May 17, 2017

Have Your Say About Princeton’s Future Saturday Morning

Where will Princeton be in 20 years? What sorts of personal transportation will be used? How should Princeton balance future change and plan its redevelopment?

These and many more questions will be the focus of a forum on the future of Princeton to be held in the Community Room of the Princeton Public Library on Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Sponsored by the Princeton Future planning group, the event will feature presentations and a panel discussion followed by break-out group sessions that will focus on 25 different sites in Princeton “where the Princeton Zoning Code should provide for increased density, mixed use, open space, economical construction, public transit, decreased parking requirements, public-private off-street shared parking, and more variety and choice of housing, affordable to low, moderate, middle income families, and individuals.”

“We’re examining Princeton sites with an eye towards how they can be developed or redeveloped in the future,” said Princeton Future President Kevin Wilkes. “We’re looking at how these sites can provide additional housing for the community. Princeton is sorely in need of housing at reasonable price points.”

The meeting on Saturday is the launch of a year-long study by Princeton Future, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan group of volunteers from the Princeton area who are dedicated to protecting and enhancing the quality of life in our unique, historic community and region.”

Commenting on the organization’s plan for the year ahead, Mr. Wilkes, architect and founder of Princeton Design Guild, said, “On Saturday we want to hear from the public. Later we’ll be inviting Princeton architects to join in, but on Saturday we want to hear the public’s ideas and thoughts. We want to motivate the architects by this summer to discuss how to implement those ideas, with more outreach through the fall and specific recommendations and ideas to present by the spring of 2018.”

Mr. Wilkes added that in the coming weeks Princeton Future will be displaying some of the ideas from Saturday’s forum in their design installation in the alley between Landau’s and Starbucks off Nassau Street.

Saturday’s program will feature an introduction by Mr. Wilkes on “Balancing Future Change”; a presentation by Princeton University Director of Transportation Research Alain L. Kornhauser on the future of personal transportation; and a panel discussion on planning redevelopment with David E. Cohen, architect and Princeton Planning Board member; Princeton Affordable Housing Chair Alvin McGowen; and Jim Constantine, principal architect at Looney Ricks Kiss.

Following the panel discussion, forum participants will gather at four different break-out tables, each addressing the possibilities for six or seven different Princeton sites. Each table will report to the plenary session in the final half-hour of the event.

Mr. Wilkes said he looks forward to hearing “some successful thinking and recommendations on how to create mixed-use building on different sites throughout Princeton.”

Noting the abundance of high-priced housing in Princeton, he questioned, “Is that a healthy way to look to the future? We might just need a different mix of housing.”