While Witherspoon StrEAT — the reduction of Witherspoon Street to one lane — was an immediate solution to the need for socially distanced outdoor dining setups, it is also a test run for more permanent changes to the downtown corridor between Nassau and Green streets.
Princeton Council has entered into an agreement with traffic engineering firm McMahon Associates to conduct a study on three possible options for the area between Nassau and Spring streets.
“It’s been in the concept planning process since February,” municipal engineer Deanna Stockton explained at the October 12 Council meeting. The three main options under consideration are to keep it as a two-way street, to adopt the COVID pilot with a one-way northbound street, or to close that stretch to vehicle traffic entirely.
There are also variations to the configurations of sidewalks and parking and loading areas under consideration. Other possibilities include hybrid models in which, for instance, the street is open to cars during the week but closed to traffic on the weekends.
McMahon Associates’ role is to “investigate, to gather data, and do an analysis of those three options. It’ll be using available big data that represents the traffic that was in operation prior to COVID,” Stockton said. “I know there was a lot of concern that we can’t use the COVID traffic volumes as a gauge for what to expect once life returns to the new normal, so they do have the ability to use this big data source to get a better picture of the anticipated traffic and then project into the future.”
The study is expected to take six to seven weeks, at which point Council will see draft recommendations.
More information on the Witherspoon Street improvement project as well as diagrams of potential road layouts can be seen online.
Aspire presents an Elm Road designer showhouse
Aspire Design and Home Magazine is giving Princetonians a chance at a novel experience this November: setting foot inside someone else’s house.
In partnership with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Fox and Roach Realtors, Aspire is presenting a Princeton showhouse at 221 Elm Road. The brand new home has been furnished and decorated by New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania-based interior designers including Princeton’s own Judy King.
The home will be open for viewing Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from Nov. 1 through 22. Registration for timed entry tickets is required via EventBrite. The $25 to $30 admission fee benefits scholarships for aspiring interior design students from underrepresented communities. All visitors will be required to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.aspireshowhouse.com/princeton.
Zoning Board updates
The Zoning Board of Adjustment was scheduled to hear two applications at its October 28 meeting, after the Echo went to press.
One application is for 22 Stockton Street, a property owned by Trinity Church that until late 2019 was occupied by Trinity Counseling Service. The counseling center relocated to 353 Nassau Street, and the church seeks to convert the Stockton Street space to offices. The church requires a variance for the office use in a residential zone — the counseling use was a permitted conditional use — as well as a sign variance.
At 29 Green Street owner/applicant Sam Boraie is seeking numerous variances to construct a new home in the Witherspoon-Jackson historic district. Variances relate to floor area ratio, required lot area and width, rear and side-yard setbacks, impervious coverage, and to permit two driveways as well as a main entrance not oriented to the street. The plan also requires approval from the Historic Preservation Commission.