To the Editor,
We are Homestead Village residents writing in regards to the disastrous rerouting of Ridge buses through Homestead Village that began last spring a never ending discussion of traffic problems. We have attended both BOE and Bernards Township meetings, have asked many questions to only hear the same empty response — we are working on the problem.
We have been patient. But our patience has run out and we are extremely angered that this dangerous situation has continued to go on into the new school year. We feel that we have been misled and strung along as a community for way too long.
We are also increasingly disturbed by the thought that a blackout period instituted on South Finley each morning is a viable option to reduce car traffic. We certainly sympathize with the residents of South Finley who have long put up with traffic, but this solution will only bring more cars to Homestead Village. South Finley residents are equally angered at the thought of construction to widen the road. It seems as if the only options being considered put Homestead Village and South Finley residents at odds. This is divisive and quite frankly will not benefit any of us. Certainly cars will avoid South Finley at a designated time if a blackout period is instituted but cars will not remain off the road. They will take a different route — though our neighborhood and drop students off at Cedar Hill. These additional cars will add to the bus and car traffic that has increased since last spring and continue to be a danger to our children walking to school as well as waiting for buses.
It has become quite clear to us that this is no longer simply a Homestead Village or South Finley resident’s problem. It is a township problem! So why then is the township not correcting the problem in the way that would please residents, immediately improve the situation as well as follow the recommendation by the traffic consultants hired and paid to investigate the problem?
A recommendation has been to pave the gravel road between the municipal lot and Ridge High School. Initially, when we asked about this option prior to the traffic study, we were told by the township committee that this could not be done because of the possible delays in response time the police would have exiting Collyer Lane. Yet, this problem was clearly given a viable solution by our very own traffic engineer. Pave the gravel road and make it a one way entry point only. Response time is no longer an issue. Problem solved. Right? We thought so but apparently the Township Committee still does not.
The Township Committee still says no to this solution despite also being asked by the BOE to do the very same thing. We are all frustrated by this situation and it is now causing residents to become upset with one another. So rather than point the finger at each other, we think it is time to point the finger at those people who can fix this problem – the Township Committee. We have a direct question and we want an answer. Why do we keep being told that paving the road is off the table? Many residents may not be aware that in 2005 following a traffic study, the township committee unanimously voted to “immediately obtain two roadway easements for an access road connecting Ridge High School, the municipal complex and Collyer Lane.”
All the facts about this approval are available to the public in the township committee minutes. We wonder if residents are aware of this fact. If this was approved in 2005 why can it not be approved in 2012? And in fact, if it has already been approved why must it be approved again? Is there any kind of grandfather clause? We believe as tax paying residents we are entitled to be provided with the facts and answers to our questions.
So Township Committee, please provide all the residents of Basking Ridge with the reasons that the access road cannot be paved today when it could be in 2005? Is the implication that response time was less important then? Why did the members of the past Township Committee on which John Malay was a member vote to do so and yet you have refused to uphold their approval? Why are you avoiding a solution that could positively bring the township together? We thought the township committee’s responsibility was to be the voice of the community? It certainly does not seem so as exemplified by the handling of this situation. The community has spoken many times. We want the access road paved so the buses can once again return to Ridge High School where they belong. We want safety returned to our neighborhood. We want our Homestead Village and South Finley friendships to remain. Township Committee, we urge you to revisit your stance.
Charlie and Jennifer White
Basking Ridge Residents