A Guide for Graduate Students, 2002-2004
Bicycles and Motorcycles
The Princeton campus is reasonably compact, and the town is small. Anyone living in University housing or in an apartment near campus can manage without a car. A bicycle is most useful, since it can be ridden on campus, but it should be locked when parked. Motorcycles and motorscooters may not be ridden on campus. Motorcycles, mopeds, and motorscooters are classified as motor vehicles and must be duly licensed, insured, and registered for parking. Insurance costs vary depending upon the size of the vehicle. University regulations for parking cars apply. Users of motorcycles and motorscooters must be licensed to ride them.
If you don't live on campus or in Princeton Borough, a car is useful both for traveling to the University and for shopping. Automobiles may be rented from Hertz, at Carnegie Center in the Princeton Hyatt, or from Avis, at 163 Bayard Lane. Other car rental agencies are listed in the yellow pages.
Every motor vehicle operated by a Princeton graduate student must be registered with the University at the beginning of each academic year or upon arrival on campus. Each student receives a parking decal and a copy of University parking regulations from the Parking Office on the A-Level of New South. The minimum fine for a violation of the parking rules is $20. Appeals against fines are handled through the University Parking Committee. Residents of the Graduate College must pay a $135 fee each year for overnight parking privileges (which requires a separate decal). Residents of other University housing units must also obtain parking decals for their respective areas.
Basically, University regulations restrict members of the University to parking in assigned lots between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students should check the regulations to ascertain the hours and conditions that apply to evening parking. No overnight parking is permitted on campus.
Parking on most streets adjacent to the campus is either prohibited or metered with a limit of two hours or less. Parking on most streets in town and in the municipal parking lots is metered. There is two-hour free parking on Dickinson Street, College Road between University Place and Alexander Road, and Alexander Street. Students should plan to arrive before 8:00 a.m. if they wish to park close to campus on these streets. In Princeton Borough, which includes the town, the campus, Princeton Theological Seminary, and most of the Graduate College, no car may be parked on the street between 2:00 and 6:00 a.m. In Princeton Township, no parking is allowed on Springdale Road, Battle Road, Haslet Avenue, and Olden Lane between 2:00 and 10:00 a.m. Butler and Lawrence Apartments, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the south wall of the Graduate College are in the township.
Many students who have completed their work at Princeton sell their cars at reasonable prices. If you're buying a used car, remember that repairs can be very expensive -- so choose the car carefully. New and used cars are available at lots and agencies located, for the most part, north of Princeton on Route 206, but you're likely to find the best deals in Trenton or elsewhere. Reedman's on Route 1 in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles from Princeton, handles nearly every American model and a large line of foreign cars.
The majority of service stations in Princeton are located on Nassau Street, Witherspoon Street, and Bayard Lane (Route 206 North). All of these stations have garages for maintenance and minor repairs. Several garages in Princeton, including those of car dealers on Route 206, handle major repairs. The cost of service is quite high, so it is wise to consult friends who own cars as to the reliability of the various garages.
A conservative estimate of the cost of running an automobile for a year with normal use, including license fees, gasoline, oil, insurance, and repairs, is about $2,000-$2,500. This does not include the initial purchase price, monthly payments, or the more expensive repairs necessary on older cars. With no-fault insurance, minimum liability insurance in New Jersey can cost several hundred dollars a year.
If you move into the state of New Jersey, you must title and register your motor vehicle(s) within 60 days (or sooner if your out-of-state registration expires before then). To register a car in New Jersey, you must have a New Jersey driver's license. If you hold another state's license, you need only pass the written examination and eye test in order to qualify for a New Jersey license.
Automobile registration fees in New Jersey vary depending upon the weight of the car. All automobiles registered in New Jersey must be inspected for safety every two years during the month of initial registration or renewal. The inspection is quite strict, and defective equipment must be repaired and the car submitted for reinspection within 30 days. Penalties for violations are stiff. The nearest office of the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles is at Baker's Basin, about seven miles south of Princeton on Route 1 (609-292-6500). All tests and first inspections are conducted there, and licenses are issued there as well. New Jersey authorizes inspection service stations, which, for a fee, will inspect or reinspect the car and issue the current inspection sticker. The Division of Motor Vehicles advises motorists to present cars for inspection during the second and third weeks of the month, since the waiting period during the first and fourth weeks may be several hours. All cars registered in the state must carry minimum liability insurance. The owner of an uninsured car will incur a penalty fee.
New Jersey Transit (1-800-772-2222, from New Jersey) provides service from Princeton to the shopping centers on Route 1 and into Trenton. Schedules are available at the kiosk on Palmer Square.
The Office of Public Safety runs a shuttle bus between the graduate housing areas and points on campus, at night only. Schedules can be picked up in the department office in the basement of Stanhope Hall.
Suburban Transit buses (732-249-1100) leave for New York twice an hour from the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon streets. Tickets may be purchased at the kiosk on Palmer Square across the street from Nassau Hall. The Suburban Transit bus to New York makes several stops along Route 27 between Princeton and New Brunswick. A bus trip to New York City usually takes about an hour and a half, although the time depends on traffic. Buses arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 40th Street and Eighth Avenue. The last bus to Princeton leaves the terminal at 1:00 a.m.
New Jersey Transit (800-772-2222) and Amtrak trains run regularly to New York, Philadelphia, and other cities from Princeton Junction and Trenton. The Dinky, a shuttle train, runs from Princeton to Princeton Junction. It does not meet every train that stops at Princeton Junction, so be sure to check the schedule. The traveling time to New York or Philadelphia is about one hour. Inquiries about fares should be made at the ticket office. Express trains arrive in Philadelphia at the 30th Street Station. Express trains for New York arrive at Pennsylvania Station in Madison Square Garden at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue. Car owners will find that driving to Princeton Junction, about three miles from Princeton, and parking their cars there when taking a train is convenient on weekends when the Dinky (shuttle from Princeton) runs irregularly.
When traveling from Newark, Kennedy, LaGuardia, or Philadelphia airports, it's easiest to have a friend drive you. You can leave your car at the airport, but both long-term and short-term parking are expensive. Public transportation (summarized below) is another option.
Philadelphia. Limousine services are available between the Penn Central train station at 30th Street and the airport, and there is a high-speed rail line operated by SEPTA that also runs between the airport and the train station.
Newark. Buses run between the airport and the Penn Central Railroad Station in New York City and Penn Station in Newark. A Public Service bus route also runs between the airport and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. The Northeast Corridor train connects Newark Airport with Newark Penn Station.
LaGuardia. New York Airport Service Express Bus (718-875-8200) runs between the airport and New York Penn Station, Port Authority Bus Terminal, and Grand Central Terminal.
Kennedy. The "A" subway train connects JFK airport with Manhattan.
Princeton Airporter. Vans leave from Palmer Square, the Hyatt Regency, the Holiday Inn, and other locations on Route 1, with service to Newark International and JFK airports. They also run from the airports to Princeton. Call 587-6600 for details.