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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Major Accident at Central Ave & Clover St Snarls Rush Hour Traffic

     The Town has known for a long time that the intersection of Central & Clover is dangerous without traffic control.  The Mayor even touted, two weeks ago at a Town Council meeting, how many accidents have occurred at this intersection.  The Town's expert consulting traffic safety engineer, Gordon Meth, once proposed a pedestrian activated traffic signal at the location before the Town Council imposed it's will and had it moved. 
     The addition of the lines, signs, blinking lights, and roadway markings of the HAWK mid-block signal stretch through this intersection and have made it even more dangerous.  What has the Mayor done to alleviate a problem at this intersection and has since been made more dangerous with the "side-show" located 113 feet to the south?

     Tonight, at approximately 5:30 pm. another accident occurred at the intersection of Central Ave. and Clover St.
     This stretch of roadway has come to be known by those familiar with the location as Westfield's "Times Square".  On any given night, a drive down Central Ave. becomes a distraction due to all the blinking lights, flashing signs, fluorescent roadway markings and striping that delineates the HAWK pedestrian light located 113 feet south of the intersection of Central and Clover.
     Thanks to Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky and members of his Town Council, the pedestrian light was located mid-block at the Town's request.
     Look at any other traffic light around town and try to find one that has as many signs, blinking lights, roadway markings, and striping as the HAWK pedestrian light does.
     The extra "safety" measures were implemented when it was realized that the HAWK light was not as effective mid-block, or as safe as Mayor Skibitsky had claimed.   Did Mayor Skibitsky attempt to make it safe after he realized his initial claim, that the pedestrian light was in the safest location, was a farce?

Cars slowing down to turn left off of Central Ave. and onto Clover St. are being rear-ended at an alarming rate.  
     What has Mayor Skibitsky done besides produce a computer generated report from the police department detailing all the accidents on Central Ave. between Clover and Cambridge?  Nothing.
     Mayor Skibitsky, 5 accidents in 7 months along this stretch of roadway is enough to tell anyone with common sense that the HAWK light and all it's bells and whistles must be removed in favor of a pedestrian activated light at Central & Clover.  By installing a pedestrian activated light at the intersection, not only will pedestrians have a safe place to cross, but motorists won't be risking life and property waiting to make a left off Central and onto Clover.  Traffic lights and pedestrian crossings belong at intersections where motorists expect them to be.  That way there would be no need for all the extra signs, lines, blinking lights, and roadway markings that currently are a distraction to motorists.
     Tonight's accident occurred as a result of a vehicle being rear-ended while waiting to make a left onto Clover St.  The Mercedes Benz (pictured on flatbed truck) allegedly rammed the rear of a crossover/SUV type vehicle shown in the second picture above.  The Nissan SUV pictured on the back of another flatbed truck was travelling south on Central Ave. and was hit when the Mercedes rammed the rear of the Crossover/SUV and pushed it into the oncoming southbound Nissan SUV.
     The driver of the Nissan SUV gave a description of the accident to TFoTM on scene.


  1. Time to swallow your pride Andy. People in your inner circle have been overheard questioning your decision to leave the light where it is. Is this going to be your legacy?

  2. I'm starting to see a pattern here. Light in wrong place, accidents happening. Mayor, Town Officials, fix this before someone dies.

  3. Richard Nixon aka William Jefferson ClintonWednesday, December 14, 2011


  4. You should be showing these pictures to Union County. As the Mayor has stated numerous times it is a Union County project and they are responsible for any cleanups or repairs that may be needed. They will also be responsible for any serious injury or death that may ooccur as a result of an accident at this "safe crossing". Does Union County even realize the position that Westfield has put them in. Union County can lose an astronomical amount of money. Mayor Skibitsy will no doubt deny any liability on behalf of Westfield, as it is "a Union County project". Only when faced with a tragedy will the mayor realize his mistake. Unfortunately for someone else, they will pay the price for his pride.

  5. I just sent the following message to the Mayor and to the Westfield Council members.
    Tonight, December 14, at approximately 5.30 PM, the fifth accident in 7 month occurred in the intersection of Central with Clover. This was a three car accident, a major one. As in some other cases the Westfield Rescue Squad had to come again to help the people and 3 or 4 police cars assisted the situation. The traffic was diverted through Rodgers and someplace else North of this intersection.

    Probably it will be advertized as a minor accident like the previous ones were presented but you will see yourself how terrible it was. For pictures and details click on Read the comments too.

    Probably we will hear again that this accident does not have anything to do with the famous project "in the middle of the road on Central Ave." or that the accidents happened when the light was not in operation. In fact all these accidents, two of them just on the crosswalk, one of them 5-8 feet from the crosswalk and two in the intersection (130 feet from the crosswalk) happened because THE TRAFFIC IN THE INTERSECTION IS NOT CONTROLLED, and THE CROSSWALK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD WITH OR WITHOUT A LIGHT IS CONFUSING FOR DRIVERS, because tenths of white marks on the pavement are making the driving in the area even more difficult. It is an abnormal situation that defy the common sense. It is happening exactly as I told you in the meetings one year ago and so many people tried to tell you.

    What was supposed to be an improvement has became a hell for the neighborhood, for myself and for the drivers and no advantage for the children. Nobody contested the necessity of a crosswalk, of the traffic control in the intersection. 122 people, 53 from imediate vicinity of the intersection signed the petitin presented to you in December 2010 asking to move the crosswalk to the intersection Clover with Central. Approximately 15-20 people have expressed the same opinion in the Council meetings during the last 14 months. All of us were opposed with no respect.

    It is only a question of time when the situation becomes a real tragedy, when a pedestrian will be hit, injured or killed. Let me tell you, not the driver will be guilty but the Mayor of Westfield and the Westfield council members who don't want to do anything to correct this badly conceived project. Don't continue to blame the County! The project was designed, and specifically requested by the town and only executed and paid by county. The town requested the crosswalk to be away from the intersection, 100 ft South of it. This was wrong. 100 ft or 130 ft does not matter; what matters is the placement of the crosswalk in the middle of the block.

    Until the crosswalk and the lights will be moved to the intersection we will continue to observe how the people get heart , loose cars, their property, how the taxpayers money is wasted and how a nice area of very nice town became an airport runway or Times square, or a really odd and unsafe spot in New Jersey.

    Please think, recognize the reality, and move the crosswalk and the lights before is too late.

  6. Seven months five accidents! Maybe you need to put up more signs and flashing lights Skibitsky?

  7. Today's Westfield Leader reports that the Mayor and Council purchased three new vehicles for the police department. By the looks of this accident and the frequency of accidents taking place on Central, it won't be long before Mayor Skibitsky and Council will be paying for the replacement of vehicles of victims filing litigation against the town as a result of their ill-fated decisions.

  8. Tell me you aren't serious about connecting this accident with the pedestrian light - please tell me you're kidding. If you're not, then it only proves that you cannot be objective and you're throwing fuel onto a match you lit yourself or crying wolf.

  9. The Fact of The MatterThursday, December 15, 2011

    The accident did not take place at the pedestrian light. It took place near the intersection of Central and Clover.

    It can be argued that the additional blinking signs, fluorescent pavement markings and roadway striping, not found at any other pedestrian crossing in town, are what can be considered as "contributing circumstances" as shown on an NJTR-1 report (accident report).

    On a majority of the accident reports obtained from the Town of Westfield, by The Fact of The Matter,the box corresponding to "contributing circumstances" is number coded to match the term "driver inattention."

    The Engineering Inspector from the Louis Berger Group that was overseeing the installation of additional signage and roadway markings stated that they were being installed because the initial response to the HAWK pedestrian crossing was unsafe at the mid-block location.

    Mayor Skibitsky will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep the light at it's current location. He will never admit a mistake was made. His attempts to make the current location more safe, will continue to cost the taxpayers by way of wasteful spending, property damage, and personal injury.

    To continue with the match that was lit analogy: The County provided the match (pedestrian crossing), the Town lit the match (moved the crossing to mid-block from where its own expert had recommended, the corner)the fuel being thrown onto the match (is the alarming number of accidents that have occurred in such a short span of time that "Times Square" on Central was constructed.) Hopefully, the County will step in and extinguish the fire. It seems Mayor Skibitsky does not know how to use a fire extinguisher. Maybe he can call the FD?