November 16, 2022

Witherspoon Street to Reopen For a Month During Holidays

By Anne Levin

Following a ceremony marking the swearing in of new Police Chief Jonathan Bucchere and Captain Christopher Tash at Princeton Council’s meeting on Monday evening, November 14, the governing body introduced some ordinances, approved others, and heard reports.

Among the reports was the first phase of the Witherspoon Street Improvement Project. Land Use Engineer Jim Purcell said work will temporarily shut down on December 10 and resume around the beginning of 2023, to allow for holiday-related shopping and dining.

The project has been delayed due to several utility conflicts over the past few weeks.

“When they [workers] leave, the roadway will be open to the traffic, the service lane will be open for loading and unloading, and the extended curb at Spring Street will be completed,” he said. “Remaining work to be done will be to replace the existing sidewalk currently used by pedestrians.”

Purcell added that the entire site “will be left in safe condition. We’ll work with them to make sure that everything remains safe and clear for the month they’ll be gone.”

Scheduled reports on the Special Improvement District and the Climate Action Plan were tabled, as were an ordinance related to public parking spaces for charging electric vehicles and a settlement agreement with Princeton Community Television.

Council introduced an ordinance prohibiting the use of public sidewalks for bicycle riding, roller skating, and skateboards on some selected streets in town that were left out of the original ordinance. Among the areas included are the north side of Nassau Street, both sides of Bank Street and Chambers Street, Palmer Square, sections of Witherspoon Street, and the west side of South Tulane Street between Nassau Street and Spring Street. The full list is available in the agenda packet on the town’s website,

An ordinance was also introduced for the expansion of outdoor dining, put into place during the pandemic, and extended to November 30, 2024. Public hearings on both ordinances will be held at the November 28 meeting.

Council approved an ordinance for one-hour free parking in the Spring Street Garage seven days a week, and free parking on certain holidays during the first phase of the Witherspoon Street Improvement Project.

Representing the Permit Parking Task Force, Councilman David Cohen said residents of the Tree Streets and Jugtown neighborhoods have reported abuse of the town’s overnight parking rules, which have not been enforced since the onset of the pandemic. “Police are very ready to begin enforcing those restrictions again,” he said. “They will spend a few weeks giving warnings to people, so they aren’t surprised with tickets out of the blue. But they said they would like a sense from Council that we support restarting the enforcement.”

Councilwoman Eve Niedergang said she was concerned about communicating that information. “There are people who moved in during COVID and don’t know from ‘no overnight parking.’ So we need to make sure we reach everyone, and warnings are given very aggressively.”

The task force is looking to ordinance a simple provision allowing people to sign up for guest permits, Cohen said.

A resolution for a professional services agreement with WSP USA to design rectangular rapid flashing beacons at the intersections of Route 206 with Mansgrove Road and Herrontown Road was approved.

The next meeting of Council is Monday, November 28 at 7 p.m.