HomeHaddonfield NewsCommissioners approve amended road program

Commissioners approve amended road program

Borough commissioners voted two to one in favor of approving the amended 2012 road program bid at their Thursday, Aug. 2 special meeting.

Sidewalks to promote pedestrian safety will be installed on the east side of Washington Avenue from Upland Way to Winding Way by Asphalt Paving Systems, Inc., based out of Hammonton.

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“I think what you’ve done today is very sad,” expressed resident Lee Hymerling following the approval, citing that the commissioners voted against the desires of the neighbors on the stretch of the road.

According to Commissioner Ed Borden, a letter was mailed to all residents affected on June 11 as notice for a meeting held on June 25. Two more special meetings were scheduled from that point.

The decision to add the sidewalk was repeatedly delayed while the commissioners received every possible piece of information, he added.

Commissioner Jeffrey Kasko disagreed with the decision due to comments from residents and his own driving experiences.

“If it is clear that we can improve pedestrian safety through reasonable and affordable means, then I am supportive of that,” he said in an email. “The proposal to install sidewalks at the end of Washington Avenue, leading to Lane of Acres and Tavistock Country Club, does not meet that test.”

The approved area for sidewalks is not near any schools, playgrounds, parks or playing fields, he said, and the roadway is wide enough to accommodate pedestrian activities.

“No one presented a report with evidence of vehicle/pedestrian accidents there due to the lack of sidewalks. And that’s because there simply aren’t a lot of people — particularly kids — walking there,” he continued.

“We hear lots of complaints about not adequately fixing roads, filling potholes, maintaining fields, and cleaning up the downtown and parks in town. The money being spent for this sidewalk could be better spent elsewhere,” Kasko suggested.

Resident Karen Gatti said that she likes the current appearance of the quiet neighborhood, adding that it has its own charm and beauty and that sidewalks will take away from it.

Hymerling voiced that he wished dialogue with the area residents had begun earlier than June.

“This has been a very trying time for us,” he said.

Commissioner Borden said that he believes that the installation of sidewalks will add to the neighborhood.

“I think sidewalks are a great plus,” said Borden, explaining that they will aid in the overall wellbeing of the public.

“I do believe that what we’re doing here will improve public safety,” he said.

Mayor Tish Colombi said that she was glad residents took the time to share their opinions and that the issue was important to her.

When she drives down a street, she said, she does not notice whether or not there are sidewalks — she notices the houses.

Mayor Colombi said that the plan continues the pattern that was begun years ago of adding sidewalks in conjunction with repaving streets.

Tuesday, Aug. 28 is the next scheduled meeting of the commissioners.


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