After more than six years of planning, construction of Princeton University’s $300 million Arts & Transit project is on track to start with demolition this spring. According to a schedule released by the University at a meeting of the council of the Princeton University Community earlier this month, the initial work will begin with the sidewalk in front of Forbes College, on Alexander Street, where power lines will be moved. Completion of the entire complex is projected for fall 2017.
The houses that line Alexander Street opposite Forbes and the Springdale Golf Club’s course are also scheduled to be demolished in the spring unless someone with the means to move them steps forward by April. University administration has indicated that the school will give any or all of the houses to anyone willing to relocate them. Check the municipal website www.princetonnj.gov for more information.
Soon after the conclusion of the University’s June 4 Commencement activities, traffic will be rerouted on Alexander Street via University Place and College Road for about six weeks while utility work is completed. Alexander Street is scheduled to reopen the following month. At that point, initial demolition should be completed and construction of a new commuter parking lot and temporary train platform will begin. The Dinky will be out of service for a week and replaced by bus service between Princeton and Princeton Junction.
Next fall, the temporary train platform and new commuter parking lot are scheduled to open. The train will be in operation, but riders will still have the option of taking an express bus to and from Princeton Junction until the new station, which will be located 460 feet south of the current terminus, opens in the summer of 2014. Renovation of the existing train station buildings into a restaurant and cafe will also begin in the fall, as will construction on the transit plaza, new train station, new building for the Wawa market, and the access road to the West -Garage, also known as Lot 7.
Between fall 2013 and early 2014, construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of Alexander Street and University Place will be underway. Early next year, the roundabout is scheduled to open and road detours will end. The new Dinky station is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014. Also targeted for completion at that time are the new Wawa, transit plaza, and access road to the West Garage. The Wawa will remain open at its current location until then.
The three arts buildings and public plaza in the complex are to be built between the summers of 2014 and 2017. A completion of the restaurant and cafe cannot be announced until a partner is selected to operate them.
The 22-acre Arts & Transit plan was approved by the Regional Planning Board last December. Three lawsuits have been filed by local citizens opposed to the part of the proposal that mandates moving the Dinky station south of its present location. The latest was filed in Superior Court on February 5.