Revised Parking Proposal Should Not Single Out Residential Neighborhood for Employee Parking
To the Editor:
We are residents of the Murray Place-Princeton Avenue neighborhood, south of Nassau Street and north of Prospect Avenue. We read the revised proposal by the Princeton Permit Parking Task Force (PPTF) with surprise and dismay, because the PPTF singled out our neighborhood and selected other neighborhoods for continued business employee street parking, while eliminating such parking in other neighborhoods. Simply because we were not perceived to be the “most vocal opponents” of the original proposal does not mean we accept all of the town’s overflow parking. The following reasons explain our opposition.
As many residents have pointed out in previous letters, the 2017 Princeton Parking Study (“Study”) commissioned by the town recommended creating surface lot parking for business employees. Such parking would be created by working with owners of underutilized lots, brokering agreements between private lot owners and businesses with parking needs, and expanding on business permit agreements. The Study did NOT recommend issuing permits for street parking. This is for good reason, because off-street parking promotes optimal use of space and minimizes crowding the town’s streets. This also leaves enough street parking for residents, their guests, and visitors to our town.
The town has started to implement the Study’s proposal by securing 240 spaces at the former Westminster Choir College. Even more surface parking spaces appear to be forthcoming, in view of the December 8, 2021 article in Town Topics [Permit Parking Task Force Revising Recommendations in Response to Feedback,” page 1], quoting Councilmember Michelle Pirone Lambros as saying, “We hope to be adding other lots soon and plan to expand our transit options to convey employees and residents to many desired destinations around town.” With the town’s effort to secure off-street surface parking spaces already in motion, we ask that this effort be exhausted and ensure that further spaces are not actually needed before opening up street parking.
Should street parking be allowed, we are deeply concerned about safety to motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike, particularly in view of our proximity to the University’s nearby construction (current and planned). The current construction has closed nearby streets and restricted traffic flow through others, leading to increased traffic through Murray Place and Princeton Avenue. The planned construction of the University’s new School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will further exacerbate this matter. There is no need to prematurely cause increased traffic hazards, particularly if enough off-street parking spaces can be secured.
Thus, we stand with our more vocal neighbors in advocating for a change to the PPTF’s proposal to eliminate street parking for business employees in our neighborhood, particularly when there is already an ongoing effort to acquire off-street parking.