Editorials » Opinion

Editorial: Pathway maintenance

The University prides itself on its beautiful campus filled with Gothic towers and buildings that serve as the ideal backdrop for a picturesque postcard. For the most part, these facilities are not only gorgeous and brimming with history, but they are also well kept and maintained. Yet, while Princeton revels in the beauty of its century old Gothic buildings, the University has been slow to respond to the more ugly side of aging: pathway deterioration.

In light of the recent snow and ice storms, the Editorial Board would like to point out what has become increasingly obvious to any student walking around campus — that many pathways are in dire need of extensive and broad repairs. While the Facilities Operations Department does an admirable job shoveling and clearing pathways, the conditions of many pathways undermine these efforts, and thus, the safety of pedestrians and bikers. Thus, the Board would like to recommend that the University allocate funding to improve and maintain sidewalks and paths on campus and in front of University buildings.

In recent years, Princeton University, with its annual operating budget of over $1 billion and an endowment in excess of $18 billion, has been able to expand and enlarge the campus with the construction of many new state-of-the-art buildings. These facilities, including the recently opened Neuroscience Institute and Peretsman-Scully Hall with a price tag of over $180 million dollars, are indeed a welcome addition to this campus. Yet, this costly expansion and renovation should not come at the expense of some of the more simple amenities any campus must be expected to provide.

This winter, uneven, splintering walkways and an outdated drainage system have left many central pathways filled with ice or flooded as the thick snow began to melt. This ice and flooding is not simply a nuisance to people lacking the proper footwear but should be treated as a legitimate safety issue. The Editorial Board believes that while campus safety should respond immediately by closing the most affected pathways, the University should begin to plan long-term for renovating the grounds of the University. While new, state-of-the-art buildings are always welcome, students must first feel comfortable and secure in their ability to access them safely.

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