May 20, 2015

Noting Three Significant Issues Overlooked In Council’s Discussion of Overnight Parking

To the Editor:

I read with concern the past week’s front-page article “Council Weighs In On Overnight Parking” [Town Topics, May 13].The three solutions listed (“leave the boundaries as they are, adjust them slightly, or make no overnight parking a town-wide implementation”) overlook three significant issues:

1. Removing overnight parking entirely is neither fair nor reasonable because a number of Princeton residences do not possess any off-street parking. For example on Chestnut Street, where I live, there are three duplexes, equaling six residences, without driveways. If all overnight parking is removed, these residents will be completely unable to keep even a single car anywhere near their homes. Historically, these properties have always had the ability to park at least one car. Eliminating this option would represent a hardship for homeowners who bought their residences based on this knowledge.

2. The current overnight parking permits for one car per property do not include all-day street parking. This has long struck me as a poor idea for the following reasons. In a town which prides itself on its environmentalism, residents who live within easy walking distance of most services (grocery, restaurants, banks, drugstores, train, etc.) and sometimes also their workplaces, are nonetheless required to drive to work or otherwise move their cars at two-hour intervals, throughout the day, six days per week. When residential parking permits are reviewed and harmonized, I strongly urge the Princeton Council to allow residents with a parking permit to leave a car parked in one spot throughout the day as well as overnight.

3. In addition to the environmental cost of having to move one’s car unnecessarily throughout the day, there is a social justice issue: please consider that the question of overnight on-street parking mostly affects residents in Princeton’s lower-priced homes. The three duplexes on Chestnut Street, which are typical of the properties with no off-street parking, have a valuation at or below the 25th percentile of average Princeton home prices. Let’s not penalize homeowners for their property’s lack of a driveway.

Julie Landweber

Chestnut Street