Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 37
 
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
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Jitney Seen as Opportunity to Fill Borough Transit Gaps

Dilshanie Perera

Borough Council member David Goldfarb elaborated upon the goals of the FreeB jitney shuttle service at the Council meeting last Tuesday. “The first is to get people out of their cars, and the second is to identify a long-standing unmet transportation need and get people where they want to go,” he said.

Talk about the jitney was spurred by Executive Director of the Senior Resource Center Susan Hoskins’s annual report to Council, during which she mentioned that increased transportation infrastructure would assist seniors in “aging in place in the community,” especially those living in senior affordable housing developments.

“The Harriet Bryan House and Elm Court are so obviously the location for a couple of hundred seniors,” noted Ms. Hoskins, who continued, saying that those would be the likely locations to include in improving transportation routes.

Ms. Hoskins lamented that the jitney doesn’t run when classes at the Resource Center are in session, adding “I would love to see the jitney run during the day.” Currently, the jitney operates on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then again from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Expanding the route and hours of the jitney was discussed, with Mr. Goldfarb explaining that the Borough is “about to take possession of [its] own vehicle” and that it does have a contractual obligation with New Jersey Transit for the jitney to meet the Dinky, but is able to utilize the shuttle in other ways during the day. “We have to tailor service wherever the demand is,” he added.

Regarding aging in place, Ms. Hoskins underscored that the senior population needs “physical stimulation, mental stimulation, and social services” and that “transportation is a really key component” in providing access to such necessities.

Beyond transportation, the report on the Senior Resource Center’s status, programs, and activities was positive. The Center is the main “care coordinator for everyone living in the Princetons,” said Ms. Hoskins, adding that it can connect seniors to services and resources to assist them with their lives.

As part of the “Partners in Caring” collaboration, the Resource Center can “provide case management in the Princeton area, information and referral, counseling, support groups, caregiver support and education, volunteer home visitors” while other partners can provide “meals on wheels, education, rides, home modifications, reassurances calls, and volunteer recruitment” according to its annual report. The Center coordinates and manages the delivery of all services.

Geared toward adults age 55 and above, the Center also boasts a variety of enrichment and fitness programs, ranging from aerobics and ping pong, to literature and photography classes held in its Suzanne Patterson building and Spruce Circle locations.

“There is a lot of living going on at the Senior Resource Center,” Ms. Hoskins affirmed.

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