Princeton parking permit plan is bad for the environment

Dear Editor,

I enjoy bicycling around our town. I commend the Bike Advisory Committee for proposing new bike lanes in Princeton. The more people bicycle to work, to school, and to do errands, the fewer cars we will have clogging Princeton streets and spewing out emissions. 

I am therefore bemused by a plan proposed by the Permit Parking Task Force. They seek to install a bike lane on Wiggins Street and Hamilton Avenue. This would require finding parking for local business employees who park there now. Fair enough. But instead of stopping there, the Task Force has developed a massive plan to park far more cars— ALL employees of Princeton businesses—and put them on residential streets. Their plan is targeted at all streets that are within 1/2 mile of any Princeton business. This means that all the quiet residential neighborhoods within a 15-minute walk of Princeton businesses would become busy parking lots for employees. 

With today’s climate change concerns, this is the very last thing we should be doing. We should encourage them to walk, bicycle, and take mass transit. Giving all employees of Princeton businesses low-cost parking on residential streets will actively encourage employees to drive to work. This is inconsistent with the goals of Princeton’s Climate Action Plan. By contrast, Princeton University gives employees incentives not to drive, but to commute to work by train or bus. That is the direction that the town should be going, to reduce driving. 

Furthermore, many employers currently subsidize parking for their employees. The Task Force’s plan would give a free ride to employers who do not. That would encourage employers to stop their subsidies, worsening the problem. 

The Permit Parking Task Force’s plan is based on an unsound premise and needs to be changed.


Anthony Lunn
Hawthorne Avenue

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