Maximizing an incredible community asset: Thoughts on the Dinky, parking permits, and the Alexander Street closure

Dear Editor:

I suspect that a number of folks who live on the Princeton side of the D&R Canal have parking permits at Princeton Junction and would welcome an opportunity to swap those permits for ones at the Princeton station during the Alexander Road closing. And there are at least as many residents of West Windsor and east who would love to use those Junction permits and the Dinky to get to work in Princeton rather than than get snarled in the traffic mess. Especially if the Dinky ride was free… paid for as just another appropriate cost of replacing the bridges. Have our elected officials, Princeton University, NJ Transit, the Princeton Merchant Association, and/or … made any effort to investigate this opportunity that would remove (not just divert to create misery elsewhere) two cars from the congested roadways for each swap?

Also, if the Dinky was owned and operated by a public-private-partnership (PPP) dedicated to improving the quality of life in Princeton, that entity would be collaborating with Princeton University to create a temporary parking area east of the canal, accessible only from Alexander Road, and a temporary “whistler stop” for the Dinky to serve folks going to and or from. Each user of this parking area would also be removing (not just diverting) two cars from the congested roadways (once coming in and once going out). Isn’t it time for us to begin to embrace this incredible asset that history has given us?

Alain Kornhauser and Elizabeth Monroe
Cleveland Lane, Princeton


  1. Supposing further, suppose the Dinky route were paved and various vehicles were licensed to use it–autonomous and professionally driven by NJT, Tiger Transit, and private shuttles.

    These vehicles would provide service not just between 2 specific points with large parking lots but between points throughout the area. Many trips could be completed without cars and parking at all!

    Routes would adjust as demand changes through the day and over time. If a bridge closed for 6 months, routes would arise or shift to meet new demand. With autonomous vehicles so near, tweaking today’s technology seems so limiting.

  2. I do support the permit swap idea. However a temporary stop in between will require probably more infrastructure investment and the Dinky schedule to be modified, which may not be done in a short time.

  3. November 11 is hardly the time to float this idea. We’ve known for nearly a year that this was going to happen.

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