NO PUBLIC MEETINGS: We started our petition and ran our ad because there have been no public meetings or hearings about the Dinky issue since the joint Township/Borough January 31st meeting when the University delivered its “my way or no way” ultimatum to our elected officials. The ultimatum asked for approval of the Arts Campus plan “as is.” The plan calls for a relocation of the Dinky terminus 480 feet to the south (the University uses the figure 460 feet) in a spot next to the Lot 7 garage. At the January 31st meeting, there was an overflow crowd. A majority of speakers urged the University to modify the plan to keep the Dinky where it is. The proposal to move it away from the town center will inconvenience pedestrians, will make it more difficult for drivers to drop riders at the station, and will most probably add to automobile traffic and congestion. It is bad public policy that reflects planning by and for the University, not planning for the general good of the community.
PRIVATE NEGOTIATIONS: Unfortunately, after the January 31st meeting, our elected officials decided to deal with the Dinky issue through private negotiating sessions. We do not have full details of what is being negotiated. The University is rumored to be offering such concessions such as shuttle service to meet the train to mitigate the inconvenience of the proposed move. At this week’s Borough Council meeting, it was reported that some sort of three way “contract” between the University, the Township, and the Borough is being worked out. We find this troublesome since the Dinky is a public asset and its fate should not be determined in the back rooms of Township Committee and Borough Hall.
Because the public has been effectively shut out of the conversation about the fate of the Dinky, the press reports on the subject have been sparse and have presented only the University’s viewpoint on the issues. Not surprisingly, the University during this period has been using its resources to place public pressure on our elected officials to approve its Arts campus proposal “as is,” complete with a relocated Dinky. At the same time, it argues that it has the “right” to move the Dinky because of a 1984 agreement with New Jersey Transit even though that agreement makes a very specific reference to a move from one end of the platform to the other. That move was made in the late 1980’s.
WIN-WIN: We believe that the University can have a vibrant Arts campus that accommodates the Dinky in its current location. We are saddened that the political process has been organized to prevent a robust public discussion of the issue. We hope that you will join with us to let the University (and our elected officials) know that there are many, many community members who think the Dinky should stay where it is.
For more information about the proposal to move the Dinky station,
see the PCDO presentation from 4/17/2011.