January 5, 2022

Encouraging Residents to Attend Virtual Meeting Regarding Parking

To the Editor:

The Permit Parking Task Force has issued a press release with recommendations that it intends to propose to Princeton Council. These include an extremely controversial recommendation that employees of Princeton businesses receive permits to park on residential streets. If you live on a residential street in Princeton that is within 1/2 mile of Princeton businesses, your street is at risk. Many people also object to the Task Force’s town-wide overnight parking recommendation.

Fortunately, there will be a virtual public meeting, with mayor and Council in attendance, to hear residents’ opinions. Be sure to attend and to speak in opposition to the Task Force’s recommendations.

The meeting is on Tuesday, January 11, at 7 p.m. To obtain the link, on Monday, January 10, go to princetonnj.gov, click on Calendar, go to January 11 and click on Special Council Meeting — Work Session on Permit Parking, click on More Details, then click on the link.

Why should you oppose the “employee permit parking” recommendation?

Because it will hurt the neighborhoods it claims to help. The recommendation applies to two residential neighborhoods (the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood and the Tree Streets neighborhood) that have serious chronic parking problems. Their problems are caused by “overspill” parking — employees, customers, and other non-residents parking on residential streets. Obviously, to solve the problems, employees must park elsewhere, not in these neighborhoods.

Because it is completely unnecessary. There is now an enormous supply of parking for employees within walking distance of businesses. A total of 370 spaces are available. There are 193 on the Westminster Choir College campus that the mayor and Council wisely arranged to rent. And the Task Force itself has identified 177 underutilized metered parking spaces to convert to parking for employees.

Because it will set a dangerous precedent that will hurt other residential neighborhoods in the future. Some members of the Task Force believe that all residential neighborhoods should be forced to accept parking by employees and other non-residents. They want to abolish restrictions like 2-hour parking and “resident permit parking only” that protect residential neighborhoods from overspill parking. Earlier versions of the Task Force’s recommendations proposed employee permit parking in the Western Section and the High School neighborhood. These recommendations were dropped only when residents of those neighborhoods strongly objected. Recently the Task Force added streets to the Tree Streets neighborhood that have never been considered part of the Tree Streets. Residents of those streets are strongly objecting.

For more information, see the excellent website, sensiblestreets.org.

Why should you oppose the “town-wide overnight parking” recommendation?

The current informal system works well. The police receive an average of only 11 requests a day. The Task Force’s recommendation bureaucratizes, monetizes, and arbitrarily limits these requests, while actually increasing the burden on police.

If the Task Force’s recommendations are approved by Council, the W-J and Tree Streets neighborhoods will be harmed, no residential neighborhood in Princeton will be safe from non-resident parking, and overnight parking will be more difficult.

Attend the January 11 meeting and speak in opposition.

Phyllis Teitelbaum
Hawthorne Avenue