To the Editor:
I’d again like to make some comments regarding the Princeton Permit Parking Task Force and the odyssey that we, the community, have all been swept up in during this past year, due to their efforts and actions.
I’d like to preface this by stating that I can only imagine how crushing it must be at times to be dead set on something – put in the time and work on it – and then have it met with mass criticism, opposition and unpopularity. On this, the Princeton Permit Parking Task Force members have my sincere empathy. I’ve been there in my own endeavors.
With that said, it is vital, for the Princeton Permit Parking Task Force to actually listen to their constituency and not simply dismiss their concerns; confident their own opinions are 100% correct – thus medicine that must just be accepted. I would ask them to consider the tremendous strain their efforts have put upon many in the community, who have felt under siege throughout this past year. One would think that with so many residents making their views and concerns known directly at meetings, as well as in public forums and letters, that some heed would be paid, and that the Princeton Permit Parking Task Force would have taken these strongly expressed concerns into account. Instead, it appeared that the task force members were exceedingly dismissive, stubbornly entrenched in their ideas, and determined to do what they pleased. They have demonstrated this repeatedly, through a lack of transparency and with a seeming vested interest in favoring the desires of businesses over residents – all culminating in a decided disinterest in these expressed concerns. Their efforts to push through with their plans during times when people were generally away – distracted in the summertime, and recently during the holidays – optically appear exceedingly disingenuous.
While it’s refreshing to finally see that some effort has been made in response to the overwhelming push-back, it is still troubling and not nearly enough. At best it needs more work via actual concerted input from concerned and engaged residents; at worst it should be scrapped and begun anew with a fresh, more transparent process and outlook that engenders trust. The fact that the plan continues to include complicated conditional rules which charge residents for permits to park on their own streets in their own neighborhoods is simply a non-starter and needs to be scrapped. Something simple and all-encompassing for the already over-extended taxpaying resident along the lines of, say, two gratis street permits per household, is what’s in order. It’s unacceptable to set a precedent of granting businesses permits to park on residential streets. It’s inappropriate to view residential streets as a resource to solve businesses’ obligation to provide parking for their employees. Resources like the downtown parking garages and the Westminster Choir College are appropriate and should be vigorously pursued, and the residential streets should left to be just that…residential.
There is more to be said and considered. Many letters are out there and are still coming in. I strongly urge the Princeton Permit Parking Task Force to read them and truly give them the respect and consideration that they are due.