October 10, 2012

To the Editor:

I meant to write much earlier than this to thank Jane Buttars, Dr. Vojislava Pohristic, and Alexi Assumus for providing the much needed information on the status of the environmental impact on the neighborhoods surrounding the old hospital site. I am surprised by the lack of response or concern shown by local residents when there is a strong possibility that the site is contaminated and that there is not only the actual demolishing of the buildings (lead paint, lead doors, asbestos, medical waste, X ray equipment, etc.), but the removal of hospital also poses threats to the surrounding water systems.

Do residents realize the amount of dust particles which will spread over the area? I remember the amount of dust/dirt that settled on our front porch and window ledges and came in through the window screens when the new sewer lines were put in a few years ago and all that debris came from just digging up part of the street and sidewalks.

In May of 1980 when Mount St. Helens erupted in Oregon “Over the course of the day, prevailing winds blew 520 million tons of ash eastward across the United States and caused complete darkness in Spokane, Washington, 250 miles from the volcano.” I am certainly not comparing the volcanic eruption to the demolition of the old hospital site, I am simply pointing out that the debris from the hospital will cover quite a bit of Princeton and the debris will not only be concrete and glass dust but, unless the contaminated items in the hospital are not disposed of in an environmentally safe way, residents have some major health issues to deal with.

Nancy Green

Lytle Street

KIDS’ CORNER: “We make this more of a boutique, a fun, happy experience for customers. And we are really filling a need for people, especially in this difficult economy.” Michelle Towers, owner of Milk Money, is enthusiastic about the children’s consignment shop, and is also photographer of record for this photo.

Milk Money at 51 North Tulane Street is cheerful, charming, friendly, and fun. Its bright decor and color scheme are immediately appealing to children and adults alike.

The children’s consignment shop, which opened several years ago, has been owned by Michelle Towers for the past year and a half. Ms Towers, who formerly lived in Paris, focusing on photography (she also worked for photographer Pryde Brown in Princeton), has worn many hats during her career, including running a restaurant in Pennsylvania.

“I have always been very entrepreneurial” she explains, and when the opportunity to acquire Milk Money presented itself, she was eager to start a new venture.

“I’m a mom, and I had been a customer,” she adds. “The time was right. I believe if it’s meant to be, it will show itself to you. Milk Money is a great concept. It’s a franchise — there are five in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — but it’s independently-owned, and it gives you an enormous amount of freedom. You make it suit the location you’re in and the tastes of the customers. I am very independent and like to be my own boss, but the company’s there to support you if you need it”

Gently-Used

The shop offers gently-used (and some never worn) clothing for infants and children up to 12- or 13-years-old, sizes zero to 16. The selection is especially focused on designers, often European, such as Mini Boden, Petit Bateau, Caitimini, and Hanna Andersson. Other lines include Papo d’Anjo, Gap, Polo, and Crew Cuts (the children’s line of J Crew).

Popular items today are jeans, of course, and the girls especially love skinny jeans. There is also an expanded section of boys’ clothing for all ages.

“We have a lot of European customers,” reports Ms. Towers, “and the flavor is different with European clothes. These lines are not easy to get, and you won’t find them all over by any means. The British Mini Boden line is a favorite with boys and girls, and has tops with fun graphics and designs, and also dresses.”

“We’ll sell a lot of coats in the winter, and after Halloween, people start asking for snow — pants, jackets, etc. We already have a big selection of Halloween costumes, and customers are calling for them right now.”

Shoes and boots are also very popular, particularly Uggs and Hunter rain boots. Footwear for tiny feet, including infants, is available as well.

In addition, Milk Money offers a variety of the very popular Melissa & Doug toys. “These are new, not used, and we are one of the few stores in the area to carry them,” says Ms. Towers. “Their sticker books are very popular for boys and girls, and also scratch pads, puzzles, magnets, and the arts and crafts items for beads, pretend cupcake-making, etc.”

“Bugaboo”

One of the most popular sections at Milk Money contains the selection of strollers, carriers, high chairs, and bikes. “We do very well with equipment,” notes Ms. Towers. “We cannot keep strollers in the store. The selection we have is so well-made, including ‘Bugaboo’. It’s an organic wooden system-type stroller and grows with the child, having different uses. Strollers are multi-use now, and double strollers are very popular too.”

Other items include the Norwegian Stokke high chair, which also grows with the child. The comfortable Ergo carrier is organic and versatile, and is a baby carrier that can also become a backpack.

“We also have a Skuut balance bike made of wood and without pedals,” points out Ms. Towers. “It’s European-made and helps children learn to balance a small two-wheeler.”

The Milk Money arrangement with consignors is 60 percent for the store, 40 percent for consignors. In addition, there is a one-time 10 percent consignment fee for entry into the system. Items must be clean, in good condition, and reflect up-to-date styles. They are accepted on Tuesday and Thursday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Good Styles

“Clothes must be good brands, good styles, and in good shape,” says Ms. Towers. “When the consignment is completed, everything is listed, and consignors are directed to a website to track their balance. Also, on Saturdays, we have a drop-off day, when whatever people bring in is accepted for consignment or donated to charities.”

“We have two seasons,” she continues. “Fall/winter and spring/summer. We are currently accepting fall and winter items through December.”

“In mid-season, we lower some of the prices of items that haven’t sold. Also in January and July, we have a 50 percent off clearance sale. And we have a bag sale twice a year, when whatever you can fit in the bag is $20. That is very popular!”

Consignors are notified before the bag sale, if they wish to retrieve their clothes. After the sale, all unsold items are donated to charities helping children in need.

Consignors include people from all over the area and from as far away as New York, as well as European residents in Princeton, reports Ms. Towers. “They all bring in wonderful things, and customers love the selection. They are so appreciative and kind. There are so many regulars who love to come in — it’s almost a life-style for them!”

Customers enjoy the convenient arrangement of the shop, with categories for boys and girls, babies, and age-identified areas, she adds.

What’s Hot

“Every two weeks we send a newsletter to customers, which could include back-to-school specials, What’s Hot’, and a Wish List. All the consignors get this too. We also have a lot of things to see on Facebook.”

Ms. Towers couldn’t be more pleased with the direction Milk Money has taken. “With our selection of higher end designer clothes, the shop is set up more like a retail than a consignment shop. We are more of a boutique, with the brands we carry and the new toys. And our layout is not that of a typical consignment shop.

“There is a lot of work involved in having a consignment shop, but the reaction has been even more enthusiastic than I expected. I love seeing the clothes come in, and I enjoy meeting the people. Some of the customers have been pregnant, and then later, they come in with the babies. This is wonderful! This is a happy business.”

Prices cover a wide area, with dresses and pants starting at $8.

Milk Money is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 11 to 4. Friday hours will be extended to 7 in the future. (609) 921-1665. Website: www.milkmoneylove.com.


October 3, 2012

To the Editor:

In celebration of our 45th anniversary, the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) sends heartfelt thanks to the community for its continued support and participation. The ACP was founded in September 1967, and so we aimed to fill this past month with vibrant anniversary festivities.

Thank you to the hundreds of artists, families, and friends who joined us for our early-September Annual Members Show, which featured 165 artworks by member artists. We are delighted to share news that our Free Fall Open House on September 9 garnered both record attendance and class registrations. Our mid-month 1960s Dance Party was festive and fun — we grooved to music alongside a giant screen featuring vintage rock-n-roll footage and videos. Finally, we produced an Age of Aquarius benefit concert with renowned singer-songwriter Francis Dunnery. It was wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces here throughout this exciting month.

Thanks to everyone who helped make our events successful including: McCaffrey’s Markets, Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen, Lindt Chocolate Shop, Halo Pub, bai Brands, the bent spoon, small world coffee, Princeton Record Exchange, Emily’s Café & Catering, and CoolVines. We send special thanks to our performers at the Fall Open House — who set the tone and created lots of excitement on our terrace and front steps — Lisa Botalico and the La Feria dancers, Uma Kapoor and her Bollywood dancers, and Zoe Brookes and the Stone Soup Circus troupe. Our gracious and informative artist-instructors rounded out a superb Open House. Finally, we thank our extraordinary volunteers, who on a daily basis work in so many ways to build community through the arts.

The ACP Staff and Board

To the Editor:

Though I am a registered Democrat who has lived in Princeton Borough for more than 30 years, I had never publicly supported a political candidate or issue, because I was a reporter. Journalists, in this country, generally try to maintain at least the appearance of impartiality. (In France, it is considered a breach of ethics for the reporter NOT to state his or her opinion at the top of the article.)

But in this Princeton mayoral race, I support the Republican candidate, Dick Woodbridge.

I respect Woodbridge’s regional vision as a community leader. As a business reporter for U.S. 1 Newspaper, I interviewed him in the late ’80s when he was among the first to suggest branding Central New Jersey as the “Princeton Rutgers Research Corridor,” now recognized as “Einstein’s Alley.”

I respect Woodbridge’s business savvy and experience. He is a patent attorney who advises companies — from struggling entrepreneurs to mega firms — and helps them succeed. I have “picked his brain” over the years on any number of legal and entrepreneurial issues. He has common sense about what will work and what won’t work.

I respect Woodbridge’s good will and diplomacy. He is one of only two people to have served in both town governments; he was council president in the Borough and mayor in the Township. From my point of view, being mayor is a difficult and thankless job. I am grateful that — in this difficult time of transition — someone of his caliber and experience has stepped forward to do it.

Woodbridge has lived through Princeton’s history. He knows “where the bones are buried” and he has the tact and diplomacy that Princeton needs in this crucial transition time. I would like to remind everyone who has not already lost faith in the American political process that this opportunity to elect Woodbridge as mayor may be Princeton’s last chance to have a two-party system. Democrats, please split your ticket and vote for Richard Woodbridge.

Barbara Figge Fox

Cedar Lane

To the Editor:

At least two of Princeton’s largest institutions, Rider University and Princeton University, are supporting proposed legislation now in the State Assembly that would empower them to build whatever they want, wherever they want, regardless of local land use controls.

The legislation, known as Assembly Bill 2586 (A 2586), would exempt private institutions of higher learning in New Jersey from the Municipal Land Use Law, including oversight by planning and zoning boards.

In Princeton, passage of A 2586 could embolden Rider to place a multi-story parking deck on its property behind Linden Lane, Princeton University to build a 15-story tower in the Engineering Quad along Murray Place, the Seminary to build a multi-story student center along Mercer Street, or the Institute of Advanced Study to build any number of housing units wherever it chooses. In each such case, the development could be built totally independent of any zoning control.

Were A 2586 to pass, the consequences of uncontrolled growth — on traffic, the environment, and the quality of life in individual neighborhoods and the community as a whole — could be horrific, but there would be no legal basis to challenge that growth. Princeton would become the quintessential “company town,” even more dominated by the four institutions.

And there’s lots of opportunity for each of the institutions to grow: in Princeton Borough and Township, the four institutions control the following acreage, according to the municipal tax assessor: Princeton University – 440.73; Rider University – 25.31; the Seminar – 96.1; and the Institute for Advanced Study – 359.42, for a total of 919.56 acres of developable land.

With passage of A 2586, the homeowner with a one-quarter acre lot will have to follow the zoning rules but the private educational institutions in the community, with 919 acres and multi-million or multi-billion dollar endowments, will not.

Princetonians who care about the future of our community might usefully contact their Assembly representatives to oppose A 2586. Residents might also contact those whom they know in the administrations of the four institutions to urge those institutions to think in terms greater than their narrow institutional goals — to think of the consequences of A 2586 on the community as a whole!

Roger Martindell

Patton Avenue, Member, Princeton Borough Council

To the Editor:

Over the past several years, it’s been my pleasure to work in local government with Liz Lempert. I heartily urge you to cast your vote for her as mayor of the new consolidated Princeton.

In campaigning for our merger, Liz applied her organizing skills to solidify support from many corners. On complex planning issues we worked on, she displayed a special sensitivity to the interests of disparate neighborhoods. Liz has a talent for consensus-building that makes a difference in producing results.

Liz has been a real advocate for sustainability. With your vote for her as mayor, she now has a chance to make neighborhood sustainability work throughout the new Princeton.

Marvin Reed

Former Mayor, Princeton Borough

To the Editor:

As everyone knows, this is an election year. Across the nation, there are big contests and major issues between Democrats and Republicans.

But not in Princeton. Here we are about to elect the first mayor of our unified town, one Princeton. Fortunately, we are blessed with having two exceptionally well-qualified candidates. Either one would be able to do the job.

But here’s my point. In Princeton, there are more voters registered as Democrats than as Republicans. But the choice between the two mayoral candidates, Dick Woodbridge and Liz Lempert, should not be a matter of partisan affiliation. Rather, it should be about which candidate has the experience and the ability to do the job in the best possible way.

I urge voters to make their choice for mayor of Princeton without reference to the nominal party affiliation of the candidate.

Harvey Rothberg (MD)

Bertrand Drive

To the Editor:

Mayoral candidate Dick Woodbridge, who attended a recent Township committee meeting, was right to ask for clarification on PPS Superintendent Judy Wilson’s comments, “the Valley Road school building did not need any attention, it has been well maintained” (“Issues of Education Spark Discussions,” Town Topics, September 5).

We are puzzled. Ms. Wilson might be talking about a section of the building where PPS board meets as the rest of the building gets an “F” in maintenance, as Mr. Woodbridge well said.

Again, we must keep the message going since some other disinterested parties do not seem to be listening.

The Valley Road building on Witherspoon Street is not in good shape. As Kip Cherry pointed out in the September 12 mailbox (“Historic Valley Road School Building Neglected”) it has been left to rot as the PPS will not make a decision on what to do with the property.

This has been going on for over a year and we ask Princetonians to take charge, and PPS to leave their egos behind, make a brave, honorable choice and let the “Save the Valley Road School” committee turn the building into a community center/non-profit space; in other words, lead by action.

Candidates mention their goals of turning Princeton into a sustainable and diverse community. What do they exactly mean? We are already facing issues with AvalonBay at the site of the hospital. We have an opportunity here. What about recycling and reusing the building? What about having a community center and non-profit organizations that will certainly mean diversity?

Princetonians have approved a referendum for referred maintenance and improvements. We find ourselves in a predicament. Though we highly value education and consider teachers the most important professionals, should we trust the board to use our money the right way? Let’s be realistic and let’s avoid more dollars coming out of our pockets when PPS board decides that another referendum is needed in a year or so, to tear down a building that could have been turned into a real community asset.

Adam Bierman, Sandra Jordan

Grover Avenue

To the Editor:

It has been eight years since community representatives, municipalities, traffic engineers, environmentalists, and the public developed a plan for the Route 1/Washington Road intersection. The principal components of the plan (called alternative, D.2.A) put Route 1 in a cut under Washington Road and added frontage roads on both sides of Route 1, a west-side connector road to Harrison Street, and a Vaughn Drive connector road. Taking all of these elements together, the NJ DOT envisioned area-wide improvements.

At the time, the New Jersey Department of Transportation stated, “Alternative D.2.A was selected as the preferred alternative because it provides a reasonable level of transportation benefit, while avoiding and minimizing environmental impacts. It represents a project that will achieve significant benefits without entailing years of delay due to extensive environmental permitting requirements. In short, it is a project that can be accomplished expeditiously.”

The DOT noted that it would provide congestion relief by improving traffic flow on Route 1, improving traffic flow on east-west routes crossing Route 1, and reducing traffic on residential streets; minimize environmental impacts to natural areas and species; reduce pollution; avoid residential displacements; minimize impact to historic properties listed with the National Register; and improve bicycle and pedestrian access and safety.

Having studied 20 alternatives, with many configurations, the NJ DOT concluded that the complete plan was needed, not a selection of the elements, instituted haphazardly.

Now the NJ DOT has gone against its own plan and, without community input, without computer modeling, has chosen instead to make employees, commuters, and especially residents of the Penns Neck neighborhood guinea pigs for an experiment that has failed in all parameters except perhaps in possibly improving traffic flow on Route 1 for a relatively short distance.

It is time to stop the Route 1/Washington Road experiment and to restore safety to the Penns Neck residents until funding can be obtained to do the job completely and effectively.

Sandra Shapiro

Wycombe Way

To the Editor:

Last Monday, Princeton residents reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to educational excellence for all of our town’s children. On behalf of the Princeton Board of Education, we thank the voters for being well informed, supportive and allowing this wise investment in facilities at all six of our public schools.

Because the community has permitted the district to take care of the nuts and bolts of its facilities work, students can be assured that their learning environments, from pre-kindergarten through graduation, will be safe and strong for years to come. The board will once again turn its full, undivided attention to the learning, achievement and wellness of the students in our charge.

Thanks again for supporting excellent public schools.

Timothy Quinn,

President of the Board

Andrea Spalla,

Vice-President of the Board

To the Editor:

There are several critical leadership qualities required to serve as mayor of our community as it moves through the vital process of consolidation. We are most fortunate that mayoral candidate Liz Lempert meets this rigorous test and indeed exemplifies what is needed — a new generation of leadership.

A. Commitment to the consolidated community — Liz has demonstrated a strong commitment over the past several years to working together as one community — a requirement for consolidation leadership.

B. Inclusive planning — Liz has excellent planning skills — both short and long term — with all community stakeholders.

C. Fiscal responsibility — We have closely watched and worked with Ms. Lempert as liaison to the Finance Advisory Committee in her efforts to both keeping the tax rate flat while at the same time maintaining the high level of community services that Princeton deserves.

D. Timely decision-making — Liz has the ability to tackle the endless debates that often immobilize local government and guide the governing body to decisions in an efficient and effective manner.

E. Sensible — We find that Liz is informed by the past but not blocked by it. She tempers a strong vision with a focus on the present with practical attention to detail.

These five leadership assets provide the foundation for a new generation of governance and partnership. As Mayor, Liz Lempert will lead us successfully over the next several years to a consolidated Princeton, envisioned by the Consolidation Commission and supported by the voters. We urge you to vote for Liz Lempert.

Alison and Anton Lahnston

Elm Road

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the West Windsor Police for their tireless efforts on behalf of Penns Neck residents since the closure of the jug handle at Route 1 and Washington Road. The police re-direct confused motorists and ticket those who blatantly disregard the No U-Turn signs and place themselves and other drivers at risk. Always courteous and helpful, the police are present not only during the morning rush hour but also in the evening and on the weekend when there are major events that draw many people into the Princeton area. The 2 percent cap on municipal governments limits the police presence, but when the police are in our neighborhood, driving is safer. We have had a sharp spike in accidents on Washington Road since the jug handles were closed, but the West Windsor police have certainly prevented additional accidents.

Susan C. Parris, Dorothy Noon Holmes, David C. Parris, Moragh Boyan, Eric Payne, Kathleen Russell, R. Peter Hodge,
Ronald J. Slinn, Tamerra Moeller,
Alison Miller, Katie Gallagher,
Sharon A. Sibilia, Libby Vinson

“We really like to go to Williamsburg, Virginia, and see the sites around there.” —Jennifer Parry with son, Jacob and daughter, Madelyn, Helmetta, N.J.

Linda: “Old Town in Philadelphia, there is so much history there.”
David: “Virginia has some of our favorite sites. We like to go to Williamsburg, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Richmond, and any of the sites along the way.”
—Linda Rose and David Rogers, Hatboro, Pa.

“The USS Arizona Memorial, located at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.” —Kevin O’Donnell, Forked River

“Princeton Battlefield is certainly one of my favorites. My ancestors survived because of the counterattack. All the major New Jersey battles are personal and important sites to me.” —Jean Hultgren, Lawrenceville

“Some of my favorites are the Revolutionary War sites here in New Jersey, to name a few: the Princeton Battlefield, The Barracks in Trenton, Monmouth Battlefield State Park. New Jersey is filled with historical sites.” —Ray Helge, Monroe

“Washington’s Crossing Park, Morven, the Quaker Meeting House and the Princeton Battlefield.”
—Gage and Susan Honore with son, Alfred, Princeton

To the Editor:

Princeton is fortunate to have a competitive race to elect the first mayor of a united Princeton. Both candidates were public supporters of consolidation and generally perceived as dedicated to its success. Our good fortune is having a choice between two candidates with very different backgrounds skill sets and visions of Princeton’s future.

In my view, on January 1, 2013 we need to move well beyond the Consolidation Commission’s baseline of limited, favorable outcomes. Now is the time to aggressively pursue our once in a lifetime opportunity to set a high standard and road map for New Jersey in achieving consolidation’s synergistic benefits through politically bi-partisan collaboration, especially in the near term.

To make the right choice for Princeton’s future, we must elect the mayoral candidate best qualified by experience and on the job performance as a community Leader, hands on in local government.

Candidate Liz Lempert is intelligent, personable, and very politically active locally, state, and nation-wide. In a heavily Democratic town and with solid liberal progressive credentials, she was clearly a safe choice for maintaining Democratic Party control in Princeton. Her profile, however, with the exception of her current position as deputy mayor of Princeton Township, cites virtually no qualifications or experience, in either public or private life, which would prepare her to lead or govern a large, multi-faceted organization in the immediate future.

Dick Woodbridge’s profile is in stark contrast to that of Liz Lempert. His qualifications and experience in both public and private life reflect leadership roles together with broad professional skills, unmatched knowledge of the local community based on a lifetime in Princeton, and a consummate hands-on record of public service in highly responsible positions. His local public service, both as volunteer and elected official, included Princeton Borough Council President, Princeton Township Mayor, Police Commissioner and much more. He is a Princeton University graduate, an attorney and engineer. After a lifetime spent here, he understands the needs and motivations of the diverse groups in Princeton and will find pragmatic ways to get things done in a politically bipartisan, collaborative way for the betterment of his beloved town.

Princeton requires experienced and proven leadership to take the helm on January 1, 2013. The clear choice is Dick Woodbridge.

John Clearwater

Governors Lane

To the Editor:

After 22 years, Springboard, the after school tutoring and homework help center, has been asked to leave the Princeton Public Library. The library director stated that “we (PPL) are no longer able to provide funding or a place in the library for a formal Springboard program”.

We are delighted to inform everyone that we have a new location in room C-104 at the John Witherspoon Middle School at the Walnut Lane entrance. The quality program that you have come to expect and rely on will be the same! The program will still be available every Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. when the Princeton Public Schools are open.

We provide certified Princeton Public School teachers and former teachers who are familiar with the curriculum of the schools K-12. Springboard continues to have relationships with Princeton Public School staff that enable our tutors to work cooperatively with teachers to meet the specific needs of our individual students.

Our staff includes a bi-lingual teacher and many others (including volunteers from the community and the University) who are proficient in higher level math and science.

Springboard remains a free, drop-in program with no appointments necessary.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our generous donors who have made this transition possible. We would especially like to thank the F.I.S.H. Foundation Inc. for their continued support of this program. Please know that further donations will be needed to keep this program going. Springboard is a 501(C3) non-profit organization.

Joyce Turner

Woods Way

To the Editor:

To read the letters opposing the University’s proposal to move the Dinky Station 460 feet south of its current location causes one to wonder if its opponents are utterly unfamiliar with basic Anglo-Saxon property law, off their meds, have nothing else to do or some combination of the three.

Here’s the basic rule: unless you’re breaking some law, you pretty much get to do what you want with your property. Why? Because we’re Americans. Despite endless howling, no one has adduced a single fact that says the land isn’t the University’s or that it is breaking the law.

Reality check: 460 feet is about 153 paces of an ordinary biped and can be covered even at the profoundly slow rate of speed at which I, a gimpy biped with one good leg, moves in under five minutes. No doubt, many of the opponents of 153 paces would also be the first people to urge our chronically obese population to take extra steps — except to a moved Dinky station.

So, all of you, please, try worrying about something important: world peace, the inevitably bungled consolidation, or those noisy leaf blowers.

Mark Herr

Great Road

To the Editor:

October 1 is a day I can never forget. On that day in 1994, my daughter was killed in an automobile accident. In her case, the cause was a drunk driver. Any death in a car accident, however, brings horror, disbelief, pain, never-ending grief, and a loss that cannot be recovered.

I hope that I can make those feelings understood to people who drive our overcrowded roads, often too fast, and with not enough regard for their surroundings. I hope that those feelings are especially important to our traffic engineers, administrators, mayors, legislators, governors, and departments of transportation. They, of all people have our lives in their hands, when they plan with disregard for consequences.

A direct example is the lack of thought for safety in the New Jersey Department of Transportation experiment involving the loss of jug handles at Washington Rd. and the traffic snarl at Harrison Street and Route 1. I imagine you have been reading about drivers making U and K turns in Penns Neck to get back on a straight road into Princeton; about huge trucks driving through narrow suburban streets to avoid a longer trip; about drivers spending extra time getting to work and coming home; about racing automobiles tearing down streets not made for speed. Can you imagine what this is like for the parents and children who live on those streets? The DOT wants to make traffic move faster on Route 1, but at the expense of our neighborhoods. I am outraged by this disregard for life, whether caused by lack of caring, incompetence, or politics. The experiment that has some weeks to go must be stopped NOW before a tragedy occurs.

Are you listening Governor Christie? Are you listening DOT Commissioner Simpson? Can you help us Senators Menendez and Lautenberg? And Representative Holt? This is a cry for help, and we need you as soon as possible. Please listen to someone who has been through the unimaginable.

Paula McGuire

Washington Road

September 26, 2012

“I live in Penns Neck — the traffic is backed up from the train station on Washington Road. It is a wall of traffic, constantly backed up. Nobody can get out of their driveways. People are constantly doing dangerous U turns and it’s not safe. Having all this traffic in a small area is detrimental. It seems that it’s top down problem solving from the DOT and they are too inflexible to revoke the plan that is obviously not working.” —Alastair Stokes, Penns Neck

“Yes, because I only have one option into Princeton, so it impacts my time to get in. I have to leave earlier in the morning every day.” —Cynthia Miller, Lawrenceville

“It’s not affecting me too bad but it’s a change and more traffic and that takes getting used to.”  —Marcel Lemar,  Princeton

“I now need to go out of my way — you can’t make a turn left onto Harrison Street past the hospital. You now need to plan your route and that can be annoying.”  —Paul Lazovick, Lawrenceville

“The first time I missed the turn on to Harrison Street. You have to go considerably north and then turn around to get in to Princeton. It’s confusing and you have to remember. There was quite a back up.” —Cathy Quinlan, Princeton

“I travel from Trenton to Kingston. Coming from Trenton you’re very disadvantaged. We had three alternatives to enter Princeton and now only one and this is wrong. If you miss Alexander Road, you have to go up and turn around.”
—Jim Harford, Princeton

To the Editor:

After sitting through the SPRAB meeting last night I have the same question that I had six years ago: why is the Dinky station being moved???

1. All of the Arts buildings can be built and be even more beautiful, if the Dinky is not moved,

2. All of the environmental attributes of the plan can be realized and many of its detriments diminished, if the Dinky is not moved,

3. The grandeur of the current Dinky station as a gateway to Princeton, McCarter, the Seminary and the University can be retained, if the Dinky is not moved,

4. The Lot 7 garage can be accessed either below grade at its south end (only a 9 foot clearance is necessary because the garage’s clearance is less than 9 feet), or at grade at its north end (all cars accessing the garage from Alexander currently cross the Dinky at-grade), if the Dinky is not moved,

5. The service tunnel can readily pass under the Dinky tracks, if the Dinky is not moved,

6. The public’s transportation deed easement on all of the 3.5 acres can be set aside on the portion of the land occupied by the Arts buildings, if the Dinky is not moved,

7. The freight building can be expanded (while preserving its historic features) to create a convenience store for the Forbes and Arts students, if the Dinky is not moved,

8.The Wawa could be relocated to the gas station on the corner of Alexander and Faculty to provide convenience items in close proximity to the new Hibben&Magee, Lawrence and other nearby housing as well as fueling services to those driving on Alexander, if the Dinky is not moved,

9. A lot of money would be saved, if the Dinky is not moved, and

10. Much goodwill will be restored, if the Dinky is not moved.

Alain L. Kornhauser

Montadale Circle

To the Editor:

In her 11 years as the president of Princeton University, Shirley Tilghman has helped make the best even better.

Richard Trenner

Province Line Road

To the Editor:

It’s important that the food-composting program be kept alive. Princetonians have put 18 months of work into the separated compostable waste program to cut down on trash going into the landfill, and have proven that it is entirely workable and environmentally sound. We understand that we are diverting about 20 tons a month from the landfill to a sustainable composting site. Four hundred sixty families already participate and many more want to sign up but must now wait until we hear if this program is to continue in 2013.

The program is straightforward: Food and everything compostable goes into our separate green wheelie bins. The big trash bins are almost empty.

This program is also compelling for economic reasons because if our curbside food collection stops, we will actually pay higher taxes since the weight of our garbage going into the landfill will be heavier. As local landfills fill up, solid waste will have to be trucked to the midwest, increasing our costs even more, whereas food waste can continue to be processed locally.

Other communities are watching us to see if they too can save money by implementing the program that Princeton is testing. Why not ask the contractor who wins the bid to take our separated trash or amend Princeton’s bid request immediately to include a food-composting pickup for all contractors?

New administration in 2013: please continue to provide this separate pickup. We will be Princeton New Jersey, and we can make this important pioneering program successful.

Lindy and Zvi Eiref

Dodds Lane

To the Editor:

We are hearing/reading multiple complaints about the negative impacts and the ineffectiveness of the NJDOT experiment of closing left turns onto and from Route 1 at its intersections with Washington Road and Harrison Street. A decade ago it was recognized that the main problem for traffic in the Penns Neck area was the east-west flow to and from central NJ’s largest employer, Princeton University. A solution that solved the east-west traffic flow and the Route 1 north-south flow was agreed to by almost everyone in the affected areas. The main feature of the solution was to put Route 1 in a cut that would pass under Washington Road.

This solution came about as a result of scores of meetings and negotiations among residents, towns, environmental organizations, and governmental agencies. The group [in which I was a participant] was called the Penns Neck Area EIS Roundtable. Among all of the possible changes to Route 1 intersections that were considered by the Roundtable, one solution, which became known as the “Preferred Alignment,” respects the environment, gives relief to West Windsor and Princeton residents, businesses and visitors, and improves NS flow of traffic on Rt 1.

Most people who have studied the traffic on Route 1 think the current experiment just postpones the inevitable long-term solution. Had plans for the Preferred Alignment moved forward when it was approved it would have been shovel ready for the stimulus money, and we could be driving on it now. This latest experiment by NJDOT demonstrates the need for the Preferred Alignment.

Lincoln Hollister

Ridgeview Road

To the Editor:

I write regarding the award-winning curbside pickup composting program that Princeton has successfully pioneered for well over a year. By signing up for this convenient service, hundreds of families here have effortlessly sent tons of organic waste to a commercial composting facility, instead of to landfills. This program includes many more materials than even the most dedicated backyard composter could handle: bones from meat/poultry/fish; table scraps and dairy products, soiled paper plates, towels and napkins, anything labeled “for commercial composting,” and — best of all — pizza boxes.

And of course this program also benefits those who cannot or do not wish to do backyard composting.

Like other curbside compost customers, my household has taken pride in reducing the amount of “plain old trash” left to throw out. So we’re disappointed to learn that this valuable service has not been included as a requirement in the waste collection bids for consolidated Princeton. This omission seems puzzling, because our municipality has to pay for trash disposal by weight, and wet organic material is the heaviest component of regular trash. Continuing this popular program could actually save money; but if it is not in every bidder’s response, how will the bids be comparable?

I hope that residents will continue to have the option of compost collection. Our town has shown itself to be a leader by achieving consolidation. What a pity if this progress is accompanied by a step backward in our “green” leadership.

Caroline Hancock

Laurel Road

To the Editor:

A huge thank you to Princeton-Area businesses and individuals for the generous donation of 102 backpacks filled with school supplies and fun lunchboxes for less-fortunate Princeton Public School students. What an amazing feeling for these Princeton kids to start the school year with a cool lunchbox and a great backpack filled with brand new school supplies. These kids got to walk into school feeling good about themselves and the new school year.

Special thanks to community partners Walmart and Target in Nassau Park, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports and PNC Bank in the Princeton Shopping Center, Princeton University Women’s Soccer Team, Princeton Health Department, and the Princeton Rotary Club. Additionally, we received donations from over 20 Princetonians!

Again, the Princeton-Area community business and individuals made a difference for these young Princeton Public Schools students.

Ciara Celestin

Ambassador Girl Scout Princeton Troop 71204

Cynthia Mendez,

Director, Princeton Human Services

To the Editor:

Princeton residents will want to know of the upcoming public talk about AvalonBay and its environmental impacts. Save the date: October 7, 2012, 3 p.m.

Aaron Kleinbaum, Esq., legal director of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, will discuss “Sustainable Redevelopment in Princeton: The Legal and Environmental Perspective on AvalonBay.” The talk will be given at Princeton Engine Co #1 (the firehouse), 13 Chestnut Street, Princeton (light refreshments will be served).

Mr. Kleinbaum will speak about AvalonBay’s lack of transparency about potential contamination at the old hospital site; resistance to LEED construction, and, refusal to consider public open space. He will situate these local issues in the regional and national contexts of sustainability, environmental protections, and climate change. He will also discuss the mission of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, with particular attention to environmental justice.

The talk is sponsored by Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods (PCSN), for whom the event is also a fundraiser, with donations to be shared with EELC.

Mr. Kleinbaum, who has been retained by PCSN along with land-use counsel and an urban planner to represent PCSN at Planning Board hearings on AvalonBay, authored the letter to the Planning Board and municipal engineers insisting that AvalonBay make public the EcolSciences report commissioned by AB through Maser Consulting LLC. That report had not been released until Mr. Kleinbaum’s letter exerted sufficient pressure to gain its availability for public scrutiny for this central matter of public health.

Mr. Kleinbaum has previously served as vice president for environmental affairs at Ingersoll Rand and as external environmental counsel to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, among other environmentalist positions. A civil engineer, he received his J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in 1990.

All are welcome. For further information, contact Daniel A. Harris, dah43@comcast.net, (609) 683-0198.

Jane Buttars

Dodds Lane