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Friday, February 04, 2011

An Eagle-Eye Cost of "The Hawk" Pedestrian Project On Central Ave.

Cambrigde Rd/Central Ave.
     The Fact of The Matter went "Cherry Picking" as Mayor Skibitsky likes to call it.  Here are the "fruits of our labor,"  the results of our pilfering of the Orchard of Mismanagement.

     The following "Cost Estimates" was "cherry picked" and copied from page 32 of a report written by the Town of Westfield's consulting engineer Gordon Meth.  The report is titled, "Traffic Calming And Safety Improvements for Eight (8) Locations."  The report is dated July 26, 2005.  The content of page 32, of the report, is printed in yellow on this page.
     Councilwoman Kimmins and Councilman Haas have suggested that Mr. Meth appear at a council meeting, or in private with residents, to answer their many questions.

     Mayor Skibitsky refuses to allow Mr. Meth to appear at a Town Council Meeting to answer the many questions being asked by the public as he deems it a "waste of the town's money." (Ain't that the pot calling the kettle black?)  Mayor, I know where you can reallocate monies to pay for Mr. Meth's appearance; that is a whole other story to be posted in the near future. 

     Mr. Meth was, and is, currently being paid as the Town's consulting traffic safety engineer with the use of WESTFIELD TAXPAYER MONEY.

NOTE: The following numbers are pre-construction costs in 2005.  This project was completed recently.

Cost Estimates

Work efforts for Central Avenue and Clover Street were estimated to cost approximately $125,000.  The breakdown is as follows:

Item                                                        Units                         Unit Price             Quantity        Cost

Site Preparation/Layout/Miscellaneous      lump sum                    $10,000                    1               $10,000
Traffic Signal                                            each                            $50,000                    1              $50,000
Signs                                                        each                            $150                         8              $1,200
Belgium Block Curb                                 linear foot                    $25                          550           $13,700
Concrete Sidewalk                                  square yard                  $75                          80             $6,500
Traffic Stripes                                          linear foot                    $1.5                         1000         $1,500
Traffic Symbols                                       each                             $75                            2             $150
In Roadway School Zone Warnings          each                            $2,500                      4              $10,000
Drainage Improvements                            lump sum                     $10,000                    1              $10,000
Topsoil, Seed,, and Landscape                lump sum                      $6,000                      1              $6,000
Total Hard Costs                                                                                                                       $108,600
Contingency                                            Hard Cost                       15%                                       $16,290
Construction Costs                                                                                                                   $124,890

It is recommended that Union County be petitioned to include this project in their anticipated Central Avenue Corridor project.

The interim measures could be implemented for approximately $1,200

     The Cul-de-sac constructed at the intersection of Cambridge Rd. and Central Ave. would have made sense if a Traffic Signal was located at the original proposed location of Clover St. and Central Ave.  The closing of Cambridge Rd. was meant to prohibit cars from "cutting through" the adjacent neighborhood to avoid the traffic signal.

Cambridge Rd. Cul-de-sac
     With the installation of a Pedestrian Signal (known as "The Hawk System,") the flow of traffic is resumed much faster than with a traditional Traffic Signal.  The "Hawk" signal is only activated by a waiting pedestrian who wishes to cross the street.  Once a button is pushed by a pedestrian, flashing Amber lights are illuminated and are followed by a Red light, to stop traffic.  After a preset time, the lights go dark and traffic resumes.  

     A Traffic Signal (Red,Green,Amber) is typically timed with other traffic signals on the same roadway. It could be timed with the traffic signal at Central and Clifton/Sycamore or Central Ave and Terminal in neighboring Clark.   With a Pedestrian Signal such as "The Hawk" system, the need to avoid the traffic signal is diminished because the waiting time for stopped vehicles is less than that of a traditional Traffic Signal..  

     Additionally, the locating of a mid-block Pedestrian Signal is necessary with the absence of side-streets/intersections in the vicinity.  This is not the case here as there was an intersection that was already being used for pedestrians to cross Central Ave. at Clover St..  It is the same location where this light was originally proposed to be located.

     "Cut-through" traffic is inevitable no matter where any light is located.  Once motorists realized that the time savings is minimal by cutting through side streets to avoid the pedestrian activated "Hawk System," the few residents complaints of cut-through traffic, had the light been located at the original proposed location of Central and Clover, would have subsided. 

Perhaps the most important question of all is, was this light installed in it's present location because someone complained the loudest?  We're just asking. 
Go to: for more information on "The Hawk" Pedestrian Signal


  1. I for one, would like to have Mr. Meth be given the opportunity to explain his role in the town's decision. I believe at this juncture it would actually be a very wise use of my tax dollars. If others agree, perhaps we can convince OUR council that this is what we want. If not maybe it is time to take up a private collection...

  2. Why should you have to pay him out of your pocket/wallet to show up. He has already been paid with tax dollars. Its obvious why the mayor wants to muzzle Meth, he doesn't want to let the cat out of the bag. Here is a better solution, any councilman that is against Meth showing up at a meeting and answering the public's questions, vote them out of oen are they up for reielection?ffice. Start with the mayor and then Ciarrocca. Wh