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Stoplight Controversy Continues at Council Meeting

Residents asked the Town Council to consider moving the Central Avenue stoplight.

Residents once again implored members of the to move the pedestrian activated stoplight at Central Avenue and Clover Street at Tuesday evening's meeting.

Greg Kasko, a retired police officer, questioned statements made by Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who was absent, at a December Town Council meeting in which Skibitsky referenced 24 accidents at Central and Clover and nine accidents at Central and Cambridge.

According to Kasko, who has obtained and reviewed the reports in question, a number of the reported accidents did not occur at the previously stated locations.

"Mayor Skibitsky has steadfastly refused to produce his expert Mr. Meth and to when he said mid-block placement of the light was safer than at the corner," Kasko said. "The Mayor has never been able to explain why it was necessary to create two cul-de-sacs when the HAWK system installed does away with the need for any cul-de-sacs.

"I have pointed out the faulty facts given this Council to let the public understand the weak threads by which the Mayor maintains his position."

Though Kasko did not use his allotted 10 minutes during his time at the podium, when he returned later he was turned away by acting Mayor JoAnn Neylan, who, on the counsel of the town's attorney, said Kasko had exhausted his public comment portion of the evening.

Maria Carluccio and Adina Enclescu, who have attended Council meetings for the past 15 months to dispute the placement of the light, both addressed the Council and questioned why the town won't consider moving the stoplight.

The two cited the five accidents that have occurred within the past seven months as the main reason they would like to see the light moved. 

"Parents don't allow children to cross the street alone," she said. "It's worse than it was before."

Enclescu, who has the light in front of her home, said cars have repeatedly pulled into her driveway mistaking it for a street, invading her privacy.

David Haas, the Council's lone Democrat, told Carluccio that the county has arranged for an expert to take a look at the safety of the intersection.   

 

Carl January 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM
The base of one pole is on the peoples property! How did that happen? Did they just put it there?
Andrew January 18, 2012 at 02:16 PM
While I do not have a stong opinion either way on the placement of the light, it should be clarified that the light posts are not on any private property, but are on the County right of way.
Anonymous January 18, 2012 at 02:34 PM
You need another category on the poll... "Get over it and get a life!" Some things can and will not change. Making the whole town miserable and wasting the time of the council that could be spent working on other town issues that might be able to be positively concluded is not the way to make things change. It's been 15 months of nagging and whining! It's not working! Find another way! This has turned into the type of perpetual argument that a parent has with a teen... the more adamant the parent is about things not changing, the more the teen wants change and the more they whine and fuss! If there is any way for the Council to legally "close the discussion" on this issue, they should do it. Then we can get back to business as usual. Carl, the pole may look like it's on their property, but it's probably on the town easement that goes across their property.
Patty January 18, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Time for Skibitsky to buck up- admit he made a mistake and move the stupid light
harry January 18, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I have been driving for over 35 years, mostly in the northeast and I have never seen a device like this one. Do others exist? The first time I drove past this device it was rather disconcerting to me. The intersection where it seems most logical to place a light with controlled pedestrian crossing is only a hundred or so feet away from where it is now. But to be fair, I am not an engineer, have never worked on placing pedestrian crossings and know nothing of all the safety factors leading to the placement of such a device. The resident of central avenue also seem to have a valid point in the placement of the light and the needed sidewalk as to it's detraction of appeal to her property and properties around this device. It would deter me from purchasing a property near this device. To be sure no easy answers. But what can be valuable is for the parties and communities involved to come together in the spirit of a community that works together and cares for one another well being. as Westfield certainly portrays itself, to reach a solution that is best for the individuals and the community itself. The openness of the data and willingness to work towards what is in the communities best interest certainly can be a step towards reaching an amicable decision for all involved. But it seems doing what is best for the community and the safety of all those that use the intersection takes priority over each parties manipulations for their respective self interests. Drive Friendly.
WestfieldPerson January 18, 2012 at 04:13 PM
How is this making the whole town miserable? Please explain? It is issues such as these that need to be worked on and not just ignored as you would like. There is no "legal" way to close the issue as long as one's right to free speech is recognized. Your suggestion to close the discussion on this matter so that "we can get back to business as usual" is exactly what shouldn't happen. Business as usual means that the mayor and town council should never be questioned. That is not how our government works. Samsmom, let me know how things are working out for you when you move to Cuba.
tb2k January 18, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Agree with WestfieldPerson. The council's strategy at this point is to just drag their feet until their opposition gets too worn out to continue. The people opposing this light need to convey that they will not tire in this process. Transparency is clearly lacking here, the council is playing games and hoping that they will just frustrate these people to the point where they just give up. That's not how conflicts should be resolved by adults. Your analogy of arguing with a teen is fitting. The council is not arguing with evidence or logic, they're just playing games.
Sally McBride January 18, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Isn't there one on the North side of town in front of the Synagogue?
NR9 January 18, 2012 at 07:08 PM
@Sally McBride. Yes, there is a crosswalk there (but not a HAWK light). On the temple side of the street, it's at a "mid-block" location. The other side of the street is an intersection (T-shaped intersection at Jefferson Ave.). At that location, it does make sense- many pedestrians crossing to/from the temple and no other intersections (t-shaped or full four corner) nearby - Linden Ave. and Wells St. are both much further away. The pedestrian walkway at the temple does make a lot of sense. It avoids pedestrians from making "their own 'walkways'" by jaywalking. Particularly as far as children are concerned, funneling pedestrians that way makes for a safer crossing. It also does not feed right into someone's driveway (as the case is at Central Ave.), confusing passing motorists. The pedestrian walkway on Central, where there IS an intersection nearby that could have been used (Clover) does not make any sense. See map for a good view of the temple crosswalk- http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=temple+emanuel+westfield+nj&fb=1&gl=us&hq=temple+emanuel&hnear=0x89c3b0ee9a8f4e61:0x9ce5e72af8381b75,Westfield,+NJ&cid=0,0,2641999483564086892&ei=WxUXT57oCYfj0QGlu7zgAg&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=image&ved=0CAoQ_BI
Dear Sally January 18, 2012 at 07:14 PM
No Sally, it is a different type light. The HAWK was not in existence when the Temple requested the crossing light. It is however, at an intersection, a "T" intersection.
harry January 18, 2012 at 08:07 PM
More specifically to my earlier comment, not only the HAWK light but the placement of it. The placement in the middle of a block and not on a corner where I would normally expect to see a signal controlled crosswalk. It seems that the Hawk is cutting technology for pedestrian crosswalk signal devices.
george weinstein January 18, 2012 at 10:52 PM
There is a mid-block crosswalk on North Avenue past the county building.
Bob Centrella January 18, 2012 at 11:09 PM
I change my vote to the new category. I agree with Samsmom. Get on with it and let the town Elected officials deal with it.
Steven Lee January 18, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I use the crosswalk, my family uses it and my neighbors use it and the pedestrian controlled traffic light continues to work well exactly where it is located. If the light is moved, the crosswalk will be less safe because there will be another stream of traffic from Clover emptying into it that pedestrians have to look out for when they cross Central Avenue. With the current location you don't have the worry about a car or a truck making a right turn on to Central from Clover as you cross and you don't have vehicles from Central moving across the crosswalk to make a left on to Clover as the light changes. There will also be more traffic disruption on Central and Clover and increased use of sidestreets.if they move the crosswalk to the corner and install a t-intersection light. The light should stay where it is. Steven Lee
Sara Lee January 19, 2012 at 03:05 AM
You'll have to forgive my husband Steven, sometimes he forgets to take his medication and says things he doesn't mean to say. He really thinks a pedestrian bridge should be built across Central Ave. so that traffic is not stopped for on second. I'm sorry he went off on a tangent.
Sally McBride January 19, 2012 at 03:17 PM
@sara lee. Just more proof that people will pretend to be people (and will vote multiple times) just to "prove" their point. Let's just reopen Cambridge and then that will solve everyone's problems. It will be on a corner and everyone will be happy
Anonymous January 19, 2012 at 08:21 PM
No, I'm not saying that people shouldn't speak up when they don't like something. What I am saying is that MANY of us are sick of EVERY council meeting being another chance to whine about an issue that is over 15 MONTHS old. It is not changing anything and is taking time from issues that could be settled to the satisfaction of the townspeople. This tactic is not working and if they want to make a change they need to do something else. It's stupid to keep doing the same thing over and over when it does not yield the result that you want. It's just annoying and time wasting. As for Cuba... I think your suggestion is offensive, WestfieldPerson, because I am just using my freedom of speech to express my opinion and your suggestion is trying to curb that. I have no problem with questioning the Mayor and Council, and have done so in the past myself. I do have a problem with wasting time at meetings with an issue that is 15 months old and OBVIOUSLY won't be changed with this tactic. Thank you, tb2k, for being civil with your point. I see what you are saying, but at a certain point, this becomes an issue of who will give in first, and this does nothing but waste everyone's time. The people who oppose this light need to do something else to make their point. They need to get creative or take the council to court. This whining at every council meeting needs to stop.
Bill Jellins January 19, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Sally, opening up Cambridge would create an even more dangerous situation with the crosswalk and the lady's driveway directly across the street. If a solution is really to be considered, why not put the crosswalk on the North side of the Clover St intersection, that was children would not have to worry about cars turning right off of Clover or left onto Clover from Central. With the light at the corner and the crosswalk on the north corner of the intersection, nobody's driveway would be part of the equation. It would be a safe solution to the current danger exposing pedestrians and motorists to possible fatal consequences. With the amount of traffic turning on to Clover St, something needs to be done at this intersection. That has been a problem for as long as we have lived in the neighborhood
H.T. January 19, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Opening up Cambridge so that the light is on a corner doesn't solve the problem Sally. It would make the woman's house across the street into a disaster with her driveway on the other side. Get rid of the light once and for all. This was a political favor to the neighborhood to get votes for the councilman that left. He is gone, so should the light.
NR9 January 19, 2012 at 11:26 PM
@H.T. I agree with you that opening up Cambridge is a bad idea and that Sally's idea would create further problems. The equipment should simply be MOVED, not eliminated. It should be placed where the town's traffic flow consultant originally recommended- just a few feet away, up at the INTERSECTION of Clover, rather than its current MID-BLOCK location. A light and pedestrian walkway are needed in that area to allow pedestrians, especially children, to cross safely. My understanding from what I've read in Patch/Westfield Leader is that the county can and would move it all at no cost to our town. The real issue is that, despite there being FIVE ACCIDENTS at that location in just the past SEVEN MONTHS, Mayor Skibitsky has been too cowardly to admit that he “may have” made a mistake. That’s all he needs to do- admit that he “may have” made a mistake. We all make mistakes. The best of us are willing to own up to the mere “possibility” that a mistake may have been made and then be open to analyzing data and listening to viewpoints suggesting that a mistake may have been made. A coward refuses to even acknowledge that they “may have” made a mistake. And, a politician who won’t even listen to those constituents who disagree with him/her might as well hold office in Cuba or North Korea.
Sally McBride January 20, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Bill, The woman doesn't care about safety, she just doesn't want it in front of her house. She just makes up reasons to try and get it moved. She posts here under multiple names, just to show she has "support"
Sally McBride January 20, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Wow, Mrs Enclescu mentioned Cuba and North Korea, so now I changed my opinion. Now if she can just tie in Nazi's and racists, then everyone would be on her side. How can we continue to live in a country where the people that were fairly elected make decisions for everyone? OUTRAGOUS!!!!
NR9 January 20, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Sally: "The woman doesn't care about safety, she just doesn't want it in front of her house." Response: You are correct that she doesn't want it in front of her house. She has made that clear. Regardless of whether or not SHE cares about safety is irrelevant. What IS relevant is whether or not the equipment is in the location that would keep pedestrians (especially children) and motorists the safest. According to the town's traffic consultant, that location is the INTERSECTION of Clover and not the current MID-BLOCK location. Most people DON'T care what Mrs. E. wants. Most people DO care about keeping pedestrians (especially children) and motorists safe. Union County is willing to move the equipment at no cost to Westfield! Sally: "She just makes up reasons to try and get it moved." Response: MANY Patch readers have written about near misses due to the confusing signs/lines/light AND 5 ACCIDENTS THERE IN 7 MONTHS! Sally: "She posts here under multiple names, just to show she has "support"" Response: A serious accusation - do you have any proof? And, see Patch/TFOTM polls- she does have 70%+ support. Sally: "Wow, Mrs Enclescu mentioned Cuba and North Korea, so now I changed my opinion." Response: I assure you, I'm not Mrs. E, nor have I ever met her. Sally: "How can we continue to live in a country where the people that were fairly elected make decisions for everyone? OUTRAGOUS!!!!" Response: Huh?... yes, fairly elected, but still accountable.
harry January 20, 2012 at 07:42 PM
useless gibberish that leads nowhere.
NH9 January 20, 2012 at 11:00 PM
What stupid drivers are confusing a driveway with a street? I don't believe that is happening at all...
Sally McBride January 23, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Wow, the people that want this moved must really be motivated. When I looked at this page the day after it was posted. 128 "people" voted to move it and only 27 voted to keep it were it was. Since then only 11 people voted to keep it there and 30 voted to move it. It is af if all of the people that wanted it to be moved logged in at the exact same time and voted. It couldn't be that the 2 or 3 people that really wanted it moved voted multple times, that would be dishonest and childish and we all know that is not what they are.
NR9 January 23, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Response to Sally: Or, it could simply mean that news articles posted on Tuesday are usually read by people on Tuesday. Furthermore, as there are currently about 30,000 people living in Westfield (2010 Census Data), I don't see it as being unreasonable that there are currently 200 votes for this Patch poll. Please let us know when 30,001 people have voted. If/when that happens, I think you'll have a pretty good case for suggesting that Mrs. E/Mrs. C. and others are rigging the system with duplicate votes. It's certainly possible that Mrs. E/Mrs. C. and others are rigging the system with duplicate votes. However, the casting of "a lot of votes" after the article was published and the casting of "less" votes in the days after that, only proves that people usually read news when it is published.

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