The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division rejected anappealfiled by “Save the Dinky,” a local organization comprised of Princeton residents who oppose the University’s decision to relocate the Dinky train station, last Wednesday, according to official court records provided by Peter McAleer, communications manager for New Jersey Courts.
University Media Relations Specialist Min Pullan said via email that the University was pleased with the decision made by the Appellate Division.
In their complaint, “Save the Dinky” challenged the NJ Transit’s decision to move the Dinky line branch station 460 feet south of the current site in order to develop an Arts and Transit center.
“The people that got involved with this side of the case thought that there were some bad decisions being made from a historic structure standpoint [and] from a public transportation standpoint that were to the detriment of the traveling public and to the benefit of one large private real estate developer [the University],” said Philip Rosenbach, the attorney representing “Save the Dinky.”
He added that moving the station further from the center of town made the move more inconvenient for travelers.
Construction for thenew stationbegan in 2013 and the new dinky started operating in November 2014.
According to court documents, the University, its Board of Trustees and New Jersey Transit were named as defendants in one case filed by “Save the Dinky.” Asecond casewas filed as an appeal in conjunction with the Board of Directors of New Jersey Transit Corporation and the New Jersey Association for Railroad Passengers against the New Jersey Transit Corporation. They were both argued on Oct. 19, 2015 and decided on Feb. 17, 2016. In the case filed against the University, the plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment regarding the 1984 agreement in which the University purchased the Dinky station; they also sought for the move to be prohibited. In the second case, the plaintiffs — Save the Dinky and individuals who use the Princeton branch rail line — appealed the June 2013 NJ Transit resolution to relocate the Dinky.
Rosenbach explained that there was widespread opposition and that there were many challenges to the University’s decision to move the station. Previously, there weresix court lawsuitsto this proposed move, one of them before the state’s Historic Preservation Council, anothertwoin the Chancery court of New Jersey, another direct appeal to NJ Transit and a final appeal before the Transportation Safety Board.
Rosenbach noted that he believed all of these lawsuits to be decided, none in favor of opposing the move.
The two appeals filed to the Chancery Divisions are dated June 20, 2013 and Dec. 23, 2013.
According to Rosenbach, the Superior Court most recently rejected the Chancery court appeals and the direct challenge to NJ Transit.
“The Superior Court action was, in the broadest sense, a challenge to an interpretation of a 1984 agreement that was later modified between NJ Transit and Princeton University that contemplated what eventually took place,” Rosenbach remarked.
This agreement encompassed the University’s purchase of the Dinky station from NJ Transit. “Save the Dinky” challenged the interpretation of this agreement, which was ultimately decided in favor the University and NJ Transit.According to the NJ Transit website, NJ Transit still operates the dinky.
Rosenbach added that in response to the rejection of their cases, the Save the Dinky group will be evaluating its options and decisions.