The new Princeton Dinky Station is scheduled to open on Monday, Nov. 17, marking the final stages of the transit portion of Princeton University’s $300 million arts and transit project.
Train service between Princeton and Princeton Junction will be temporarily replaced by bus service from Monday, Nov. 10, to Sunday, Nov. 16. During the temporary closure of the Dinky, bus service will be provided by NJ Transit and Princeton University’s TigerPAWW shuttle. The TigerPaWW shuttle program will end when the new station opens.
An official opening ceremony for the new Princeton Station will be held on Nov. 25 at 1:15 p.m., school officials announced in a news release today.
Architect Rick Joy designed the new Princeton station and Wawa building. The 1,265-square-foot station building will open 30 minutes before the first train each day and close 30 minutes after the last train. There will be canopied platform along the tracks, and ticket vending machines will be located on the platform.
The new station connecting downtown Princeton to Princeton Junction is about 460 feet south of the former historic station buildings on University Place.
The new transit plaza includes short-term parking for Wawa patrons and “kiss-and-ride” parking, a drop-off and pickup area for drivers, bike racks, a new bike rental program, bus stops for NJ Transit, the University-operated TigerTransit and the FreeB, and a taxi stand.
A new road has been constructed leading from Alexander Street to Princeton University’s West Garage. The new North Station Drive will have a traffic signal at the intersection with Alexander Street. Access to the parking garage will be restricted to Princeton University drivers on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., and open to the public in the evenings and on weekends.
The Wawa, which will open Nov. 21 without an interruption in service, will be open 24 hours a day and will have public restrooms. A planted “green roof” tops the new building.
Over the next few years, construction will continue on the dining and arts buildings that are joining the other arts buildings in the area, including McCarter Theatre Center and creative writing and dance spaces in the New South building.
The café and restaurant, to be operated by the Terra Momo Restaurant Group and designed by Joy, will focus on serving locally grown and produced fare. The eateries will be located in the historic former train station buildings.
In summer 2015, a 54-seat pizzeria-style café will open in the former north station building, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as wine and beer. A liquor license has not been obtained for the café yet, school officials said. In fall 2016, the restaurant will open in the south station building formerly used for baggage handling. Terra Momo has proposed a farm-to-table restaurant serving lunch and dinner, with seating for 116 patrons inside and 60 outside. The University will expand the building before Terra Momo begins interior renovations.
Three arts buildings are slated to open by the 2017 fall semester. The arts and transit neighborhood will house the officers for the Lewis Center for the Arts, an art gallery, the Wallace Dance Building and Theater, practice rooms for music students, and a garden. Construction crews are currently working on the building’s concrete foundations and structure, and geothermal well drilling, officials said.
Two lawsuits filed by residents and the group Save the Dinky to stop the train station move are still active at the New Jersey Appellate Division level. One suit challenges the contract between New Jersey Transit and Princeton University for the sale of the historic Dinky Station and land surrounding the station. The other lawsuit challenges the legality of New Jersey Transit’s decision to truncate the Princeton Branch without any public hearing. Two other suits, filed by individual residents, are also still active regarding the zoning changes and the site plan approval for the arts and transit project.