The Princeton Council will review plans for the redesign of the intersection of Witherspoon Street at the governing body’s public Zoom meeting at 7 p.m. Monday night. Those plans include the removal of the kiosk near the intersection of Nassau Street and Witherspoon Street.
Several years ago, officials proposed that the two kiosks on Nassau Street near Witherspoon Street and Vandeventer Avenue be replaced with electronic billboards. The proposal upset some residents, who argued that the kiosks were a resource for the whole community where anyone could post information about an event. Because of the public outcry at the time, the council scrapped the idea of removing the kiosks, even though some officials considered them to be eyesores.
Officials at the New Jersey Department of Transportation now want to remove the kiosk near Witherspoon Street to make way for new traffic signal equipment that requires a larger signal controller box and more space. The new box can’t be placed inside the kiosk because of access and ventilation concerns. The Princeton Historic Preservation Commission has weighed in and doesn’t object to the removal of the kiosk. The council will discuss whether the kiosk is obsolete or could be moved elsewhere.
The meeting agenda is packed with other items for discussion. The council will hear a presentation from the local board of health about racism as a public health crisis. Officials will also discuss what to do with federal funding for the municipality from the American Rescue Plan. Also on the agenda is a public hearing and final vote on an ordinance that changes zoning regulations for parking at the Princeton Shopping Center, an ordinance prohibiting cannabis businesses in Princeton, and an ordinance that would enable the municipality to borrow $630,000 for parking utility improvements.
Officials are also slated to vote on transferring the management of Princeton’s General Assistance Program for individuals, formerly known as welfare, to the Mercer County Board of Social Services. About a decade ago, elected officials proposed the transfer of the program to the county as a cost-saving measure, but local human services advocates lobbied at the time to keep the management of the program in-house so that those being served by the program would not have to go to Trenton to apply for benefits and meet with caseworkers.
A contract for interim transit services with WeDriveU for $44,000 is on the agenda. The service would replace the FreeB shuttle, at least for now. Officials will also accept a grant from the state to purchase police body cameras. The council is slated to award a bid of $218,000 to Messercola Excavating for a storm sewer improvement project, and to hire a consultant for $27,500 for floodproofing design services for the Pretty Brook and Winfield pumping stations. The council will also vote on shared services agreements with the library and school district for technology support and network services.
Also on the agenda is a contract for $38,000 to complete a wall at the municipal fueling station on Mount Lucas Road. The council will also approve special budget funding from the New Jersey Department of Health for a vulnerable populations outreach coordinator ($140,475), operations ($34,000), COVID-19 vaccination supplemental funding ($50,000), and a COVID-19 generalist ($116,667).