Princeton residents need to speak out against latest parking permit plan at special meeting Jan. 11
To the Editor:
The Princeton Permit Parking Task Force has issued a press release with recommendations that it intends to propose to Princeton Council. These include an extremely controversial recommendation that employees of Princeton businesses receive permits to park on residential streets. If you live on a residential street in Princeton that is within 1/2 mile of Princeton businesses, your street is at risk. Many people also object to the task force’s town-wide overnight parking recommendation.
Fortunately, there will be a virtual public meeting, with Mayor and Council in attendance, to hear residents’ opinions. Be sure to attend and to speak in opposition to the task force’s recommendations.
The meeting is on Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. To obtain the link—on Monday, January 10, check the town’s website: princetonnj.gov. Click on “Calendar.” Go to January 11 and click on “Special Council Meeting—Work Session on Permit Parking. ”Click on “More Details.” Then click on the link.
Why should you oppose the “employee permit parking” recommendation?
Because it will hurt the neighborhoods it claims to help. The recommendation applies to two residential neighborhoods (the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood and the Tree Streets neighborhood) that have serious chronic parking problems. Their problems are caused by “overspill” parking—employees, customers, and other non-residents parking on residential streets. Obviously, to solve the problems, employees must park elsewhere, NOT in these neighborhoods.
Because it is completely unnecessary. There is now an enormous supply of parking for employees within walking distance of businesses. A total of 370 spaces are available. There are 193 on the Westminster Choir College campus that the Mayor and Council wisely arranged to rent. And the task force itself has identified 177 underutilized metered parking spaces to convert to parking for employees.
Because it will set a dangerous precedent that will hurt other residential neighborhoods in the future. Some members of the task force believe that all residential neighborhoods should be forced to accept parking by employees and other non-residents. They want to abolish restrictions like 2-hour parking and “resident permit parking only” that protect residential neighborhoods from overspill parking. Earlier versions of the task force’s recommendations proposed employee permit parking in the Western Section and the High School neighborhood. These recommendations were dropped only when residents of those neighborhoods strongly objected. Recently the task force added streets to the Tree Streets neighborhood that have never been considered part of the Tree Streets. Residents of those streets are strongly objecting.
For more information, see the excellent website, sensiblestreets.org.
Why should you oppose the “town-wide overnight parking” recommendation? The current informal system works well. The police receive an average of only 11 requests a day. The task force’s recommendation bureaucratizes, monetizes, and arbitrarily limits these requests, while actually increasing the burden on police.
If the task force’s recommendations are approved by Council, the Witherspoon-Jackson and Tree Streets neighborhoods will be harmed, no residential neighborhood in Princeton will be safe from non-resident parking, and overnight parking will be more difficult.
Attend the Jan. 11 meeting and speak in opposition to the current parking permit task force proposals.
Absolutely I agree – do show up for the Jan 11th meeting and let us all stop this horror. Residential streets are for the residents to use as they want and need ..at no cost to them. This is how it works all over the world – in big cities like New York City and London etc., and in small towns everywhere. Businesses need to deal with their employee parking issues in other ways – not by imposing horrible rules, and inconveniences, and costs on residents. Let’s keep Princeton a nice livable place for PEOPLE.
The Horror? Of employees parking on your street for part of the day? Wow! The entitlement is off-the charts. These employees are folks working in and serving YOUR community. They are often working at small businesses owned by folks who are your neighbors (and fellow tax-payers). Living in a COMMUNITY is about give-and-take and collectively finding solutions to problems for which the community is confronted. Providing parking on some underutilized asphalt FOR A FEE to people who work in your community seems completely reasonable. Clearly not for folks who view the pavement in front of their property as theirs and theirs alone. Will the next step be asking people walking through YOUR neighborhood to cross the street when they approach YOUR sidewalk?
370 parking spaces hardly constitutes “enormous supply.” If we conservatively estimate each business in downtown Princeton employs 10 people (my workplace personally has more than double that), that’s not even enough for the 44 businesses in Palmer Square, let alone shops on Nassau and Witherspoon streets.
You might say that if employees can’t find parking here, then they should work elsewhere, but if that were the case many of the businesses in Princeton simply wouldn’t have staff — residents of a town where the median income is well over $100,00 aren’t taking these $15/hr food service and retail jobs.
Many of the houses on the affected streets have driveways, and residents without driveways will get a free permit, so additional costs will only apply to people with multiple cars. We could just as easily say people without enough driveway space shouldn’t own more than one car.
I’ve also seen entreaties for employees to park in the Spring Street garage, which is not financially feasible for many. The proposed street parking permits for employees cost $30/month — monthly permits for the Spring Street garage cost 6x that.
Presumably residents enjoy patronizing local businesses, which makes the lack of consideration these same residents have for local employees disconcerting.
Employees? Not PEOPLE.
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