From the fall of 2013 until the summer of 2014, Dinky shuttle riders will have to catch the train at a temporary station located about a quarter mile south of the existing station.
Princeton University officials told the Princeton Council last night that while the permanent new Dinky station will be build about 460 feet south of the existing station, the temporary station will be built another 750 feet south of that new station.
The temporary station, which will be located about 1,210 feet from the existing dinky station, will be located at the southern end of a new commuter lot that is expected to be built by the fall.
“If you are driving to the Dinky you will have no problem pulling in, parking, and getting on and off the train,” Princeton University Vice President Bob Durkee said. “But if you are walking, this is a long walk. We are proposing to put an express bus service in place back and forth between Princeton and Princeton Junction.”
The bus would make stops at the temporary station and at Princeton Junction. Riders would need to show an NJ Transit ticket for the Princeton to Princeton Junction portion of the ride to take the bus. Peak hour trains would be met by Tiger Transit buses, Durkee said.
The new permanent station and transit plaza are expected to open in July of 2014, Durkee said during a presentation about the timeline for the construction of the school’s $330 million arts and transit project.
The school has created a website and an email alert system to keep people updated on the project schedule.
“The first part will be most disruptive. We hope to get through it as fast as possible,” Durkee said. “It’s a large, complicated, complex project. Undoubtedly flexibility will be required as we go along. We are not sure we can tell you today what the timing is going to be. It’s likely to get modified as we go forward, but we’ve tried to anticipate as well as we can the steps necessary to minimize disruption to move the project along as quickly as we can.”
This spring, demolition will begin, moving south to north along Alexander, Durkee said. New crosswalks will be installed on Alexander Street , and there will be a period where there will be no parking or sidewalk usage on the east side of Alexander Street. This preparation phase will last until about mid June. Durkee said traffic will not be affected at all during this phase. The Wawa will remain open in its current location until the new Wawa opens at the new station.
Starting in mid June, for a six-week period, a portion of Alexander Street will be closed while utilities are placed underground. A patrol officer will be at the intersection of University Place and College Avenue to make sure traffic moves smoothly, Durkee said. Alexander Street will be closed between College Avenue and University Place from mid October until February of 2014. A bypass road will be created, Durkee said.
“Beginning in July of 2014, the transit plaza is open, the new Dinky station is open, the new road in to the garage is open, the traffic light in to the transit project is in place, and the project has now shrunk to the parameter around the three arts buildings,” Durkee said. “I’m not sure whether the work on cafe and restaurant will be completed at this time. I think it most probably will be. It is not entirely clear when we can lift the fences and take that out of the construction area. Nor do we know when it will open. We thought the summer of 2015 for the cafe, and the summer of 20116 for the restaurant. But that will really be up to the operators to decide when they are ready to open. From our view the sooner the better of course.”
The remainder of the project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2017, Durkee said.
A handful of lawsuits that oppose the transit portion of the project are still pending. Asked by a Council member what impact the lawsuits would have on construction, town lawyer Ed Schmierer said the University can proceed with the approved plans because there is no stay or court order preventing the university from moving forward.