IRENE H. WHITE
To the Editor:
This is about the need for a Paul Robeson Center downtown on the corner of Witherspoon Street and Hamilton Avenue, and not the needs of the Arts Council, which now occupies this building and wishes to expand there instead of going elsewhere. The Arts Council's proposal will come before the Princeton Regional Planning Board on Thursday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Princeton Township Municipal Complex.
I do not believe that the Arts Council should ever have moved into the "old YMCA" in the first place. This building on Witherspoon Street should have been, and should now be, a "corner-entry" to the Witherspoon neighborhood; and it should have been, and even now should be, for primary use by the residents of that neighborhood, mostly on a walk-in basis. It also graces the corner opposite the Princeton Cemetery, a venerable institution in our town since 1757; and it is only a long block away from Dorothea's House on John Street, which has been, since 1914, the center for Italian culture in our town.
This building should have been deeded, leased, or sold somehow to the Witherspoon neighborhood when the "Y" moved down the street to the corner of Paul Robeson Place and Bayard Lane. The Witherspoon neighborhood becomes more and more crowded every year, and because this neighborhood has increasingly become a very economical and accessible part of town, it also is under continual siege from "outside interests." I, for one, don't believe that we want to lose any more of its heritage and charm, and its residents and their property, to "outside interests." The Witherspoon neighborhood, and its residents, are an integral and important part of our town.
The Arts Council, with its new plans, should perhaps go elsewhere maybe to the northern side of the Shopping Center. Along with a move, it could possibly become an integral part of the Township's hoped-for Library Branch and Community Center, all of which could serve our school children and seniors, walking or biking to and from that part of town.
Those who have concerns regarding this application should plan to attend the June 17 meeting, and voice their opinions there.
To The Editor:
I served on the Neighborhood Advisory Committee of the Arts Council a few years ago and was involved, along with other hard-working neighborhood friends, in the successful celebration of Paul Robeson's birthday. One of the requests from the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association is that the Arts Council building be named "The Paul Robeson Center for the Arts." What better way to honor and preserve the name of a Princetonian who was born in the house on the corner of Witherspoon and Green Streets right next to the Arts Council building, and who became a world-renowned actor, singer, and activist?
To the Editor:
Bugs do Reunions, too.
The 17-year cicadas are doing Princeton Reunions. Look, they are black and orange and have red eyes. They're perfectly equipped for it. And it's party, party, party till they die, in the meantime making lots of noise. People are even calling the police, but finding that insects do not obey positive law; they only obey natural laws. But if you listen carefully, you can discern what they are saying among all the "buzz":
Bug one: "Hey, man, haven't seen you in 17 years!"
I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but I see a strong correlation between the number of cicadas and the number of academics and think tanks in the area. Just check the area around IAS for cicada choruses. National cicada sites are citing Princeton as the place to be.
Someone (George Fox) trying to get into the psyche of a cicada has composed a rock song, at www.f2sys.net/brood-x.
Magicicada are so tame and naïve you can pet them, even though they are now getting pretty desperate to find buggy-love. Years ago, Japanese poets complained about the loudness of these critters. If you're tempted to complain, just try to get to know some, because soon they will all be gone; the electronic buzzing, the clicking, and the spaceship-hovering sounds will be gone, too. And while outsiders to our emergent epicenter are getting "cicada envy," it won't be long before another Princeton tradition will pass into memory for almost two more decades. However, I expect the human alumni will be back in a year for more black and orange reunions. We just won't have these docile but vocal bugs adding to the festivities.
To the Editor:
Recently there was a cinema review by Kam Williams (Town Topics, April 28) of the Oscar-nominated documentary, My Architect: A Son's Journey. The film is about the gifted architect, Louis I. Kahn, and was made by his son Nathaniel Kahn. The reviewer discusses the unusual family background and names some of Kahn's distinguished works.
Surprisingly, no mention was made of one of his most important creations located in our own environs. This is the Trenton Bath House in Ewing. It was built in 1955 to serve the outdoor pool of the Jewish Community Center. It marked a turning point in Mr. Kahn's career and the start of his own unique architectural style. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it has deteriorated and needs renovation, but still is a tourist attraction, although its future is somewhat uncertain. The reviewer evaluated the film as very good. An added incentive for local people to see it might well be the Bath House which is featured in it and plays a significant part in the story.
To the Editor:
As Emily Mann, Artistic Director of McCarter Theatre, eloquently stated on May 12, "Partnerships are so important to a community."
Partnerships certainly were thriving that night, at the fourth annual YWCA Princeton Evening at McCarter Theatre. We would like to acknowledge all those who made our fund-raiser a huge success, enabling the YWCA to continue to provide early education for children of non-English speaking and limited-income families in our community. Numerous sponsors, dedicated volunteers, and YW donors all made it a priority to help these children who attend the YW's Child Care Center at the Valley Road School, most of whom receive financial assistance.
Those who deserve special thanks are Covance, Inc.; Carlo Momo and Mediterra Restaurant; John Davison and Hannah & Mason's Restaurant of Cranbury; Jim McCaffrey and McCaffrey's Wine & Spirits of West Windsor; Andrea Taylor and Starbucks Coffee Co. of Princeton, MarketFair and Mercer Mall; Steve Romito and the Flower Station of Princeton; Sandy Mironov at Towne Wine & Liquor of Montgomery; Katie DeTurk and Wild Oats Natural Marketplace of Princeton; Bill Preston and AAA Mid-Atlantic Region; Sandra King and Sandra's Hat Box of Trenton; Michael Rothwell and Pennington Quality Market; Toys "R" Us of Lawrenceville; Tasha O'Neill Photography; and Suzanne McCroskey and MSM Graphics.
In a time where people's schedules are more hectic than ever,
it is so nice to live in the greater Princeton area where people
and businesses come
To the Editor:
The notion of hindsight and finger pointing will not solve Princeton Township's road mess. Suffice if to say, we residents are being held hostage by Township Committee misadventures.
As we see residential property taxes increase on the average by 9.6 percent over last year's taxes to support the 2004 budget of $30.23 million, we have to wonder how long this can go on.
I aim to stem the frivolous spending and I want to be the voters' "spending watchdog." There comes a time when someone has to be brave enough to just say NO. I am that someone.
IRENE H. WHITE
To the Editor:
I lived in Princeton from 1972 to 1990. I remember well the fight to keep I-95 from continuing through the Pennington area. "Prime farmland," shouted the opponents. Then Elm Ridge Park was built and some of the prime farmland was paved over. It never occurred to Princetonians and other opponents that Route 206 would necessarily carry much of the traffic meant to be channeled to I-95.
But Princetonians tend not to view other areas as important as Princeton. I, too, was guilty of this myopia and selfishness.
I have now lived in South Brunswick for 14 years and see the road problems with a very different point of view. Route 92 really isn't needed by anyone except the Turnpike Authority and Forrestal. It will pave over wetlands (which most green Princetonians value), and dump a lot of cars onto Route 1 around Ridge Road. Where will these cars go then?
To the Editor:
I'm writing in opposition to the proposed Route 92, as currently planned by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. My letter is in response to the letter (Town Topics, May 26) signed by five local area mayors.
Rarely have I seen a more biased, single-sided and self-serving letter than that written by the Mayors of Princeton Borough, Princeton Township, Plainsboro, West Windsor and Hightstown Borough. One wonders, did they attend the Army Corps of Engineers' meeting on May 20? Did they listen to some of the objections raised by local residents, and other townships' officials?
It's no wonder the mayors of Princeton Borough, Princeton Township, Plainsboro, West Windsor and Hightstown are in favor of the Route 92 proposal as it bypasses their areas, while serving to reward them for the path they chose, of the planned expansion (i.e., rateables) they've overseen in their own towns for years. Route 92 would be at the expense of surrounding communities. This is NIMBY at its worst.
The concept of people of one community shouldering a burden for the common good is well understood. However, the surrounding townships such as South Brunswick should not be asked to bear burdens largely of the making of neighboring towns, from which they will uniquely benefit, while the likes of Kingston, for example, suffer increasing amounts of traffic going through our central village areas.
As for Route 92, I offer a quote from William Vickrey, New York traffic commissioner in the era of Robert Moses, who said, "We thought we were making more room for cars... but made room for more cars." In other words, Route 92 holds the promise to eventually make things even worse.
Look at the expense, too: a current estimate of $400 million for a 6.7 mile roadway. I make reference to a May 20 New York Times report, "Does Highway Spending Really Pay Off?", in which a number of studies acknowledged such highway spending does not pay a decent rate of return. At the estimated costs, the proposed toll (yes, this is to be a toll road) of $3.50 (over 50 cents per mile) likely won't even be able to cover the eventual debt load. Who will pay then? You and me, from our already overburdened New Jersey State Highway Funds.
Oh, and the trucks that one presumes will use Route 92? Are those the same trucks that already avoid the expense of using the New Jersey Turnpike?
Come on. Take a fair look at the proposed Route 92. It is already full of proverbial potholes.
To the Editor:
There are several fallacies in the letter from the Mayors of Princeton Township, Princeton Borough, Plainsboro, Hightstown, and West Windsor that need clarification.
First of all, there is no current or future plan to widen Route 522 to 6 lanes. There is a plan to extend Route 522 to Route 535, which will give traffic a free east-west roadway from Route 27 to Route 535 and the New Jersey Turnpike. The final segment (Route 130 to Route 535), due to be completed within a year, will make Route 92 a redundant roadway and was not considered in any of the so-called credible traffic studies cited in the Mayors' letter. Route 522 will not only help those needing access to the Turnpike but will be useful to local residents as well.
Second, the aforementioned traffic studies are biased, as they were paid for or contracted by the Turnpike or the State of New Jersey. The Army Corps of Engineers, amazingly, used these old studies in their DEIS. Additionally, the subcontractors that the Army Corps used should have been disqualified as they have done work for the Turnpike in the recent past and have a conflict of interest.
Third, the traffic studies, flawed as they are and skewed as they are in favor of the Turnpike, show that traffic on local roads will not improve (the same number of intersections fail after Route 92 is constructed as before). Traffic on Route 1 south of the proposed intersection near the current intersection of Ridge Road and Route 1 will see an increase in traffic, according to these studies.
Fourth, this project will not make our region more "livable," as these Mayors have written. It will bring additional traffic and additional sprawl and development as Forrestal Center lures more industry to the region.
Finally, fifth, I fail to see how the development that has gone on in Princeton Township, Princeton Borough, Plainsboro, Hightstown, and West Windsor is "smart growth." These towns have counted on a phantom roadway for decades to plan their residential and commercial development. That is not smart.
I would suggest a round table discussion with a professional leader be set up with input from local residents, local and regional planners as well as the Mayors of towns affected. This was done with the Penns Neck project and would work well with this one.
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