Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 37
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
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Toll Hikes, Parking Dominate Discussion at Committee Meeting

Ellen Gilbert

Revenues associated with trucks and cars provided two of the main discussion points at Monday evening’s Township Committee meeting.

Governor Corzine’s proposed plan to raise turnpike tolls will be the subject of an upcoming “Truck Task Force” meeting, sponsored by the League of Municipalities, which Mayor Phyllis Marchand plans to attend. Both Ms. Marchand and Committeeman Chad Goerner expressed concern about the suggested hikes, which, if approved, would be implemented in 2009 and 2012. The three-year interval between raising tolls is relatively short, they noted, and the upshot of past increases has been more truck traffic on local roads like Route 206 and Mercer Street. About one-third of the revenue generated by the increases would be used for widening the turnpike, which Mr. Goerner thought was ironic in light of the fact that turnpike use would in fact diminish as a result of the increases.

A proposal by Committeeman Bernie Miller to examine the efficacy of placing parking meters in two Township neighborhoods, Alexander Road and the streets immediately around the Medical Center, also generated considerable discussion. While Committee members lauded Mr. Miller’s wish to identify sources of revenue that are unrelated to taxpayer dollars, there was a strong consensus that now was not the time to pursue this particular plan. Several Committee members noted that, with the hospital moving out and apartments being built in its place, and the proposed University Arts center on Alexander Road under consideration, both neighborhoods are likely to be in flux in the near future. Noting that the Township is far more residential than the Borough, Committeeman Lance Liverman went so far as to say that the addition of parking meters would “kill neighborhoods.” Mr. Miller expressed regret at the Committee’s “abrupt” tabling of the idea, citing the numerous cars parked during the day at the free two-hour spots around the hospital, and the lost income they represent.

It was noted that the University’s plans for the Alexander Road art complex will be discussed at the Arts Council on Wednesday, September 17. There will be a formal presentation at 7 p.m., but staff and consultants will be available from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. to answer questions.

Committee members acknowledged the September 3 death of Fannie Floyd, wife of former Township Mayor James Floyd Sr., noting her considerable impact on the community over the years.

Mr. Liverman reminded everyone that, in recognition of September as Prostate Health Month, board certified urologists at the University Medical Center will provide free screenings on September 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. for detection of prostate cancer in men over age 50, men over the age of 45 with a family history of prostate cancer, and African-American males over the age of 45.

The Township Committee will reconvene at Town Hall for a special joint meeting with Borough Council next Monday, September 15, at 7 p.m. to hear the Recreation Department’s proposed master plan.

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