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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Transparancy, Half Truths, and Unanswered Questions

     "A half-truth is a deceptive statement that includes some element of truth. The statement might be partly true, the statement may be totally true but only part of the whole truth, or it may utilize some deceptive element, such as improper punctuation, or double meaning, especially if the intent is to deceive, evade, blame or misrepresent the truth".

     Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea's statement to resident Adina Enculescu as reported by Lauren Barr of The Westfield Leader "to be clear...the town did not recommend to put the light in front of your home."   Click on the following link for related story:
http://07090.blogspot.com/2011/06/jim-gildea-westfield-town-administrator.html
    
     At last night's Town Council Meeting a question, previously unanswered by the Town Council, regarding the input of the Westfield Police Department's involvement in the design plan of the pedestrian activated light at the cul-de-sac'd intersection of Cambridge Rd. & Central Ave., was finally answered.

     The question:

Why was the Westfield Police Department's Traffic Safety Bureau initially involved, then ultimately excluded from the meetings and process to determine what traffic safety improvements should be made with respect to Central and Clover?

3rd Ward Councilman
Mark Ciarrocca
     What followed was Councilman Ciarrocca's answer where he explained overtime pay to the Traffic Safety Bureau to attend the public outreach meetings was the reason why they were excluded.

     The overtime rate of the police department's traffic safety bureau officer (approx.$70 per hour) at the time of the meetings was far less than the hourly rate  the Town's Consulting Engineering expert Gordon Meth was paid. 

     In a letter dated October 6, 2006 from Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea to the Department of Engineering & Public Works Director Joseph A. Graziano, Mr. Gildea states the following, "As requested, I enclose the concept plan that the Town of Westfield endorses in relation to the portion of Central Ave between Rodger Ave. and Cedar St.  The consensus built concept plan was a product of many neighborhood outreach meetings in conjunction with recommendations of our traffic consultant.  Please include these plans in the analysis and recommendations for your Central Avenue corridor project."

     The concept plan requesting a mid-block crossing was submitted to Union County by Westfield.  It was determined that a mistake had been made by Westfield's expert which placed the light and crosswalk too close to the intersection of Central & Clover, if it was to be located away from the intersection.

     How much money was spent on this flawed plan that required Union County to correct the mistake and move it the minimum 100 ft away from the nearest intersection (Central & Clover)?

     Was Cambridge Rd. cu-de-sac'd to allow the mid-block crossing?  Earlier suggestions have been that the cul-de-sac's at Cambridge and Belmar were created to prevent cut-through traffic if a traditional red/green/amber traffic light were to be installed at the original proposed location of Central & Clover.

     A hybrid pedestrian light, such as the "Hawk" system currently installed in front of a residents home, if placed at an intersection reduces  "cut-through traffic" on arterial streets, that a traditional traffic light might cause, due to the shortened wait time of motorists.  So why wasn't the pedestrian light placed at the intersection of Central & Clover?

     Why not cul-de-sac Central and Clover and keep the pedestrian crossing at its original location if the desire to reduce "contact points" was a concern?

     Mayor Skibitsky has stated that the current location of the light is the "safest" location without providing any expert documentation to back his non-expert opinion. 

     A question by 3rd Ward Councilman David Haas, found on the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration website asked "How does one determine if a signalized intersection or a Hawk mid-block crossing is the safer approach given that either location meets the warrant analysis?"

One of the answers Councilman Haas received was the following:
"From your question, "One" should not make the determination; the determination should be made by an engineer, appropriately trained and/or experienced in traffic control devices; in performing an engineering study of traffic conditions, pedestrian characteristics, and physical characteristics of the particular location."

Another respondent answered:
Dave (Haas), it sounds like you are stepping into a minefield.  If your fellow council members don't think it worthwhile to pay a traffic professional to present expert testimony in his field, you may want to think about taking on the potential professional "liability" of trying to provide engineering opinions outside of your field of expertise; regardless of how well intentioned."

TFoTM once again asks Mayor Skibitsky:  How can you claim this location to be the "safest" without being "an engineer, appropriately trained and/or experienced in traffic control devices; in performing an engineering study of traffic conditions, pedestrian characteristics, and physical characteristics of the particular location." 

TFoTM has been unable to locate any documentation validating the Mayor's opinion.

The amount of money spent on this project totalled over $120,000 in 2005 dollars.

     Might it have been a wise investment to include Westfield Police Department's Traffic Safety Bureau in all of the public outreach meetings at a cost far less than Westfield's consulting engineering "expert"?  An expert that made a mistake on the "consensus built project"?  Where did the Traffic Safety Bureau suggest to place the pedestrian activated light?

     How much money is going to be spent on the Westfield Police Department's analysis of this pedestrian crossing, to justify it's location, as a result of the public outcry for it's relocation to the original proposed location of Central & Clover?


11 comments:

  1. George WashingtonThursday, June 16, 2011

    What, Gildea lie? No way, never, uh uh, he is honest Abe, NOT! Saw him cut down that tree I got blamed for.

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  2. Ever since the implementation of the mid block crosswalk and the Hawk light straddling Mrs. Enculescu's driveway I feel as if I'm living in a polar universe. Everyone that possesses one shred of decency and logic knows this is wrong, and yet we're forced to defend ourselves as if we're the ones who are crazy. This is right out of an episode of the Twilight Zone. What is most unfortunate and disconcerting is that our greatest fears will be realized and a tragic accident will occur at this insane location. All the recently added warning signs and road stripes confirm that the powers that be know this is a dangerous crosswalk. Why else would they continue to try and make it safe?
    There have been two residents that have approached the microphone at the council meetings professing they think the crosswalk is just wonderful. Two, in nine months. I'm not a body language expert but both these gentleman appeared to have been put up to it. I wonder how much Mark paid them to say they love that light. Isn't it just amazing that the good Lord included thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor in his list of the many sins He knew we'd be guilty of.

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  3. Maria - You have a lot of supporters. Keep up the fight!

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  4. The Fact of The MatterThursday, June 16, 2011

    Mayor Skibitsky has previously stated that the current location of the light and crosswalk is the "safest" location for the crossing.

    The fact of the matter is, there is an ongoing attempt to make the current location "into" the safest location as opposed to it originally being the safest location for the pedestrian activated light and crosswalk without the extra warning signs, painted lines, and trimmed trees.

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  5. Mr. Kasko, does your campaign have a web site/facebook site....
    Thank god for Mr. Kasko...
    How dare this creep Blake scold Mrs.E and Mrs.C and tell them to act like "ladies". How sexist. You all keep up the good fight, knowing that the truth will prevail in time. And thank you for your suffering,sacrifice and heartache that you are going through now because you are teaching everyone who has been following this, how to be citizens. Citizens must defend their rights, or those rights will be trampled on as we have seen here. Town council and Mr Carauana made a mistake on this one, we want them to humble themselves and reverse it.

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  6. What is the difference between asking two women to act like "ladies", and asking two men to act like "gentlemen? Whether its a man or a woman asking two people to act a certain way, does not make the comment "sexist."

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  7. Dear Fellow Concerned Citizens and Residents,
    Thank you so much for your support and encouraging words. It means so much. God Bless.

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  8. WE NEED MORE INDEPENDENTS RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN WESTFIELD. SHAKE IT UP!

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  9. I said it months ago, it is not the safest location for the light,it is the only legal place for the light. What the mayor said was true, Westfield didn't choose the location for the light, Union county did. Again, because it was the only legal place to put it after Westfield requested it be moved away from the corner. The mayor and council think that if they don't tell the whole truth it makes what they say not a lie.

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  10. At the last council meeting didn't the mayor ask "did union county turn the light over to us yet" when asked when the 90 day evaluation will start. Why don't you bring your complaints about the light to the county level. Plus does anyone think the Police Dept will give a nonbiased opinion as to the safety of the light when it seems the chief is in the mayors pocket? I think not.

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  11. WE have. The county says it's the town of Westfields project and the town says it's a county project. So round and round we go. Politics as usual.

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