featured in Town Topics (June 1, 2011) reminds all of us of the high price we pay for environmental negligence. Here is some further information to help make us shift entirely to reusable cloth or plastic bags — and to banish single-use bags from our lives as much as possible.

• The average American American uses 500 single-use plastic bags per year, equivalent to 12 million barrels of oil per year. Who can afford this cost?

• Each person thus “consumes” 125 lbs. of carbon dioxide a year and/or $24, from source-point of oil drilling to our discards, but not including costs incurred by carting plastics to a landfill, expenses for gas, or long-term management of the landfill and/or designations of new landfill areas in an already crowded and degraded environment). (Source: Arcata Project, sec. 1.1.2, “Bag Science,” see www.appropedia.org/Arcata_Plastic_Bags; see also State of Florida DEP Retail Bags Report, 2/1/2010; City of Aspen, Col, “Paper, Plastic or Reusable,” February 2009.)

• For the Princeton community (pop. approximately 30,000), we consume 3,750,000 lbs. pounds of carbon dioxide annually — without paying for carbon offsets.

• Plastic bags take 400-plus years to degrade. They clog our municipal drainage, pose hazards to people using machinery in which plastic is caught.

• Plastic bags endanger both aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. The five plastic “gyres” in the Pacific Ocean alone span more territory than the entire United States.

• Paper bags are 40 percent more expensive to produce than plastic bags and consume more landfill than plastic bags (by 80 percent). They ruin our forests, cause erosion, flooding, and loss of carbon sequestration; they destroy habitat for flora and fauna alike. For the production of carbon and greenhouse gasses in the manufacture of paper bags, each household (3.8 people) consumes — or permits to be emitted — about 80 pounds of CO2 per year. Paper bags will biodegrade only in natural environments with air and sunlight; in an inappropriate landfill, they are simply more waste. What community has space or money to purchase land for proper biodegradability?

If we haven’t done so already, we really must change our habits. We must all work to restrict our diet of single-use plastic and paper bags. Please join the BYOBag campaign and urge your neighbors to do so also. More than 25 local businesses have joined in this effort to help us all: we expect everyone to participate. Please bring your reusable bag.

Daniel A. Harris
Dodds Lane

Trustees Describe Plans for Proposed Valley Road School Community Center

Princeton Regional Schools will soon decide the fate of the old Valley Road School building on Witherspoon Street. Thousands of local residents were educated in its classrooms, which were the first to be integrated in Princeton. Our group, the Valley Road School Community Center, Inc. (VRSCCI) is a nonprofit entity managed by volunteers who care about adapting Valley Road School to a new use and propose to save and improve the building to maximize benefits to the community at little or no cost to the taxpayer. Our plan preserves a historic building that is a keystone of the cultural corridor along Witherspoon Street and would provide badly needed facilities for nonprofit organizations that serve the Princeton community.

Seeking a long-term lease with the Princeton Regional School District, VRSCCI will focus on nonprofit tenants that provide needed services to Princeton residents and include education as a part of their mission. We intend to operate the building cost effectively and to provide tenants with affordable rents. The environmentally sustainable building will offer three types of spaces for community needs — long term leases, shared areas, and short term rentals such as conference rooms and theater spaces. Income will cover operation and maintenance with a small portion for renovation costs. We plan to raise most of the cost through donations so that tenants will not be saddled with them.

Renovation will be in stages, beginning with immediate needs. Future phases, as we raise additional funds, include more extensive repairs of the roof, window systems, and other necessary items, an elevator, and “green” features. Preservation itself is a “green” feature since the greenest building is the one that’s already there — in view of the cost of demolition and constructing a new structure.

We have already received considerable interest from potential tenants in the form of nonprofit organizations eager to see the Community Center move forward and to be a part of this new chapter in the life of Princeton. Support from the School Board, Township Committee, Borough Council, and the community will allow us to engage volunteers, vendors, and contractors to make necessary initial renovations and undertake cleanup to make spaces usable. Approval of our plan will allow VRSCCI to raise funds to make the most urgent repairs to the exterior and to install a heating system by November, so that the building can be occupied continuously and is protected from further deterioration.

We appreciate the cooperation of the Princeton Regional Schools and the Board of Education during the past year as we prepared our proposal. We look forward to continued engagement with them and the community as options for the Valley Road property are being considered.

Please visit our website, www.savevalleyroadschool.org, for more information, to sign our petition, to make a donation, and to watch a video about saving the building and our vision for its future.

Kip Cherry, Dempsey Avenue
Chuck Creesy, Dorann Avenue
Claire Jacobus, Cleveland Lane
Dick Woodbridge, Prospect Avenue

This Is the Season Drivers Should Be Alert to Baby Deer Crossing the Roads

To the Editor:

Baby deer are being born right now and inexperienced mothers will be crossing roads with their inexperienced young. The signs which indicate areas of many deer accidents should say “Deer Crossing” because deer have their patterns of travel and usually cross one way in the morning and cross back again in the evening. Please drive especially slowly and alertly while the fawns are learning about the world. Share the habitat.

Kathyrn Trenner
Nassau Street

Township Police Department Should Hire Only Experienced Police Officers

To the Editor:

The Princeton Township Police Department is short three officers. Momentarily those positions will be filled. It is my very strong opinion that the Princeton Township government should only hire new officers who have had experience as police officers. If anyone who reads this letter agrees with me, I urge them to contact members of Princeton Township Committee.

Ethan C. Finley
Princeton Community Village

Residents Should Appreciate the Job Mark Johnson Does 365 Days a Year

To the Editor:

With all the recent Mark Johnson “bashing” over one “questionable” incident, I think the residents of both Princetons should take inventory of what he does for all of us 365 days, year after year. As a “shared” Township/Borough “team of one,” his attitude represents what few other of our municipal employees demonstrate — tireless, knowledgeable, responsive action — and speaking personally, with foxes in my neighborhood. One would hope that the potential Township/Borough consolidation would result in others adopting such behavior.

Barry Goldblatt
Andrews Lane

For information on how to submit Letters to the Editor, click here.

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