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Homestead Village Resident Calls For Ridge Traffic Solution

Letter to Editor writer: 'Proposed solution seems like a band-aid on a wound that requires stitches.'

To the editor,

As a resident of Homestead Village, I understand that I am biased toward finding a solution for the long-standing traffic issue at Ridge High School. A small, quiet neighborhood is no place to reroute 27 buses and the Board of Education seems to be in agreement and working towards implementing a solution within the confines of the school property.

My concern is that any solution that is restricted to the existing school property is in no way sustainable given how quickly our community grows. The proposed solution of widening the health department driveway to allow for a left turn doesn’t seem sufficient to account for the hundreds of cars driving to and from the school or commuting through our town’s main throughway.

In addition, this plan negatively affects the residents along South Finley and they have expressed their displeasure in several Township Committee and Board of Education meetings. If this plan isn’t successful, the result will be unhappy South Finley residents, frustrated commuters, and even more cars cutting through Homestead to avoid the absurd traffic lines getting to Ridge.
 
Time and again, the Township Committee has maintained that paving the gravel driveway behind the municipal building is off the table as a possible solution and, as John Carpenter stated, “an even bigger mistake” than rerouting the buses through Homestead Village. I would like some data as to why this plan is a mistake. If the police are concerned about having access to the municipal building during the early morning hours in which cars will be utilizing the entrance then let us know how often that has occurred over the last ten years so we understand the impact. Every week? Every month? Once a year? Or are we just speculating on something that might be a possibility. Is there a concern that police will be unable to exit the municipal building complex during a 20-minute period each morning for the 180 days that school is in session? How often is that a necessity and is there another solution that would alleviate this concern?
 
The current situation has a large number of buses driving through an area where there are residents commuting, high school students walking, and parents driving children to the middle school. Add to that the 50-80 parents who also drop high school students off in the Cedar Hill parking lot and it is just a matter of time before someone gets hurt or there is a serious accident. The proposed solution seems like a band-aid on a wound that requires stitches.

Paving the gravel driveway behind the municipal building would remove over 200 cars from the traffic accessing the main entrance to the school, reduce the amount of time it takes to maneuver through the intersection, potentially allow the bus company to push back pick up times and increase the number of bus riders, and finally, create a second entrance and exit that a school this size requires. The Township Committee insists on treating residents like children, telling us that the municipal complex is not an option because they say so. Give us reasons. Treat us like adults. Like the tax-paying, voting adults that we are.

Christina Ehret

Homestead Village, Basking Ridge

Todd Edelstein September 27, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Both Christina Ehret & Eileen Walsh have valid points. This mess has been going on since at least April and nothing has been done other than finger pointing. I've been to most of the town council meetings and even spoken to the fact that there is no reason to prevent vehicles from using the town hall entrance, drive to the rear of town hall, pass the radio tower, down the gravel road passing the school field, on to the school property. I, myself wouldn't bother with paving over the gravel, since it would encourage the vehicles to travel slowly. Pot holes would be filled w/more gravel or use a grader to flatten the gravel. The traffic would be allowed only to travel one way, which is towards the school, so there wouldn't be a problem with the police cars being prevented from exiting the property. The gate can be closed & locked after the start of school(or 5-10 before), making the path a "before school only" entrance. So why can't there be a test period to see if it will cause any problems at town hall or if it will help alleviate some of the traffic problem on Finley.
Todd Edelstein September 27, 2012 at 04:41 AM
The problem doesn't affect me since the 25 buses don't clog up my street, I don't travel through that area during the school rush hour, and I don't live next to the school on Finley, but it does affect Homestead area, the people who own homes near the school, and the traveling public. Concerning the few people that live near the school and are fighting the "Plan C", which they may lose some property, I suggest they go over the heads of the BOE & Twp Committee and go to the Board of Freeholders meeting and tell them that the neighborhood is against the widening of Finely. The more the merry. I've been to the County Freeholder meeting before and they have a public comment period also. If the BOE has contacted the county, it might be on the agenda of the next meeting which is 10/9/12. The Board of Freeholders meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. in the third-floor meeting room of the Somerset County Administration Building, 20 Grove Street, Somerville, NJ 08876. Agenda sessions are held the Thursday prior to each regular meeting at 4:30 pm in the same location. Remember, in November, two Twp Committee persons are up for election as well as Freeholders. If you are not satisfied with the progress by election time, you can show your discontent at the polls.

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