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Princeton launches ‘Tell us what you want’ online survey in Master Plan update

For anyone who has ever wanted to tell Princeton officials what they think, this is their chance.

Princeton officials have launched an online survey – “Tell Us What You Want” – to find out what residents and visitors want in dining, shopping and housing options as the town prepares to update the Princeton Community Master Plan.

The online survey went live July 6 and will be available at www.princetonsurvey.org through the first week of August, officials said. Yellow lawn signs reminding people to take the survey have been scattered throughout Princeton.

The survey results will likely be incorporated into the updated Princeton Community Master Plan, officials said. The state Municipal Land Use Law requires towns to review their municipal Master Plan from time to time.

Princeton began its Master Plan review process three months ago, said senior planner Justin Lesko. The Master Plan includes elements, or chapters, on land use, housing, traffic circulation, utility service, community facilities, open space and green building that guide development.

“One of the new elements we will have in our Master Plan is an Economic Development element. The survey will be part of an economic development report that feeds into the new Economic Development element,” Lesko said.

The online survey is open to anyone who lives, works or studies in Princeton, Lesko said. Visitors may take the survey, since the purpose is to gauge the economic strengths and opportunities in Princeton, he said.

The survey asks respondents how many times they visit the Central Business District, which is the area around Nassau Street and Palmer Square near Princeton University, on a monthly basis.

They are asked how many stores, eateries or other businesses they visit during a typical visit, and how much money they spend on average when they visit the district. They are asked to name their favorite store or restaurant.

The survey also asks respondents to check off how they get to the district – on foot, by car, by mass transit or by bicycle or scooter. They are asked whether they believe the sidewalks are adequate to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and scooter users.

Respondents are asked similar questions about their experiences at the Princeton Shopping Center on North Harrison Street. They are asked how many times they visit the shopping center every month, and how many stores and restaurants they visit on a typical trip.

They are also asked about how much money they spend at the stores and restaurants – excluding the grocery store at the center – on each visit.

Another set of questions focuses on the overall conditions in Princeton – the appearance of the town, whether there are enough arts and cultural opportunities in the community, and whether they think there are enough special events and activities in town.

The survey respondents are asked about their sense of safety and security while visiting Princeton.

On housing, the survey asks respondents to rate the importance of age-restricted housing, plus options for smaller and less costly housing types. Another question asks about the importance of having townhouses, condominiums or rental apartments in walkable settings near shops and restaurants.

The “Tell Us What You Want” consumer survey is one of several surveys that will help guide the Master Plan, Lesko said.

“Over the next several months, we will have additional surveys to hear the community’s general vision for Princeton and to guide all of the other elements – land use, mobility, open space and recreation, and community facilities,” he said.

Open house events and other opportunities are planned to gather additional input, Lesko said.

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