One major problem with the city of Trenton is that many of the municipalities around it have the kinds of attractions and businesses that one would normally want in a capital city. The Quakerbridge Mall is a perfect example of this.
Before the riots of the 1960s, anyone who wanted to go shopping in a department store would have to go to downtown Trenton, which had hosts of stores lining the downtown area. Today, these stores and shops have relocated to the ugly edifice in Lawrence Township at the junction of Route 1 and Quakerbridge Road, a seven-minute drive from my home near downtown Trenton.
Wouldn’t people rather walk the streets of an attractive downtown area in a small manageable city, than walk the ugly floors of a massive mall surrounded by seas of ugly surface parking and small, ugly standalone restaurants?
Somehow the city must attract first-rate businesses to take gambles on the downtown area. There needs to be some sort of attraction; whether this is through tax abatements or reduced sales tax rates, I don’t know. I am not a public policy major. There is a small viable area of downtown on Warren Street and State Street that should serve as a blueprint for what the city should want. Right now many of the businesses located there are fast food restaurants and dollar stores that are places one doesn’t want for an upscale downtown area.
If the city made a conscious effort to attract upscale businesses that could serve the regional populace, people would probably come. Of course they would have to be assured the public safety problem had been addressed, but the downtown area – the main location of state government and workers – does not suffer from the same types of problems that plague the other neighborhoods of the city.
After reading some his writings on his web site http://www.SouthTrenton.com, South Ward Councilman Jim Coston seems like a really intelligent guy. He spoke of the emptiness of the suburbs, something that really calls out to me because of growing up a few miles away in West Windsor.
People fled cities like Trenton for the suburbs because of what they believed would be a better life, and also because of perceived pressures in their old neighborhoods in the city. The influx of immigrants, more crime, and other common urban problems convinced these people that a move to the ‘burbs would provide a better life for their families.
Anyone who has grown up in these suburbs knows that they may be an OK place to grow up when one is extremely young, but they simply do not cut it for older children and adults. There is nothing to do, a fact that leads to idleness, drug use and delinquency. Anyone who grew up in West Windsor knows there was almost nothing to do on the weekends. The city offers you opportunities.
The options in the suburbs are severely limited unless you want to drive a distance to get to whatever you want to do. In the city, you can walk everywhere, and there is actually an interesting landscape of buildings and structures to make for an interesting walk. From my apartment door in the Mill Hill, I can walk to a coffee shop, several restaurants, two bars, a park, a basketball and hockey arena, and a train station that takes me to New York in one and half hours and Philly in one.
That sounds much better than driving everywhere like in West Windsor, which creates a sedentary lifestyle apt to give you a heart attack.
Been really busy lately, plan to post something this weekend.
I found this article really interesting, because these gang members conducted some sort of deal in the Barnes and Noble in West Windsor.
People in Princeton and West Windsor can’t keep looking the other way when it comes to what’s going on in Trenton. The city is in Mercer County too, only a ten minutes’ drive away from affluence.