Flaws in new ZigZag Trail plans must be addressed

The "Princeton Grind" is a bad idea, more emphasis should be put on the zig-zag portion of the trail.

I have several questions regarding the reconstruction of the ZigZag trail.

First, what is the historical purpose of the ZigZag trail? I always presumed it was to provide a shorter route for people to walk between the First Bench and downtown.

Now, perhaps to gain funding grants, the planning and major financial emphasis seems to be on the “Princeton Grind”.

This name refers to the metal stair system that will go straight up the hill with five view points, rest areas.

Most everyone knows that it is easier to move up a hill in a zig-zag pattern, so why invest so much in a stair system that does not provide for ease of movement?

In the plans, the new ZigZag path will remain a dirt trail meeting with the straight stairway at the five rest points.

The straight stair trail will be too strenuous for many of the intended users, and the ZigZag path, being dirt, mud, or snow, will not provide reasonably secure footing in any season, not good for those who cannot handle the “Grind” stair system.

As for safety, the more strenuous straight stair system, even with rest levels, provides a much increased chance for a long tumble.

The metal steps include holes that are large enough to catch heeled shoes, canes, and walking sticks and the grating, should one fall, is more than sharp enough to cause serious damage.

Is there a provision for benches at the rest areas? No.

Is the stairway wide enough to allow for these benches? No.

Is the lighting of the stairway adequate? No. Are there handrails at a child appropriate height.  No.

Regarding maintenance, our hard working town crew is already pushed to the limit with regular seasonal maintenance and is overwhelmed during snowfalls.

What will be the priority of snow removal on the stair system? This seems like yet another safety and liability issue.

Town council has lost sight of the primary purpose of the ZigZag trail. Let’s be real, tourists are not going to stop in Princeton to climb our “Princeton Grind” stair system or to see the town from the viewpoints.

It is a trail intended to provide safe passage for local folk. Let us not work to a bare minimum standard.

Put the stairs in a zig-zag pattern to make them easier to use, follow ADA standards to make the stair system safer, and cover the stairs with a roof. Princeton has one chance to do this, so let’s get it done right.

And for the record, I am not running for a position on town council.

Ken Carlson

Princeton