December 12, 2012

Thoughts on PU’s “Wrong-Headed Move”: Wrong in Its Essence, Wrong in Its Details

To the Editor:

As a Princeton taxpayer who headed the Borough’s Traffic and Transportation Committee for many years, I must offer a few observations about the University’s wrong-headed determination to move the Dinky station further from downtown. My bottom line is simple (I’m sure most residents — and most Planning Board members — will have had this thought): in a time when scientists agree that climate change threatens, why make public transportation less convenient? Make no mistake; to approve this plan means more people will drive to the station and fewer people will use the rail connection, period.

Princeton is full of people expert in their fields who have testified against this proposal: among the adverse effects they have noted is hopelessly snarled traffic in the Alexander Road corridor. So not only is this decision wrong in its essence, it’s wrong in its details.

Here’s how to serve the arts: build the proposed arts complex, but maintain the current station. Princeton will not regret this outcome, just as New York City did not regret saving Grand Central station in the 1970s. As the Supreme Court wrote in that decision, “[H]istoric conservation is but one aspect of the much larger problem, basically an environmental one, of enhancing … the quality of life for people.”

Has the University’s largesse silenced those who might otherwise say that this plan offends sensibility as well as good sense? Bottom line: we know what’s right. Can we now look the other way as Princeton University trades our in-town, historic train station for better access to its parking garage?

Sandy Solomon

Bayard Lane