To the Editor:
I’m writing to express my support for Princeton opening Witherspoon Street to walkers and shoppers to create a distinctive and vibrant place that benefits merchants and local residents alike. I offer two thoughts for Princetonians to consider about this.
First, other communities in New Jersey have overcome their nervousness to create just such places, and have learned that direct experience is the best teacher.
Just before Thanksgiving, I spoke with the town administrator of Red Bank, New Jersey, about his experience converting two full blocks of Broad Street to a fully pedestrian-focused plaza through the summer and fall.
Red Bank’s first steps pedestrianizing Broad Street were tentative, experimental, and time-limited, and all town communications emphasized this. But as merchants and residents gained direct experience, positive reviews came thick and fast.
Now Red Bank is gearing up to make even more pedestrian-supporting changes. Next year, the town plans to expand the pedestrian plaza one block more, and will also make physical improvements to calm traffic and create a better pedestrian environment on nearby streets. Direct experience, and learning from that, has been the most important factor in making progress. more