Central Ave. resident Adina Enculescu approached the microphone during open public comment at the last Westfield Town Council meeting.
Mayor Skibitsky quickly reminded the resident that most of the accidents have occurred near the intersection of Central Ave. & Clover St., the location where the town's consulting engineer and a Union County analysis had recommended a traffic signal be installed. In the 8 years prior to the installation of the mid-block HAWK Pedestrian Signal, there were a total of 9 accidents along this stretch of Central Ave. leading up to Clover St. Of those 9 accidents, 7 included vehicles stopped at, or attempting to turn left onto, Clover St. In the 4 years since the installation of the HAWK, there have been 18 accidents. Mayor Skibitsky is 100% correct in his statement that most of the accidents have occurred near the intersection of Clover St. & Central Ave.
One has to wonder what Mayor Skibitsky was thinking after two engineering firms, one hired by Westfield, recommended that the intersection of Central & Clover be controlled with a signal. Both engineering firms agreed with the inventor of the HAWK signal, Dr. Richard Nasi, that the signal be placed at the intersection where statistics have revealed is a safer location for the pedestrian crossing.. In FACT, the inventor of the HAWK pedestrian signal concluded, after field testing, that a mid block pedestrian crossing is LESS safe. Mayor Skibitsky's non-professional opinion will attempt to have you think otherwise.
In a 2005 Traffic Calming and Safety Report, Westfield's consulting engineer Gordon Meth wrote the following after he had conducted his own analysis of the intersection of Central Ave. & Clover St.
"There is concern about the difficulty turning left from the east side of Central Avenue, since this traffic has no connection to a roadway with a traffic signal."
The report also states, "Construct a pedestrian activated traffic signal at this location and relocate crosswalk to it."
There is some confusion as to where the author was indicating "this location" to be. The report suggests Central Ave. & Cedar St. but we now know that residents of Cedar St. strongly protested a light at that location.
Union County hired its own engineering firm to analyze the issue. A 2004 report by the Louis Berger group that predates the town's consulting engineer's report, clearly states the following in the report's conclusion leaving no doubt where Union County recommended the signal to be placed.
"Based on the above analysis, School crossing Warrant 5.0 is satisfied at Intersection of Central Avenue and Clover Street. The INSTALLATION OF PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL will certainly improve the safety of elementary school-age pedestrians, within the vicinity of the neighborhood."
Mayor Skibitsky has stated that the current location has been approved by County and State officials. What he doesn't tell you is that Union County officials "rubber stamped" Skibitsky's hastily approved town council resolution to accept the current location of the HAWk pedestrian light. Union County officials stated that Westfield chose the location, not Union County. Skibitsky's answer to the question of why there has been a significant increase in accidents on Central Ave. between the HAWK pedestrian light and Clover St......."Accidents happen all the time." Nice try Mayor. You're entitled to your own opinion but not your own FACTS. TFoTM will stick to the facts and data gathered on this issue.
Both Union County and the State of New Jersey would have approved the intersection of Central & Clover based on professional studies and reports filed.
Unfortunately, many of Mayor Skibitsky's Ward 3 voting block wouldn't have. Once again, politics ruled.
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