Why is it necessary to relocate the Dinky?
As planning for a new arts complex evolved, it became apparent that locating this new center in the area adjacent to McCarter Theatre would enable the University to achieve numerous goals. First, the project would create an attractive public space. Second, the project would allow the University to improve traffic patterns and congestion that had long been a concern to local residents and local officials. To achieve these goals and to provide direct access from Alexander Street to the University's West Garage, it was necessary to move the Dinky a short distance to the south.
How far will the Dinky be moved?
The design for the Arts and Transit Project relocates the terminus of the Dinky approximately 460 feet south (toward Princeton Junction) from its current location. This distance is approximately equal to the distance from Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street in downtown Princeton to the front entrance of the Princeton Public Library. Since the Wawa will be relocated to the new station complex, Dinky riders who now walk from town to the Wawa and then to the Dinky have a longer walk than they will have in the future walking to the new location.
Will there be a station to provide commuters shelter from the weather?
Yes. The design for the transit plaza includes a new station that will have numerous amenities that are attractive to commuters. The station will include a heated and air-conditioned indoor waiting room and public bathrooms. In addition, the Wawa will be relocated to a site within the station complex. Bike storage and rental will be nearby.
Will bus rapid transit replace the Dinky?
At this time there are no plans to replace the Dinky with bus rapid transit. According to plans that NJ TRANSIT has shared with the University, bus rapid transit would supplement, not replace, the Dinky train if bus rapid transit is introduced to the Princeton area. Development of a regional bus rapid transit system in the Route 1 corridor is a planning project that has been led by NJ TRANSIT and the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The Princeton Regional Planning Board passed a resolution in December 2010 encouraging the development of the regional bus rapid transit system while urging the state Department of Transportation and NJ TRANSIT to maintain the Dinky train service between Princeton Junction and Princeton.
Will there be public transportation to Nassau Street from the station?
Yes. The transit plaza has been carefully designed to permit multiple modes of transportation to have a single transfer point to enable easy point of transfer. Currently, the University campus shuttle system has a stop at the Dinky station with a route that continues to drop-off/pick-up points at two locations along Nassau Street. Princeton Borough also operates the "FreeB" shuttle system that provides transportation to and from Nassau Street. Both systems are free and available to the public. The plans for the new transit plaza allow both systems to continue to operate, and will help to optimize the function of each system by taking the common transfer point off the roadway network and relocating it in a transit hub designed with these systems in mind. The design also accommodates taxis and NJ TRANSIT buses.