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Princeton University presents East Garage development project to SPRAB

People walk through Princeton University's campus on a sunny day in May.

Princeton’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board (SPRAB) has now reviewed the first major site plan application for Princeton University’s East Campus Entry project.

The plans reviewed and presented on Sept. 9 focused on the East Campus Garage set to be built on the East Campus project site. The approximately 500,000-square-foot six tier garage will replace existing surface parking spots in the East Campus area and have the capacity for 1,552 parking spaces.

Princeton will be reassigning faculty and staff who have been parking in Lot 21 to vacant locations within the campus parking system, as the university makes the transition from the surface parking lot being utilized (Lot 21) to the future construction of the garage structure, which is bounded to the south by Faculty Road.

“We have vacancies in the west garage, vacancies in the north garage, some vacancies on the small lots on Ivy and Western Way,” said Kim Jackson, director of Transportation and Parking Services at Princeton University. “We will also be using the Butler Track street for additional parking, especially for events that may occur. We have calculated that we will be able to accommodate everyone in our parking system with ease.”

When completed, the garage will be accessed from both Jadwin Drive and newly created Garage Drive, with a third access point directly to FitzRandolph Road to be used during peak periods or for events.

“There are two primary entrances and exits at the northeast corner of the structure in and out, also at the southwest corner in and out. There is also a controlled exit from the southeast corner that would be used for events or as needed,” Princeton University architect Ron McCoy said.

The parking will accommodate visitors, faculty, staff and graduate students on the six levels, five above the ground.

“Earlier this year, Princeton University appeared before the planning board with a concept presentation for what we refer to as the East Campus. It is essentially the property east of the university stadium,” said attorney Christopher DeGrezia, of law firm Faegre Drinker Biddle and Reath, representing Princeton University. “In January, we were before the planning board to discuss this gateway area and how our vision for the east campus would be developed. We talked about we would be coming in with site plans of various components.”

McCoy stated that the garage’s estimated completion would be in the summer of 2022, if all goes well.

“It is a very important part of the east campus because it puts a lot of the necessary infrastructure in place and circulation improvements and parking availability early on in the process,” DeGrezia said. “So, we can do a nice, organized and orderly development of the campus.”

The design of the garage includes dedicated access to Tiger Transit service, an indoor waiting room and bus lay-by lane on newly created Garage Drive; a covered bike storage facility for privately owned bicycles and dedicated space for University’s Bike Share Program; 64 electric vehicle charging stations; and facilities for future rooftop solar installation, according to application documents.

“[There will be] 108 total spaces for bicycle parking and space for the bike sharing program,” McCoy said.

The garage transit infrastructure connects to not only TigerTransit, but bicycle networks and pedestrian paths in the East Campus area.

The garage project site is also bounded to the north by athletic fields and the existing FitzRandolph Observatory. The observatory will be demolished as part of the overall East Campus Entry project.

The FitzRandolph Observatory, which has not been in use since the 1990s, has been used for storage since that time by the university.

The East Campus Entry development project is part of the university’s 2026 Campus Master Plan. The concept idea for proposed projects on the site were presented to the Princeton Planning Board at a Jan. 9.

The concept plan that was reviewed earlier this year centered around the project site, which is bordered to the north by Western Way, to the west by Princeton Stadium, to the south by Faculty Road, and to the east by Broadmead Street.

The location currently has athletic fields, surface parking lots, the FitzRandolph Observatory and academic support buildings.

The idea for the East Campus entry project site is to build other athletic facilities such as a new soccer stadium, the new East Campus Parking Garage, and a geo-exchange utility facility system (reduces HVAC energy use and carbon footprint) with wells.

Presentation concept for East Garage entrances and exits on Sept. 9.
Current site area for proposed East Garage project by Princeton University on Sept. 9.
East Garage and surrounding structure concept from presentation on Sept. 9.
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