December 21, 2022

Inviting Community to Share Enthusiasm For Proposed Improvements to the Dinky

To the Editor:

Over the past few years, NJ Transit has been working on a plan for improving the rail line between Princeton Station and Princeton Junction (the “Dinky”).  The preferred design concept (“Alternative 1”) is a truly fantastic project! It proposes much more frequent light rail service with added bus service, as well as a bike and walk path alongside the light rail. 

The bike and walk path will allow for safe crossing of Route 1 as well as weekend strolls along a lush, green linear park right in the heart of Central New Jersey. I would love to ride my bike to the West Windsor Farmers Market on Saturday mornings!

The project has light rail and buses so that service can be expanded as the area grows in population and productivity. The extra capacity will be very useful if West Windsor and Plainsboro decide to extend the project eastward, connecting whole communities to economic opportunities. For example, many of the postdocs at the University live at Quail Ridge, Hunter’s Glen, or Fox Run Drive.

More frequent trips will mean reduced waiting times for everyone. Public transit will become a convenient alternative to driving, resulting in fewer trips taken by personal vehicles within the Princeton-West Windsor area, as well as the region broadly. This will reduce congestion on roads and competition for parking, decrease carbon emissions (not everyone can afford an electric car), and reduce the number of microplastics from tire wear entering our waterways and polluting our air.

Great news! When is this fabulous project coming? 

That depends, in part, on us.

In any given year, there might be 50 projects proposed, and funding for only a fraction of them. A clear show of community enthusiasm will help convince decision makers to fund this project. 

Pressure from multiple levels is needed. Sign and share the petition to NJ Transit at Consider also sharing your excitement with the town councils of West Windsor and Princeton; the Mercer Board of County Commissioners; County Executive Hughes; State Sen. Zwicker; New Jersey Assembly members Benson (a huge public transit proponent), Freiman, and Jaffer; and even Gov. Murphy. Let them see our enthusiasm so they know to go to bat for us!

Jessica L. Wilson
Princeton University Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering *23, Undergraduate Class of ’15
Lawrence Drive