I enjoyed reading the article about the new Lewis Center for the Arts and learning more about it and William H. Whyte (U.S. 1, May 30). As the daughter of a NYC city planner and someone who is an avid walker, I’m always interested in how the issues of walking, driving, and parking are addressed.
I recently drove to a 2 p.m. ticketed event near the new arts center. Being no stranger to central New Jersey, I gave myself two hours for what should be a 40-minute drive. (If there were public transportation from my home to Princeton, I would have chosen that.) I know that West Garage is free on the weekends, and my plan was to park there. However, the road to West Garage was blocked off (Why? And the signage is poor and hard to read), and I couldn’t find any legal street parking nearby.
New Jersey is not a state where one can leisurely ponder the merits of parking on one road or another while stopped at an intersection, and so I headed due north and eventually found a two-hour spot on Witherspoon, near where the old hospital used to be. By this time it was 1:30. I ate some crackers that I keep in the car while I thought about my options. I could walk quickly and get to the event in time, but then I’d have to run back at intermission and move the car and then run back to the event. Or I could walk to the event, explain the parking situation or lack thereof, and ask for a refund.
I walked to the event and asked for a refund based on lack of legal parking, and I was graciously given a refund. I walked back to my car and headed home. Before I arrived at my car, the rain began, but — like William H. Whyte — I still found my walk to be “soggy but manageable.” In fact, the walk was the most enjoyable part of my several hours to, from, and in Princeton. If I lived anywhere at all in Princeton, I would walk to every event. I would even walk from Palmer Square to Carnegie Center. It’s a great town with lots of wonderful things to do and places to see, as long as you can walk to them or find parking.
I may be viewed as a nut by people who would rather drive than walk, and that’s fine with me. To each his (or her) own transportation journey. But shouldn’t “driving” imply that there will be “parking” at the end of the journey? And if there isn’t parking, what then?
I’ll ponder this topic over the summer, when I travel by bus or train to NYC for a couple of ticketed events. In any case, once I get to the city, I know I can walk.
Editor’s Note: The writer was a victim of both poor signage and bad timing. Her excursion to Princeton took place Saturday, June 2 — the busiest day of the university’s annual reunions weekend. Ordinarily West Garage and most of the lot between it and Faculty Road are good options for weeknight and weekend parking.