I was saddened to learn that the Princeton Regional Planning Board has approved the University’s plans for the Lewis arts center and the Dinky (Campus Notebook, Feb. 6). The arts center is a fine project and should be built right away. But moving the Dinky is a needless mistake, for which the University won approval only by dishonorably using the arts-center project as a stalking horse.
The University will move the Dinky terminus 460 feet out of town, and interpose a long staircase between it and town, and interpose a road between it and town, and move drop-off parking from University Place to a location many traffic stops and pedestrian crossings farther out of town. All for the purpose not of building the arts center, but instead in order to build that interposing road, which will provide better vehicle access to a University parking lot (see the model pictured in PAW’s story and the plans on the University’s website). This will degrade Dinky use, burden traffic on Alexander Road while sandwiching this key route out of town between University-controlled properties, and, in an age of environmental crisis, destroy 460 feet of existing, electrified right-of-way in order to make it easier to park cars. It also will prevent the possibility of someday extending the Dinky into town (search “full and half Kornhauser” on Google for details) and further electrifying Princeton transit.
The Dinky is a genuinely unique asset, which could be extended to turn Princeton into a model of small-town green living, complete with electrified access to major cities. Instead, it will be trashed for petty, private, polluting purposes. Shame on the University.