To the Editor:
Smart Growth Requires Courage
Land use reform without tax reform? It isn’t going to happen. And it shouldn’t.
Smart growth requires reform of New Jersey’s land use regulations so that the present single-use suburban sprawl pattern of development will be replaced with dense, mixed use centers. This change is frequently touted as a necessary part of the solution to the problems of pollution, over-reliance on fossil fuels, traffic congestion, and the lack of affordable housing.
Proponents of reform deplore the widespread local opposition they encounter. Why would anyone oppose smart growth?
Because proponents of smart growth need to be more honest and accurate in selling their product. They have to admit there are disadvantages to dense development, as examination of police reports will show. They have to admit that without access to jobs, or public transportation, or shopping, dense residential development alone is not an improvement over sprawl. And they have to admit that even the smartest of smart growth development can be expensive to the host community, and that without financial assistance, dense developments do not make fiscal sense in most municipalities.
If dense development brought with it state-funded bicycle and pedestrian-friendly roads, state funding for new police officers and teachers, and state funding for sewer and water infrastructure, then municipalities would welcome density and developers would be able to charge less for their products, thus incidentally helping to ease the affordable housing crunch. Rural and environmentally sensitive municipalities could help the state fund this dense development in appropriate places and in return stay rural, preserve the environment, and stop contributing to sprawl.
But without such tax reform, true land use reform is impossible in New Jersey.
Political courage, anyone?
41 Windsor Drive
Cluster Parking On Route 1?
An open letter to Mayor Hsueh: West Windsor needs a Town Center development plan that will reduce traffic in and around the train station and the east-west bottlenecks; provide more parking spaces than will be needed for the next 25 years; and speed commuters from the public roads to the train, among many other reasons.
In Princeton the community would also benefit from freeing up more space for the Princeton University Art Center; supporting the environmental efforts of the University Sustainability program; and providing overflow parking for Princeton Borough, the planned University Art Center, Princeton Stadium, and McCarter Theater.
Impossible? Not at all, if we think outside the box beyond myopic approaches. As the D’Alessio plan illustrates, swapping Princeton Borough Train parking lot from its congested University-owned site to open University land at the intersection of Route 1 and Alexander Road accomplishes all of the above.
In less area than the present Princeton station parking lot occupies, a multistory parking deck will alleviate both Princeton Borough and Princeton Junction parking deficiencies in an easily accessible location. Parking for up to 1,"800 cars will be efficiently accommodated by building either above the present cloverleaf, or more economically by rerouting the exit ramps around the new deck.
The total area needed to park over 3,"500 cars for the future and house a new intermediate Dinky station to carry commuters to Princeton and Princeton Junction, would require less than 5 acres of idle NJ DOT right-of-way and 2 acres of vacant University property between Alexander Street and the Dinky tracts. And those same five acres would free up about 20 acres at the Princeton Junction Rail Station to afford a superior Town Center plan.
Some years ago I publicly advocated this concept for the University Park site where the 300,"000-square foot Rex-Corp building still awaits its first tenant. This approach would have better served mankind and its developer as a parking deck. It is time now for our communities, developers, and governments to take this initiative before we forever lock Princeton, West Windsor, and thousands of commuters into the eternal congestion that all previous plans will guarantee.
Is this a final and immutable plan? Of course not. It should be evaluated on its own merit and its impact on a Goldin opportunity, without prejudice from poorly conceived attempts to develop smaller, bus-dependent satellite parking lots in communities that are not comparable.
Alfred W. D’Alessio, C.E.
Princeton Junction Fireworks Frivolous
Recently we had yet another absurdity from the West Windsor Township when they again held their inane and wasteful firework display to celebrate the lighting of the community Christmas tree. Three years ago, I had a letter published in your publication bemoaning the waste of taxpayers’ money on this expensive frivolity on a cold winter’s night on the first Sunday in December. Nothing appears to have changed since then and now. With the country about to fall off the cliff into a darker and deeper depression, the foolishness and lack of economic foresight of the township is hard to fathom.
I’m sure the cost of these fireworks is not insignificant and certainly, as I said three years ago, the funds could be better spent.
As all of us cut back on unnecessary spending and the nation struggles to get through the worst financial mess in probably 70 years, why can’t the township demonstrate a modicum of fiscal responsibility?
Mayoral Race Offers Poor Choices
One needs only to look at Charlie Morgan’s record of rudeness, bullying and improper behavior on Council to see that his self described “more businesslike” approach to the office of mayor is a complete fantasy.
His political legacy in West Windsor is ripe with examples to support my opinion. One needs only to do a little research and many of these actions will be uncovered.
A leopard does not change its spots as the saying goes, and Mr. Morgan’s spots are indelible. Mr. Morgan is one of the single most divisive and polarizing elements to ever sit on Council.
People might cast their vote for Mr. Morgan because at this juncture, he is the lesser of two evils. But were another candidate to throw a hat into the ring, Mr. Morgan would quickly find himself on the short end of the electoral stick. For that matter, so would Mayor Hsueh. West Windsor desperately needs that yet unknown third candidate.
Mr. Morgan’s recent actions regarding redevelopment have been nothing more than a transparent act to gain voter favor and set up to his declaration of intention to seek the office of mayor.
West Windsor will suffer its ignorance if it does not review Charlie Morgan’s record of past behavior and actions.
Seeking a more qualified, more professional candidate elsewhere would serve the Township’s best interests.
Voting for the lesser of two evils will not.
Some Good News
In looking forward to the New Year, I wanted to note some good news. About three weeks ago, I returned from Leigh Photographers to Princeton and was able to use for the first time the traffic roundabout at the new Alexander Road crossing. What a wonderful solution to traffic flow at such a key Princeton Junction location.
Having first worked down the road starting in 1978, I never thought I would see the day when that dangerous train bridge could be decommissioned. Having continued to use it the fast few weeks, it is a marvelous addition for the entire driving, biking, and walking community. I offer my sincere compliments to Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh and the entire township staff for bringing this concept to reality.
I also want to highlight the great work the township Police Department carried out the last few months in making sure traffic safely and efficiently moved through town. While traveling most days from Clarksville Road to Nassau Street, I was impressed with the proactive professionalism the police personnel always displayed. The entire project would make a great case study in mutual cooperation.
Lastly, I also want to offer my congratulations again to the mayor for the leadership in the completion of the Grover’s Mill Pond upgrade. Having lived in town for almost 28 years, this too was a project that I thought would never happen. I look forward to next summer with a clear and fresh smelling pond in the heart of West Windsor. Mayor Hsueh and all those who worked on this project over the past decade should feel extremely satisfied with this achievement.
Eric P. Rosenblum
To the Editor:
At the soul of every large endeavor is the heart of its volunteers. Thanks to the efforts of so many, the Plainsboro Township Annual Holiday Drive saw to the needs of those in 83 households. These included those who have lost employment, and the disabled and elderly on limited incomes, many trying to raise grandchildren.
This could not have happened without the generosity of so many in our community. Sincerest thanks to the memberships of Queenship of Mary Roman Catholic Church, the First Presbyterian Church of Plainsboro, and Gospel Fellowship Church. Also the staffs of Novo Nordisk, and Seacastle Chassis; and the staff, parents, and students of all of our schools. We thank our Boy and Girl Scout Troops, the WW-P High School Interact Club, Mrs. Dorothy Hanle, and the Michael Soderland family. Also, to Larry Bayern, P.B.A. Local 319 and the Plainsboro Township C.O.R.E. team, especially Sergeant Joseph Jankowski, and Officer Kevin Lowery. Thanks to Howard and Ginger Hunter, Lucy Anderson and Becky Mathers. Thanks to staff members Mary Testori, Teresa Carson, Maureen Rice and Arthur Ryba; to Local Assistance Board members Mary Zappy and Mushfik Nabi, and to Larry Bayern, perennial volunteer.
I am particularly grateful to all of the volunteers who responded to my requests for manpower (and those who kept things moving while I was hospitalized ). Were it not for you, all would have been lost.
Jan M. Bayern, C.S.W.
Director, Department of Municipal
Welfare, Township of Plainsboro