At its meeting on Tuesday, April 26, the Princeton Town Council reviewed plans for the Graduate Hotel construction, heard from organizers of a May Day march, and recognized the Climate Action Plan Emissions Reduction Strategies (CAPERS) team from Sustainable Princeton.
The Council heard from the team representing the Graduate Hotel, a few weeks after they had announced to the Council that construction for the hotel would force Chambers Street to temporarily become a one-lane road. The Council had asked the team to work with municipal staff to see if there was a way to prevent this, but they said it is not possible.
Multiple Council members noted that when the project was originally presented on Nov. 8, there was no mention of converting the street into a one-way road.
“We are thrilled about this project in theory,” Councilmember Eve Niedergang said to the representatives. “But I’m deeply distressed that we were given assurances that, upon closer examination, you couldn’t live up to, and there is some trust lost there.”
According to the current plans given to the Council, Chambers Street, which runs perpendicular to Nassau Street, will become a one-way north-bound road for 20 months, down from the originally-estimated 24 months, until December 2023. The construction will be completed by March 2024.
Multiple Council members expressed their concerns about the potential consequences of turning Chambers into a one-way road, especially for businesses, since Witherspoon Street is also a one-way road amidst its renovations. Councilmember Michelle Pirone Lambros asked if the road could be two-way during the weekends when there is no construction, but the representatives said that it would take too much time to set up and take away the barriers every week.
The Council also debated and then passed a resolution to allow organizers of a May Day protest to hold the march on Sunday, May 1 to commemorate International Workers Day. Unidad Latina en Acción NJ (ULA), the organization holding the march, also requested that the Council waive the $2000 fee for police protection because ULA is a non-profit. However, Municipal Attorney Trishka Cecil said that the Council does not have the power to do that.
Multiple representatives from ULA and organizers of the event spoke at the meeting in an attempt to find a solution, including Alan Plotz ’25.
“Moving forward, the town of Princeton and Council need to find ways to make marching and protest available to everyone — not just those who have access to this type of funding,” Plotz wrote in a message to The Daily Princetonian. “Or better yet not rely on police structures. ULA is doing amazing work organizing workers to fight for their rights. I wish Princeton would support that.”
The Council approved that the march could be held on Sunday, but organizers will still have to pay the $2000 fee for police protection, unless they can find an alternate solution like lowering the fee in this case. The May Day March is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. on May 1 at 124 Witherspoon St.
The Council also recognized the CAPERS team for their contributions to the municipality. According to its website, CAPERS is “a volunteer research team that informs Princeton’s Climate Action Plan,” helping with analysis and implementation of the plan.
According to Councilmember David Cohen, CAPERS helped with the original creation of the Climate Action Plan, specifically database decision making as well as analysis of the most effective strategies to meet carbon reduction and climate action goals.
The award was given to the leaders of the volunteer group: Jordana Composto GS, Khiara Berkowitz-Sklar ’24, and Josh Perlsweig, the Program Coordinator at Sustainable Princeton.
“The CAPERS team and I were very excited and honored to be recognized by Councilman David Cohen at this week’s Princeton Council Meeting,” Berkowitz-Sklar wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “We are looking forward to continuing to work towards the Climate Action Plan’s emissions reduction goals and are always open to expanding our team of dedicated volunteers!”
“The projects that CAPERS takes on are explicitly informed by the Climate Action Plan and contribute directly to the needs of the municipality and stakeholders working toward the town’s climate goals,” Composto added in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “It’s really exciting to see these projects have a direct impact on the world!”
Finally, the Council closed the meeting by approving a fireworks display as a part of Reunions on May 21.
Charlie Roth is a Staff News Writer and Assistant Data Editor for the ‘Prince,’ focusing on local town coverage. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @imcharlieroth on Twitter or Instagram.