Maria Carluccio, a resident of Central Avenue, often visits the Westfield
council meetings to express her concern with the amount of accidents that
happen at the crosswalk on Central Avenue where the HAWK light was installed.
Carluccio expressed her discontent with Mayor Andy Skibitsky’s Letter to the Editor in the Westfield Leader that said he fostered communication between residents and the council.
Carluccio said she did not understand what Skibitsky determines communication, because she often reaches out to the mayor and council for their opinion on the safety issue at Central Avenue and never gets an answer. Skibitsky and a few other members of council were not present at the Tuesday night meeting.
Some of Carluccio’s questions were directed to each individual council member on what they thought of the data, which says 17 accidents have occurred there in the last three years, according to Carluccio.
“I understand that people trying to make a left turn are hit by inattentive drivers and I don’t know what we can do about that,” Councilman Della Fera said.
Her specific calls upon each member led to some over talk and arguing between she and alternate acting Mayor James Foerst. A video of her comments can be found here.
When Carluccio addressed Councilman Mark LoGrippo, who represents Ward 3 where the crosswalk is located, the discussion became even more intense. She asked LoGrippo why he has not responded on the issue and he commented that she has been disrespectful. LoGrippo's comment upset Carluccio. She started yelling more about the issue and the police officer in the council chambers had to tell her to calm down or he would have to ask her to leave.
Following Carluccio’s comments, Adina Enculescu, also of Central Avenue, read her Letter to the Editor to Patch and other publications. Enculescu also commented on the fact she has not heard from any council members or the Mayor on the letter.
She again stated her point that a tragedy is waiting to happen at this intersection.
At the meeting, aside from Della Fera’s comment, Haas was the only council member to agree that the issue arose when the crosswalk was moved, because the data backs it up, he explained.
Resident Tony Delduca, a driving instructor, explained that multiple factors are the reason why accidents have increased over the past five years. Including distracted driving and increases in traffic through the town due to the sports club and the change in demographic of both Westfield and Clark.
“More than a crosswalk was involved in these accidents,” he added.
Haas countered by saying multiple factors are involved, but the most obvious change was when the light was put in.
Once the meeting commenced, Carluccio approached Delduca and started yelling at him. The police officer escorted Delduca and another man to their car and while he was escorting them Carluccio approached LoGrippo on the issue.
This is not the first time Carluccio has engaged in a debate with the members of council on the issue. In 2011, the argument spilled out into the hallway following the meeting.
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