Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 12
 
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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Weekend Storm’s Power Outage Showed Caring Nature of Elm Court Residents

RHONA PORTER, M.S.W.
Elm Court

Improvements in Dinky Train Service Are Preferable to Bus Rapid Transit

WILLIAM S. (BILL) MOODY
Jefferson Road

Retired PHS Teacher Answers Question, “What Things Make Princeton Special?”

WILLIAM ROUFBERG
Retired PHS history teacher
Kendall Park


Weekend Storm’s Power Outage Showed Caring Nature of Elm Court Residents

To the Editor:

Last weekend’s weather was truly amazing. But sometimes in the midst of storms, rays of sunshine come through. Let me describe the wonderful sense of community that occurred at Elm Court this past Saturday. It truly was the sun shining brightly on a very turbulent landscape.

As did most of Princeton, Elm Court lost power late Saturday afternoon. Apartments were dark but Elm Court has an auxiliary generator which powers our large Community Room. The lights were on there. The electrical outlets worked for anyone who needed to plug in an oxygen tank or a laptop computer. A group of about 15 residents wended their way down the dimly lit corridors to the Community Room. There, people entertained one another. They played music, did jigsaw puzzles, talked. One resident told me he had a ball.

The best part of the story is yet to come. An energetic, caring 91 year old resident (who wishes to remain anonymous) realized that no one had eaten dinner. Remembering that she had a freezer full of ten TV dinners she went back to her apartment to get them. She then came back to the Community Room, plugged in a microwave oven, and fed anyone who wanted something to eat. Talk about resourcefulness; talk about compassion!

Elm Court is subsidized senior housing with a heart. People care about one another at this amazing site. They help each other.

RHONA PORTER, M.S.W.
Elm Court

Improvements in Dinky Train Service Are Preferable to Bus Rapid Transit

To the Editor:

Do we understand how important the Dinky is for lots of people in the greater Princeton community? When Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) comes up nowadays, the Dinky is accused of being old fashioned, which makes me sad. How many people recall what happened to the Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York City in the 1960s? Before enough people focused on the occasional news stories about replacing that historic asset, Penn Station was gone forever.

What is clear to me is that the Dinky works. It is not perfect, and it could be better, but it works pretty well.

The Dinky provides fast service — five minutes — for thousands of people each week between Princeton and Princeton Junction. It offers a comfortable journey; it does not compete with vehicles for space on Princeton’s crowded roadways; and, compared to buses, it adds hardly any emissions to the atmosphere.

I do not see how many basic BRT concepts apply to Princeton — and certainly not at the expense of the Dinky train. For starters, we do not have and probably could not have dedicated lanes for buses on our streets and roads. I am beginning to wonder whether BRT talk simply means new buses replacing existing buses on already crowded roadways. The only dedicated right-of-way for BRT in or near the town center would result from dismantling the Dinky railroad tracks and supplanting the Dinky train itself, at great expense.

We should avoid the mistakes New Yorkers made in the 1960s when Penn Station was destroyed and replaced. Now, as we are trying to recapture our heritage, including the restoration of rail services, I hope our community will value what we have in the Dinky train, an icon in the daily life of so many people in the greater Princeton area. Let’s make the Dinky even better in the years ahead.

WILLIAM S. (BILL) MOODY
Jefferson Road

Retired PHS Teacher Answers Question, “What Things Make Princeton Special?”

To the Editor:

Last week in Town Talk, six people responded most favorably to the question, “What are some of the things that make Princeton so special?”

Had I been asked, I would say that Princeton is unique among all other towns in the U.S. Consider: Princeton University and its art museum, Princeton Graduate College, Princeton Theological Seminary, the Institute of Advanced Study, Westminster Choir College, Educational Testing Service, the Public Library, McCarter Theater, an historic cemetery, a great hospital, and a variety of restaurants. What other small town of 16 square miles has as much?

WILLIAM ROUFBERG
Retired PHS history teacher
Kendall Park

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