June 2, 2021

Thoughts on Parking, Housing, Bike Lanes, and Shopping Center Proposals

To the Editor:

Recently, letters were sent to the Town Topics Mailbox addressing parking, bicycle lanes, housing, and the shopping center enlargement proposals. I agree with the points made, and would like to add some thoughts below:

1. Why is the shopping center site up for grabs again for adding more “affordable” housing in an area that has seen increased traffic over the last 10-15 years on Terhune, Valley, and Harrison? If Council members had done their homework, the wooded area abutting the shopping center and Terhune was voted down for additional housing many years ago through the efforts of northeast residents. The little park is used for baseball games. The shopping center is used as a meeting place, exercise walks, and has ample parking for a comeback of more restaurants, gyms, shops, and venues for seasonal events. Leave our little ’50s style shopping center and surrounding green space alone!

2. Valley Road School. Why has it taken so long for Council and the School Board to make a decision to renovate this historic building built by our esteemed Italian masons 100 years ago? Valley Road School was discarded for renovation due to “mold” issues, only to be replaced by a new $20 million municipal building which developed mold issues — resulting in more cost to the taxpayers. Could Valley Road possibly be considered for condo-type housing with a small gym and grocery store to house our growing senior population? And perhaps the open space next to the Valley Road School might be redesigned for outdoor activities such as concerts, festivals, etc. when not in use for sporting events. There is ample free parking nearby. The building is near Witherspoon for a short drive or walk into town; 206 is nearby for access to points north and south. The same might be true for considering the unused “recreation” space near Community Park School. A diverse population lives in that area and would welcome more affordable housing. Plenty of parking there and access to town.

3. Paying the municipality for permit parking is ludicrous! Taxes are high enough; a tax credit should be granted to homeowners over 65 as has been implemented in towns elsewhere (see Austin, Texas). Finally, residents should have the right (a low permit fee) to use the current Witherspoon school swimming pool on weekends and evenings. We paid for that with tax dollars as well. How much would it cost to hire a lifeguard?

4. The bike lane subject has come up again for Hamilton/Wiggins? The road is not wide enough; cyclists/pedestrians will be injured, not to mention automobile accidents. In Manhattan cyclists ride on one-way streets in the wrong direction and totally disregard traffic lights. If a real need is there, paint a bike lane on the no parking side of Prospect.

Our infrastructure, while greatly improved over the last 20 years, is fragile. More building will turn Princeton into a mini-Manhattan, rather than preserving the small town we all want to keep peaceful and congestion free.

Nancy Woelk
Maybury Hill