Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 22
 
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
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University Is Asked to Rethink Plan for Relocating Dinky Train Station

(2 letters)

Sponsors, Patrons, Donors Thanked for Successful HiTOPS Fund-Raiser

LORI HENINGER, Ph.D.
HiTOPS Executive Director

Awaiting June 5 Democratic Primary, Voters Speak on Trotman-Pimley Race

(3 letters)

Letter Carriers Thanked by Food Bank for Assisting Stamp Out Hunger Drive

PHYLLIS C. STOOLMACHER
Director, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank


University Is Asked to Rethink Plan for Relocating Dinky Train Station

To the Editor:

Recently, Princeton University has unveiled revised designs for their proposed University Arts Neighborhood, which, after much community input, they now have decided to describe as an "arts and transit neighborhood."

But other than coming up with a new name, the University has changed little about the plan. In all substantial respects, it is as originally proposed: they intend to move the Dinky further away from downtown, construct up to seven new buildings, move the Wawa, and replace the traffic signal at the intersection of University and Alexander with a roundabout.

In proposing to relocate the Dinky station, the University says that they believe they are moving the Dinky a modest amount. What the University fails to understand is that for many commuters who walk to the Dinky, the station is already at the outer periphery of a reasonable walking distance. It takes me, a young adult in good health, more than 20 minutes to walk to the Dinky from my home on Spruce Street on a nice day. Moving the station away from downtown could compel many commuters to take to their cars, compounding already snarled traffic. The station should remain where it is.

The University claims that their plan will address the severe traffic flow problems that currently plague the Dinky station area. But their new plan creates many more choke points: new intersections, new pedestrian crosswalks, and many new entrances and exits. The new buildings they propose for the area will likely see intensive use, adding considerably to traffic. The University seems to be relying on one little roundabout at the University/Alexander intersection to improve the traffic flow generated by all these changes. We should demand that the University's plan be subjected to rigorous study by experts to determine what the impact on one of our community's major arteries will be.

In my view, the University Arts Neighborhood hearkens back to the Le Corbusier-inspired urban planning of the 1950s and 1960s, where neighborhood buildings are cleared away to create vast new plazas surrounded big new buildings, with automobiles given priority in all circumstances, and public transit minimized. This kind of planning is discredited now, and for good reason. We need to challenge the University to be creative, and design a real arts and transit neighborhood, rather than one that is an Arts and Transit Neighborhood in name only.

ANDREW KOONTZ
Spruce Street

To the Editor:

The University's plan to relocate the Dinky train station is simply continuing a long-standing trend in the wrong direction. Showing little respect for the elegant accessibility that it offers, it's been an easy call for University planners to simply usurp the Dinky's assets whenever there was a need for new land. People can simply drive a little farther, plus the extra 500 feet will be good for the walkers.

Originally located at the base of Blair Arch, it was a simple call in the 1920s to seize some of the Dinky's land to build new dorms and move it to its current location. Of course, the Dinky can move again; it's for the Arts! Some have even suggested that the terminus be moved all the way to Faculty Road where everyone can simply drive to it, or, better yet, let's just bring on Bus Rapid Transit and we can get rid of the Dinky once and for all. Is there really such little concern about our climate problems, oil dependency, and addiction to the automobile?

A more responsible approach would be to realize that the Dinky, not the automobile, is central to Princeton's future. A visionary plan would have proposed extending the Dinky to an underground terminus at Palmer Square with a new station serving the Arts Complex and even a new third station located at the Route 1 crossing, serving a park-and-ride facility. Conversion to an automated operation, as exists at every major airport around the world, would offer frequent on-demand service at all times. There would be no need to drive to Princeton from the north, east or south. Nor would there be a need to build more parking facilities on campus. Everyone in Princeton Borough could walk to the Dinky.

Expensive? Not really. What is truly expensive is our dependency on oil, our addiction to the automobile, and the cleanup of the environmental mess that we've created.

ALAIN L. KORNHAUSER
Montadale Circle

Sponsors, Patrons, Donors Thanked for Successful HiTOPS Fund-Raiser

To the Editor:

I am writing to say thank you to everyone who helped make HiTOPS Gala, "Reflections," a huge success. Our event celebrated not only HiTOPS but also HiTOPS' vision, a world where youth have the resources they need to live healthy, responsible lives.

On Friday, April 27, HiTOPS hosted our 20th Anniversary Guardian Award Gala honoring HiTOPS Founder Bonnie Parker and youth honoree Erin Kenny. Over 200 attendees reflected on what HiTOPS meant to them, learned about HiTOPS goals and plans for the future, and danced the night away.

The event would not have been possible without the tremendous support of our supporters and sponsors. Event benefactors included Church & Dwight Co. Inc., IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and Monomoy Capital Partners, L.P. Event patrons included Cooper Levenson, Attorneys at Law, and Delaware Valley OBGYN & Infertility Group PC.

HiTOPS clearly owes a big thank you to all involved with the event. First and foremost, we'd like to recognize our inspirational gala co-chairs: Jenner Beck, Lisa D. Fischetti, and Lesli Godfrey. Under their leadership the evening soared. We are also grateful to all of our committee members, attendees, additional corporate sponsors, and in-kind donors. So many played people played a part and it made a huge difference.

Our celebration thanked many current supporters, reflected on the past two decades of HiTOPS and helped guests envision a bright future for the organization.

And, though the gala may be over, we are still celebrating. For those who may have been planning on attending and missed it, and would like to get involved with HiTOPS now, I would welcome them.

At HiTOPS, our mission is to promote adolescent health and well-being through our clinical and support services and educational programs. We believe that responsible decisions lead to brighter futures, and were thrilled to share our message in such a powerful and celebratory way.

LORI HENINGER, Ph.D.
HiTOPS Executive Director

Awaiting June 5 Democratic Primary, Voters Speak on Trotman-Pimley Race

To the Editor:

Mildred Trotman's opponent says it's "time for a change" in Borough leadership. As a member of the Shade Tree Commission, I'm concerned about what change may bring. I have worked with Mayor Trotman over several years and know that she respects the environment and supports the preservation of our Borough trees. Her opponent is not in favor of historic preservation. She took down a house on property adjoining her home to build a large pool house. In the process, she ignored words of caution and concern about the magnificent beech tree which had stood there for so many years, and which has since died. On June 5, we should be careful to vote for a candidate who represents our values.

POLLY BURLINGHAM
Scott Lane

To the Editor:

When our children misbehave, we put them in time out. When CEOs misbehave, the market punishes them. But when Princeton politicians mismanage our future, Princeton tends to reelect them.

During our ten years in Princeton, we have experienced a diverse community filled with wonderful friends and neighbors. What we have not had in Princeton is accountability in government, fiscal management, and open government process, a focus on the alarming increase in gang violence, a good town/gown relationship, or control over the school budget. What we need is a change in leadership.

Princeton deserves better. Kim Pimley's candidacy for mayor is the change we need. I would encourage everyone to be as passionate about voting June 5 as we all are about our town.

DAVID COVIN
Hodge Road

To the Editor:

In the upcoming primary election on June 5, Democrats in Princeton Borough will have an important choice to make. It might be helpful to know that one of the issues at hand is the possible designation of a portion of the Western Section as an historic district. One candidate, who opposes this designation, was driven to serve by the discussion of the historic district ordinance that would include her neighborhood. The other candidate, Mildred Trotman, is a dedicated public official whose service spans more than two decades in Princeton Borough.

Mayor Trotman took an oath to uphold the laws of our town, our state and our country. Her oath compels her to adhere to the requirements of existing Borough regulations for establishing historic districts. The challenger seeks to stifle debate and defeat this proposal before Borough Council can hold a full airing of its advantages and disadvantages. Mayor Trotman has stated openly her intention to allow that debate. She is a talented, fair, and reasoning negotiator, and a steady leader who stepped into the mayor's position with extraordinary grace. She represents all the residents of Princeton, not just some of the residents of a single neighborhood. She has earned the opportunity to serve Princeton Borough as mayor for a full term. I urge Democrats in Princeton to vote for Mayor Trotman on Tuesday, June 5.

PEGGY KARCHER
Sergeant Street

Letter Carriers Thanked by Food Bank for Assisting Stamp Out Hunger Drive

To the Editor:

On Saturday, May 12, members of the National Association of Letter Carriers collected nonperishable food donations left by postal customers at their mailboxes in communities all across Mercer County and some neighboring towns. At the end of the day, the food was transported to the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, where it will be distributed back into the communities to help feed people who face hunger and food insecurity.

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, the nation's largest one-day food drive, comes at a time when the need for charitable food assistance is greatest. When school ends for the summer, so do the school breakfast and lunch programs that ensure that children living in poverty do not go hungry. Some families can make the adjustment during this time and are able to buy the extra food needed to feed their children. But many cannot absorb the additional household expense and must turn to charitable food assistance. The food collected from Stamp Out Hunger helps meet this increased need and will feed not only at-risk children but also adults and seniors who might otherwise go hungry.

It took a great deal of logistics and people power to get all the food into our facility. On behalf of the Food Bank, I thank the U.S. Postal Services and Trenton Postmaster Joe Saultillo for providing the tractor trailers that delivered the donations to our warehouse, and the volunteers from the National Association of Letter Carriers, Mercer County Central Labor Council, Notre Dame High School, and Mercer Street Friends for unloading the trailers and stacking thousands of plastic mail tubs filled with food.

Lastly, and with heartfelt gratitude, I thank the letter carriers for taking on the extra burden that day to pick up the food donations and for caring so much about those among us who face the pain and indignity of hunger.

PHYLLIS C. STOOLMACHER
Director, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank

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