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Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Response To a Reader's Comment Regarding Central Ave. Pedestrian Light


The following red text are questions and statements that appeared in a comment by one of our readers in the comment section of a story posted yesterday by The Fact of The Matter titled, "Unable To Refute All The Facts, Mayor Skibitsky Engages In Argumentuum Ad Hominem." 







     The same person appears to have posted the same content on Westfield Patch using the name Greg Skoak.  Ironic use of letters in the last name.  Due to the length of our response, this blog post is dedicated to answering some of the questions  asked by Greg Skoak on Westfield Patch's forum and as anonymous here.


     Each comment or question by the reader appears in red text, and is answered in yellow text.  An attempt to stick to the facts while answering the comments and questions posed by one of our readers was made minus any sarcasm, innuendo, satire, or character assassination.

Anonymous said...
I just saw this on Patch.com. There's no reason to change the light location at this point.

     There is reason to change the light location at this point. 1.  The County has stated there are monetary funds that still exist that will pay for the relocation of the light to the expert's original proposed location at the intersection of Clover St. and Central Ave.  Those funds will not be available forever.  If the light is to be moved in the future, after those funds are gone, Westfield would incur the cost.  2.  The light has created an unsafe condition for the resident that owns the driveway between the two pedestrian light poles.  Backing out of a driveway on Central Ave. becomes more precarious given the installation of this light.  Not only does the driver have to worry about points of contact with north and south bound Central Ave. traffic, pedestrians walking across a sidewalk that never existed prior to the installation of this light, creates a third and most dangerous point of contact....schoolchildren and other pedestrians.  Finally, unsuspecting Central Ave. motorists are a danger to pedestrians and stopped vehicles, such as the woman that was rear-ended at this location and remarked,"that light belongs at the corner."  Motorists expect signals at intersections, not midblock.  " 

     Where's the smoking gun that Kasko and Carluccio have been taking about these past few months? I just viewed the traffic report it said:"The HAWK crosswalk meets all three purposes for which it was intended. It provides a safe crossing for pedestrians, particularly school-age children, it minimizes traffic delays, and it does not create cut-through traffic on nearby residential streets. In consideration of all of the above, the WPD concludes that the HAWK crosswalk is effective in achieving its goals
The conclusion of the Signal Warrant Analysis report written by Union County's engineering expert.is the "smoking gun" among other reports and documents obtained by TFoTM.  Click on the following link to read the report."  http://07090.blogspot.com/2011/03/hot-topic-central-ave-pedestrian.html 

Also, it has been stated by Mayor Skibitsky and former 3rd Ward Councilman Mark Ciarrocca that all residents of the neighborhood were noticed/advised by the Town that the installation of a traffic light was being considered at the intersection of Clover and Central and that "Public Outreach Meetings "would take place.  The meetings that discussed this location, and other areas around Westfield that were being considered for traffic safety improvements, were attended by approximately 30 people at any one given meeting.  It is unknown how many of the 30 were from the neighborhood of the proposed location of the traffic light.  The use of the words "traffic light" (red, green, yellow)are used because prior to 2009, the "HAWK" pedestrian light was not an option, it was not recognized by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) as an option. The Signal Warrant analysis was done in 2007.  The Town's expert Gordon Meth authored a report in July of 2005.  At that time, a pedestrian light similar to the light that exists in front of Temple Emanuel on E. Broad St. was an option.  TFoTM, in speaking with several residents that reside within the vicinity of the current location of this light have stated that they were never notified that a light of any kind was going to be installed at the cul-de-sac'd intersection of Cambridge & Central.  There were meetings to discuss the possible installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Clover and Central; why were there no meetings or public outreach to notify the residents that the light would be considered for its current location?  Once it was known that a Pedestrian Hybrid Signal such as the "HAWK" could be installed,  why was it not installed at the intersection.  The "HAWK" system satisfies the 3 purposes of a safe pedestrian crossing at the intersection.  
     The "HAWK" Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon would meet all three purposes for which it was intended if it were located at the expert's original proposed location of Clover St. & Central Ave. intersection.  This is the historical location of the pedestrian crossing used by school children and other pedestrians.  In 2009, Tucson Arizona, where the "HAWK" system first appeared, installed over 60 of them at intersections that have since revealed a 97% compliance rate of drivers yielding to pedestrians.
 Later on it goes onto say, there are positives and negatives for any location as Central is a busy road with 25,000 cars per day. What was all this noise about the past few months?


     The "noise" or objection by residents to the current location of the pedestrian crossing has been going on for 11 months.  The existence of the crossing is not what residents are debating.  The location of the pedestrian crossing and more importantly to TFoTM, the process that took place to move the crossing from the expert's original proposed location to it's current location is questionable based on the facts, reports and data we have obtained. 

Note:  There are underlying issues and additional information, obtained by TFoTM, that would explain why we believe this pedestrian crossing was moved to its current location.  That information has not been included because it would be considered hearsay without providing quotes, names, dates, and times.  Nonetheless, the information comes from reliable sources within Town government/administration/employees/etc.   The names and identity of those individuals will remain anonymous to protect them from any adverse action. 

5 comments:

  1. Your recent posting, “Unable To Refute All The Facts, Mayor Skibitsky Engages In Argumentum Ad Hominem” was brilliant and very appropriate to how you and Mrs E/C have been treated by the Mayor, town council and some other members of the community who don’t seem to have the maturity to read reports, look at maps/diagrams and then talk (!) about them in a civilized and respectful manner.

    I have one piece of advice related to your posting from earlier today. From what I’ve observed of politics/human (selfish) behavior, I’d suggest that you and Mrs. E/C shy away from arguments like this one from above (“The light has created an unsafe condition for the resident that owns the driveway between the two pedestrian light poles. Backing out of a driveway on Central Ave. becomes more precarious given the installation of this light.”) as well as arguments about her financial hardship (decline in property value).

    Ultimately, such arguments create a situation whereby just 1 of the 10,622 Westfield households is being told that she must take a personal hit “for the greater good” of “the rest of us.” Most would then simply conclude that “if this one person simply engages in a few additional safety practices for herself, ‘then the rest of us will be safer’”. Of course, this is not the issue – we’re not all safer. Looked at that way, 99.9999% of the population will simply conclude that this 0.0001% of the population is being selfish and, in doing so, looking to make things less safe for the 99.9999% “of us.” A difficult fight to win!

    HOWEVER, if the real issue of PUBLIC SAFETY FOR ALL is what is kept at front and center, we see a much different (and more winnable argument)… As the brilliant (though admittedly flawed a bit as to population sample) poll on TFOTM has shown, an OVERWHELMING MAJORITY (87%) of those voting actually agree that the INTERSECTION of Clover and Central is the SAFEST location. (And, I have to think that many of the 12% voted for MID-BLOCK simply because they either want to “leave well enough alone” or simply because it is convenient to jump on the bandwagon of people who “don’t like the messengers”). So, I think there are actually probably somewhere between 90-95% of people who think the location was a poor choice.

    That being said, I happen to think the latest round of signs/lines is an improvement over the original set up which I thought was EXTREMELY dangerous (just my opinion).

    I think that what angers me the most, and what I think should anger many people in our town, is the complete lack of respect and maturity shown by the Mayor and (most of) the Town Council in their treatment of Mrs. E/C and yourself. Rather than engaging in constructive conversation and discussion of expert opinion reports, explanations of how various conclusions were made, etc they simply ganged up and engaged in childish character attacks on the messengers. They could have taken a “we’re all in this together” approach and looked at charts/studies, etc. TOGETHER. In doing so, we may all have even concluded that MID-BLOCK was the better, though not perfect, choice!?! But, we’d have all been working TOGETHER! in arriving at that position.

    My concern is more in “the big picture.” This is one issue that may (or may not) be coming to a close (some way or another). What about the next issue? What will that be? Will it affect just one person/family or an entire block? How will the next group be treated by the Mayor/Town Council? With mature discussion or more of the same childishness?

    Well, at least Councilman David Haas has the balls to speak up his opinion rather than just join in with the rest of the gang. Hats off to Councilman Haas!

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  2. After driving by this location a few times all I could think of was how criminal this was to the home owner and how in the world did this light ever wind up here. Then I decided I would use the light to determine if it was more effective in this location only to witness multiple cars flying through the light, one car stopped after they realized they went through a light and then when the light stopped flashing cars began beeping at each other to go. I stood there in total amazement on this residents newly erected sidewalk Then by chance a few young teenagers attempted to cross while I was standing there in disbelief and the same exact thing happened to them, the cars just don't stop initially when the light is activated. I asked the young people what they thought about the light and they replied in that matter of fact style that the light and the crosswalk should be at the intersection of coarse. I know also that everyone I've discussed this issue with all seem to feel the same way I do and it's clear the mid block location of any crosswalk is dangerous for motorists and pedestrians alike. I'm grateful this blog site explains clearly the circumstances surrounding this very odd and what I feel is a very dangerous location for a crosswalk. I say keep fighting to have it moved especially while the funds currently are available.

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  3. Mr. Kasko, please consider not running for third ward councilman this November. Quit now and PLEASE RUN FOR MAYOR! Bravo on your response. thank you for sticking to the facts!

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  4. Roger Ave. VoterFriday, August 19, 2011

    Mr. Kasko you have my family's votes as well. The Mayor is a political hack and a liar. What he did to Mrs. Enculescu is criminal!

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  5. Fire Parizeau, demote Wayman, and request the Union County Prosecutors Office to come in and take over the police department. Wayman acts in the shadow of Parizeau. The debacle that exists in our department is because Parizeau allows Wayman to institute ridiculous protocal with Parizeau's blessing. Parizeau has nobody to blame but himeself for allowing Wayman to rule in the shadow. It has cost Parizeau his reputaion, what little was left after his escapades with the young women of Westfield.

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