Recent “alternative transportation” conversations in Princeton have tended to emphasize improvements for bicycling. However, events such as last October’ shocking accident at Washington Road and the canal towpath call for additional attention to pedestrian needs in and around the town.
Last June, Planet Princeton readers provided lively feedback on a survey about bicycling issues. I thought I’d repeat the experiment with questions specific to walkers. The more perspectives on this, the better:
- Long-time residents
- Recent arrivals
- People who live “downtown” and those who live in less walkable areas
- People who are aging in place
- Members of the ADA community
- People who need to walk (i.e., don’t have a car)
- Young people up to 18
- Young adults
- People who HAVE young kids
- People who work, but don’t reside, in town
- Everyone else!
Herewith, my questions about walking in Princeton, whatever your purpose and wherever you walk. Please feel free in your comments to add your own questions and answers.
- Where do you walk in Princeton?
- For what purposes do you walk?
- At what time of day do you walk?
- Is walking mostly functional for you, or something you do for pleasure?
- What do you like most about walking in Princeton?
- Would you walk more if you could? And if so, what prevents you from walking more? Is walking not fast enough? Not pleasant or safe enough? Not interesting enough?
- Do you think walking in Princeton is safe? Where is safe, and where is unsafe? If there are things that concern you, what are they? (e.g., quality of paths, lighting, public safety, traffic safety…)
- Is walking in Princeton interesting or boring? What would make it more interesting? Where interesting, where boring?
- If you have children, do you let them walk for transportation, or do you discourage them? Why or why not? And where do you let them walk, and why?
- Do your children, if you have any, walk more or less than you did when you were growing up?
- Do you wish your children could be more independent? Do you think street safety is an obstacle to their being more independent? Are you more concerned about crime safety or traffic safety?
- Do you wish your children would walk to school more, or that they had walked to school more?
- Are there any scary pedestrian accidents that are seared in your mind? How has that accident changed your behavior, whether as a walker, driver, biker, etc.?
15. What do you think it would take for cars to drive more carefully around pedestrians?
16. Would you personally mind driving slower yourself if that meant everyone else were also driving slower?
17. What kinds of drivers pose the greatest challenges to walking in our town? Do you think these drivers are “outsiders” or neighbors?
18. Overall, do you think pedestrian safety and comfort is an important issue? Why or why not?
19. If a genie offered you three wishes to improve conditions for pedestrians and walking around town, what would you wish for?
21. How do you feel about an “all-directions” walk phase for the traffic signal at Washington Road and Nassau Street (a phase where no cars are moving and pedestrians can cross anywhere)? Are you reacting to this question as a walker or as a driver?
22. Do you wish drivers would yield to pedestrians in crosswalks more reliably? Where is this particularly an issue?Should Princeton police enforce this more aggressively?