Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Clearing the streets of Sandy debris is only part of the picture

Just a few of the hundreds of trees toppled around the city by Hurricane Sandy.

Residents from several Plainfield neighborhoods have spoken at the last two Council meetings about the urgency of clearing storm debris -- mainly fallen branches and toppled trees -- from the city's streets.

DPWUD Director Eric Jackson said at last week's agenda-setting session that he expected DPW crews to be busy through the middle of December at the least in clearing the streets.

Given that there are piles of cut up branches and enormous sections of tree trunks everywhere from the hundreds of trees that have fallen, that seemed optimistic to me.

And residents this past Monday evening added their concern over leaf pickups, which have necessarily been delayed owing to the storm debris.

Seems to me there is another piece to the puzzle that no one is talking about: what to do with the stuff that is being removed from curbsides?

I have seen PMUA vehicles hauling 30-cubic-foot containers of debris westbound on Front Street, evidently to the PERC station on Rock Avenue.

The public parking lot adjacent to the Parking Division office on West 4th Street near Arlington Avenue is piled 15 to 20 feet high with tons and tons of storm debris.

The public lot behind Supremo presents a curious picture of a different sort. There are some tree parts dumped there in a rather disorganized way, and the area is now blocked off with sawhorses, suggesting that the dumping was illegal and being discouraged if not thoroughly thwarted.

Then there is the large pile of leaves neatly stacked in the middle of the public parking lot at the corner of Central Avenue and West 2nd Street. It magically appeared one day last week and has neither been added to nor removed ever since.

Not only is clearing both sides of Plainfield's 120 miles of streets going to be time consuming, it is a budget-buster as well. There has been no mention by the Robinson-Briggs administration as to any estimates of the overtime costs involved and whether the City will be appealing for FEMA to help cover the cleanup expenses, or whether they will simply fall on the backs of Plainfield's taxpayers.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I hope the administration has the brains to apply to FEMA for public works, police, fire and EMS services. That is what this organization is for. I hope and pray that someone in City Hall has the knowledge to fill out the forms correctly to attain the monies from the Feds. I am not sure that these is.

Anonymous said...

Are you really expecting the Mayor to exhibit leadership in time of crisis? Has she ever? Nothing is ever done right in this city...yet the same people and/or their minions are elected over and over again. The neighboring towns suffered as much devastation as Plainfield...their streets have been cleared. As for leaf pickup, perhaps the city should consider starting in September particularly in zones 9&10 where the leaves start falling in late July. These areas have the most trees. The streets wouldn't look so bad if leaves were picked up earlier.

OB3 said...

I just saw this in the paper about money for debris removal.

The question now is what will make the administration spend the money the way its intended to be spent?

K Donhauser said...

As the former National Flood Insurance Program, Community Rating System Coordinator for the City when it had an Engineering Division, I can categorically state that people need to take photos and have WRITTEN records of their interaction with Municipal officials, contractors and First Responders. The Aug 2, 1973 flooding took years to get reimbursed for. Wish I could lend a hand, but outside consultants have been deemed to be able to do a better job then this home grown, laid off 30 year City employee. Ken Donhauser, [Also the former crossing guard Captain for the 6th grade class at Jefferson School]