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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Westfield Town Council Meeting: Skibitsky's Kingdom

     In typical Andy Skibitsky fashion when confronted with facts he cant refute, the Mayor responded to a resident's inquiry with an answer devoid of any substance, fact, or detail.  Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan, chairwoman of Skibitsky's traffic safety committee has been muted by the Mayor and refuses to answer even the most basic and simple questions regarding the public safety issues surrounding the location of the HAWK light.

     When reminded that the stretch of roadway, where Mayor Skibitsky and his "puppets" approved the placement of the HAWK pedestrian crossing on Central Ave., has yielded a significant increase in motor vehicle accidents, Skibitsky gave his generic response indicating that the light works.  He refused to address the fact of the matter which is that in the 3 years since the installation of the HAWK pedestrian crossing, there have been 17 motor vehicles accidents, of which 16 have been documented by the Westfield Police Department's Traffic Safety Bureau.
     These accidents occurred on the same 113 foot stretch of roadway on Central Ave. between the Hawk light and Clover St.  that yielded only 9 accidents in the eight year period before the HAWK installation.
     Common sense reveals an obvious safety issue; an issue addressed by Westfield's traffic safety consulting engineer Gordon Meth who in a 2005 traffic safety engineering report recommended a traffic light at the intersection of Central Ave. & Clover St. to solve not one, but two safety issues.  Meth's report recommended solutions that would provide a safe crossing for pedestrians while addressing the issue of accidents involving vehicles turning left off of Central Ave. on to Clover St.
     A logic professor, Skibitsky is not.
     Over the past 3 years, Skibitsky has gone from "The light is in the safest location," to "The light works."          What will be Skibitsky's response be 3 years from now, should he be re-elected Mayor of Westfield.........."I made a mistake?"  Never.



  1. Mr. Skibitsky and Council Members,

    Today, September 12, 2013, at 3.15 PM I was about to cross the street in the presence of the cross guard on the famous crosswalk in the mid-block on Central Avenue. If I did not know how dangerous it is, and I put my foot on the pavement, I would be dead now. FOUR cars flashed by, they did not stop on the red light. I asked the cross guard to report it. Her answer was “Why should I report? They know it”. I agree with her, you know it.

    At 3.40 PM. I crossed the road again in her presence. This time only two cars flashed in front of me and the third stopped ON the crosswalk. This happens many times a day regardless the light is activated or not.

    As I said in the last meeting, on Saturday June 29, at 10.20 AM, I heard a screech in the street. A lady with a toddler in a stroller and a 6-8 years boy riding a bike were crossing Central on the famous crosswalk in front of my house, and an SUV stopped 2-3 feet from them. What about it couldn’t stop?

    It is dangerous, it is very dangerous! I know you don’t care of my safety, you wrote it to me. It is not about me, Adina Enculescu, it is about safety of all the pedestrians crossing on this crosswalk. The place is so confusing for the motorists! 17 accidents happened in the last less than 3 years, and only 9 accidents in the 8 previous years, meaning a 5.8 times (580%) increase of the yearly accident rate. These numbers are real, and as far as I heard, they already put even your supporters to think of it. I bet there is no other place in Westfield and even in Union County with so many accidents per year.

    Mr. Skibitsky, I read your letter to the editor, today, in the Westfield Leader. Your thanks to people who contacted you, are welcomed. Unfortunately, your thanks are not heartfelt. You wrote in your letter that “you believe that input from residents is invaluable” and the residents “have great ideas for the betterment of the community”. This is not true: 122 people, 53 of them from immediate vicinity of the crosswalk presented a petition and approximately 25 residents asked you numerous times in the Council Meetings to correct the problem on Central Avenue, to move the crosswalk and the light in the intersection where the experts advised! You refuse to do it and how you disrespectfully you have treated all of us! Why? Don’t you care of the people’s safety at all? Do you think that your ego is more important that the people’s safety, the people’s life? I am sure that if you corrected that, the number of accidents would be 5 times less and you would gain 5 times more the respect of many, many people.

    This is not an issue between the Westfield Mayor and the home owner and tax payer Adina Enculescu, a retiree. We are not in competition. This is the issue of Ward 3 people’s safety, of all the people who cross and drive on Central Avenue.
    Not correcting the situation is absolutely irresponsible. As I said in the last Council meeting, a tragedy is waiting to happen. God forbid, somebody will be injured or killed, what are you going to say? You will be responsible for not listening to your constituents’ “great ideas” and even for suppressing the Council members to be blind, deaf and mute to this problem.

    Are you going to solve this problem for “the betterment of our community”? I am waiting for your answer and for the Westfield Council Members’s answer.

    Adina Toescu-Enculescu
    1310 Central Avenue, Westfield

    1. Mrs. Enculescu is right. It is far more dangerous than it was previously. A regular traffic light up the street a little bit would have been far less confusing. The sharp increase in number of accidents is proof enough. But the mayor is stubborn and unable to admit his mistake. There are more people who agree with you and who disagree with the mayor than you might think. Just look at all the pictures above and in our local media of these accidents. Isn't that enough to conclude we need a regular light up the street?

  2. Will the North Avenue hawk light have as many signs and road paint as the Central Avenue hawk light?

    1. The engineering inspector from the Louis Berger Group that was responsible for the inspection of the installation of the signs, blinking lights, and excessive road paint stated that it was to "make it safer" than what was initially thought to be a safe crossing. This despite Mayor Skibitsky's initial claim, prior to all the additional warnings, that "the light is in the safest location." Since his opinion has been proven wrong with statistics and facts, Mayor Skibitsky has backed off his non-expert opinion.

      To answer your question: If the stretch of roadway where the HAWK pedestrian crossing on North Ave. at Lord & Taylor is located, yields an increase in accidents, as the stretch of roadway of Central Ave. HAWK light has, then quite possibly there would be additional signs and roadway markings installed. However, that would not guarantee the location is any safer than without the additional signs and road paint. The Central Ave. HAWK crossing has proved that additional signs, and roadway markings do not make the location any safer. The 17 accidents in 3 years since the HAWK light on Central was installed compared to the 9 accidents that had occurred in the eight years prior to the installation, is proof and "data" Mayor Skibitsky can't refute.

  3. Have any of the FOTM readers read the mayors recent letter to the residents of Westfield in the Sept. 12th edition of the Leader. In it he references his fostering of communication between himself his council members and the residents of Westfield. Is this man delusional or what? He's had a muzzle around the councils mouths ever since council woman Vikki Kimmins suggested that we bring Gordon Meth to a council meeting to explain the location of the crosswalk and Hawk light. Immediately following the meeting Mrs.Kimmins was excoriated by the mayor in front of her peers in private chambers for even suggesting anything that would go above his majesty"s fat head. This is what our benevolent mayor calls fostering communication? Watch on channel 36 the last installment of the most recent council meeting where Maria Carluccio and Adina Enculescu present OVER WHELMING EVIDENCE pertaining to the unbelievable increase in accidents post installation of Hawk light and crosswalk and witness for yourselves the muzzled council members, except of coarse Mr. David Haas who should be our next mayor.

  4. My wife uses the Hawk on Central during her jogs. Saturday she presses the button, the light turns solid red and she knows to wait until the first few cars zoom thru the red light. The cars across the street are stopped. She begins to cross , but at the last moment a car runs the light and just narrowly missed her. She was naturally very shaken. There WILL be a terrible tragedy at this light. It is not a matter of if but when.

    When you drive down central from town, you can see every traffic light in the distance way before you approach it. You know there is a light coming. With the Hawk you do not know it is there until it is to late.

    Anyone who uses this light with any regularity will tell you that cars run the red. I can not imagine that any other light in town would be allowed to have this issue. Why is it acceptable to have cars constantly run this light?

  5. I think our mayor sees himself as our town Godfather.

  6. Where did you hear that? In a barbershop?

  7. For Pete's sake! That's priviledged information, all I can say is school function where the principal was in attendance. Now its time to get it in grear and put some rubber to the road.