The governing body of Princeton is considering implementing a parking plan that would provide permits to residents with no driveways or limited parking. The plan would also try to meet the “unmet need” for employee parking for between 550 and more than 1,000 people who work at businesses in town.
At a work session of the Princeton Council on Tuesday night via Zoom, more than three dozen people weighed in on the plan during public comment. The five-and-a-half-hour meeting was attended by more than 180 people.
Business owners in town support the plan that would allow them to each receive up to 10 parking permits to park on residential streets in town, “underutilized meters,” and municipal-controlled lots. Permits would cost $30 a month.
The plan is unpopular with many residents. While most residents support the idea of giving permits to people without driveways, they oppose the idea of residents having to pay to park on their own streets in a town where residents pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. Others oppose allowing employees to park in residential neighborhoods, arguing it will lead to more traffic and congestion and will encourage more people to drive rather than walk or take public transportation. Some said the fees that would be charged to businesses should be higher.
At the end of the meeting, council members weighed in and asked questions. No vote was taken on the parking permit proposal. A future date will be set to discuss the issue further. But council members seemed to signal their support for the parking plan or most aspects of it, in spite of opposition from residents, arguing that the move is necessary to promote a vibrant downtown with successful businesses. Residents countered that it should be the responsibility of business owners to pay for parking for their employees and that the cost of parking should be factored into lease negotiations with landlords, who charge steep rents to Princeton businesses.
The Witherspoon Jackson neighborhood, tree street area, and Jugtown neighborhoods would be the first areas where a permit parking system would be implemented. Other areas would be added later. Areas with the greatest opposition to the plan, including the Western Section, were eliminated from the original proposal last month but could be added at a later time.
Editor’s Note: This story will be updated with full quotes from officials and public comments \on Thursday.