On October 3 the Princeton Borough Council narrowly approved Princeton University’s plan to move the Dinky train station from University Place, across from McCarter Theater, to a spot 460 feet south to make room for a major new arts community. But the move did little to soothe bad feelings generated by several months of wrangling over the plan.
The council approved a revised version of the university’s Memorandum of Understanding, which presents the university’s views on how the move would benefit the borough. The revised memorandum reflects acknowledgments of public concern over the planned move, particularly in the areas of traffic.
According to the revised memorandum, the university will be part of a joint task force charged with studying transit and traffic issues related to a relocated Dinky station, establish a $500,000 transit trust fund that will be managed by community and university representatives, and install a trio of pedestrian crossings over three years. The memorandum also extends a possible light rail easement from 50 to 65 years.
The Princeton Township Committee still must approve the revised memorandum. But even if it does, the Dinky project might still get hung up in court. Also on October 3 citizen group Save the Dinky filed a lawsuit to stop the relocation of the station. The suit cites a clause in the 1984 deal the university made with NJ Transit, when the school bought the station from the agency, that Princeton could not move the terminus of the Dinky line more than 170 feet to the south. The suit also claims that the school did extend the line that distance in 1987.