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CURRENT ISSUES /
Burying Overhead Wires:
Request for Action
here to see summary of slide presentation.
Text of Presentation:
There has been a proliferation of unsightly overhead utility
wires in the Mercer Hill Historic District in recent years.
significant percentage of these overhead wires are simply passing through the
neighborhood servicing the growing business and commercial interests in the
greater Princeton area.
cables are an eyesore, marring the beauty of this historic neighborhood.
interfere with the growth and care of existing trees and limit the ability to
plant new trees.
In one case, a mature tree was toppled onto the roof of a neighborhood home when
it was hit by the bucket of an out-of-state cable company truck.
The Mercer Hill Historic District Association has in the past worked
with the Princeton Shade Tree Commission to seek a directive from the Princeton
Borough Council that whenever roads are reconstructed anywhere in the Borough,
an analysis be made of the overhead wire problem, with options and cost
projections given for burying the cables.
We would like to revisit that discussion now, as plans are being made
for the reconstruction of Mercer Street, Alexander Street and University Place.
This directive should be confirmed and applied to the reconstruction of Mercer
Street, Alexander Street and University Place.
OF THE ISSUES:
A. Benefits Of Burying Overhead Utility Wires:
Increase in property value
Reduced utility costs over the long term.
The proliferation of overhead wires in recent years
has created a visual blight overhead.
Burying utility wires would
enhance the historic character of neighborhoods,
create pedestrian- friendly environments,
and protect trees from over-aggressive and unsympathetic
Importance of reliable telephone and electric service for
home, institutional and business computers and
other electronic equipment.
Increase in Property Value:
In the long run, because it makes Princeton a better place.
Danger of downed lines –
people still drive and walk over and under them,
as witnessed along Alexander Street in September 2001
Reduced costs over the long term:
Lower maintenance budgets for utilities over time.
Less money and labor required to repair downed lines
Less time and money spent by local governments
to maintain trees and utility rights-of-way.
Less lost office and personal time and labor
dealing with electronic equipment outages.
Costs Of Burying Overhead Utility Wires:
Although costs estimates can be high for conversion to
underground wires, they are greatly reduced when
done as a part of road reconstruction.
Road reconstruction opportunity to save on costs:
Mercer Street, Alexander Street and University Place
are now being scheduled for reconstruction,
allowing for the costs of demolition, excavation,
restoration and repavement to be spread out
among several sources.
Mercer Hill Historic District:
Mercer Hill Historic District, located so close to
the center of town, has been seriously impacted
by the proliferation of overhead wires.
Have We Seen This Proliferation Of Overhead Wires?
3. Impact of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996:
a). Cable companies have been
for use of utility right-of-ways.
Response by some localities has been to adopt measures
to regulate wired and wireless communications
in utility rights-of-way.
Regulation of Rights-of-Way:
a). Some localities plan to use the
from these new ordinances to fund
burying cables underground.
b). One example of a proposed new ordinance is
that of Radnor Township in Pennsylvania,
where they intend for the ordinance to
“manage a limited resource to the
long-term benefit of the public”
Many towns with scenic or historic attractions are burying or
seeking to bury electric and other utility wires, including:
Warwick, Rhode Island
Princeton’s Nassau Street and Palmer Square
Several Cape Cod towns and seashore roadways
Significant efforts in the states of California, Florida,
as well as
in England, Australia, New Zealand,
and the Netherlands
Let’s join them.