On Monday, 21 December 2020, Princeton Council voted unanimously in favor of Ordinance #2020-51 which makes permanent the current one-way configuration on Witherspoon Street between Nassau St and Spring St.
The timing of the ordinance is propitious, as NJDOT is in the process of redesigning the pedestrian crossing at Nassau St and Witherspoon St. Actual construction on the street is expected to start in 2022.
Opinions on Ordinance #2020-51 in numbers:
A petition to make the street more people-friendly garnered more than 1100 signatures. In addition, the ordinance was the subject of numerous public comments: a total of 65 at the Council meetings of December 7 (when it was introduced) and December 21, as well as 19 letters in the Town Topics.
The latter included a letter from business owners concerned that the change would negatively impact businesses. The remaining 18 letters expressed support for a more people-friendly street; among them was a letter from another group of business owners, who are ready for the change and even advocated for a pedestrian thoroughfare.
The idea of an all-pedestrian option received overwhelming support from residents as well: Of the 58 people whose comments at the Council meetings supported the one-way configuration, 81% asked that the street be made into a pedestrian plaza, while many acknowledged the necessity for it to be open at set times, to allow access for service vehicles and take-out customers.