Just two or three years ago, one of us at U.S. 1 had the bright idea of starting an online news site that would cover shopping news. That’s right, shopping. If some people see shopping as essentially a sport, then it made sense to us to cover it as such.
If a merchant had a special deal, that would be a story. If a store was holding a demonstration of a certain product, that could be previewed before it happened, reviewed afterward. We imagined that a dedicated shopper might subscribe to our Twitter feed, or like us on Facebook, or receive our E-mail updates. The best part: All of it would be free — to the shoppers and even to the merchants. We figured we would build the audience first and then figure out how to make some money.
Armed with our smart phone we walked up and down Nassau Street, dropping in on merchants to introduce the new service, called simply “PrincetonDeals.” Everyone liked the idea, especially the price. But there was one small hitch: We were counting on the merchants to keep us posted on their deals via E-mail. And we were counting on them following our efforts via their smartphones, laptops, or even old-fashioned computers. From our first excursion on Nassau Street it was clear they had other things to occupy their time.
This week’s cover story, beginning on page 34, describes two pilot projects aimed at using online technology to link Princeton merchants with their customers. We note that both initiatives build on long-established shopping tools — the debit card and customer loyalty card. We will watch with interest to see how these new Princeton deals work out.
#b#To the Editor: Make Streets Safe#/b#
With more and more people involved in outdoor activities, including bicycling, jogging, and walking to where we need to go, New Jersey is now ranked as the eighth healthiest state in the union.
So it was wonderful to hear from state transportation secretary James Simpson that the Christie administration is actively promoting policies and setting budget priorities that make it safer and easier for all of us to move around on foot. New Jersey is now the national leader on implementing Complete Streets policies, so all state-funded transportation projects are designed with bicycle and pedestrian safety and access as leading priories.
The flip side of the coin is that, given our very high population density, pedestrian safety continues to be a problem for many who venture out — especially older New Jerseyans. The latest Tri-State Transportation Campaign study shows that older pedestrians in our state are killed at an appalling rate of almost one per week.
What to do? AARP believes that elected leaders in the 16 of 21 counties and 500 of 565 municipalities which have yet to adopt Complete Streets policies must take steps to adopt and implement safe streets policies if we are to bring the fatality rates down.