Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, October 21, 2013

Parking, recreation, public safety concerns aired at Council

What would 'just and capable' look like?

The administration that takes over from Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs in January will have plenty of unresolved issues to tend to, as evidenced by comments at last Tuesday's City Council meeting.

A resident of the 800-block of East Second Street complained about parking conditions in the area near Watchung Gardens. The resident says that because owners of the large rental complex are now charging tenants for using on-site parking spaces, many tenants are now parking in the street, encroaching on homeowners' driveway aprons and making it dangerous to exit one's driveway because lines of sight are obscured and correct turning is impeded.

The new administration may want to look into on-street parking generally in the city. After the infamous David Connolly instituted paid parking spaces at all his apartment properties (cash only, off the books, mind you!), Plainfield's streets became flooded with renters who resisted (or could not afford) the extra parking fees.

Some communities, such as Montclair, have turned the parking lemon into lemonade by instituting mandatory parking permits for on-street parking. Plainfield took a step in this direction when parking near Seidler Field became an issue after NJT farmed out the parking enforcement at Netherwood Station a number of years ago.
A Pop Warner football coach addressed the Council over issues at Seidler Field. His complaint was that the gas line to the concession stand was shut off, leaving volunteers unable to use it to prepare hot dogs for the games.

This is not the first time there have been complaints about concession stands at recreation facilities. The feud between Mayor Robinson-Briggs and the Queen City Baseball League centered in part on the shabby condition of the concession stand at the Rock Avenue ball fields.

A thorough review of the Recreation Division, from top to bottom, is certainly called for in light of other issues and abuses that have come to light.
Community activist Flor Gonzalez also spoke to the Council. Among the concerns she cited was her contention that the Police Division is not forthcoming about the race and ethnicity of victims and perpetrators of crime in Plainfield, especially of muggings and strong-arm robberies.

Summoned to the mike by Councilor Storch, Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig said that such stats are indeed kept, but there was no explanation as to why they are not shared.

One of the things a new administration can look at is more transparency on the part of the Public Safety Director on such matters. Chicago puts its crime stats online in near-real-time.
One thing is for sure, there is no lack of issues for a new administration to address that the current one has ignored.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

time to monetize those parking lots

Anonymous said...

Parking. When the administration stops cutting parking spaces for new "condo's" which will inevitably be rentals and use on street parking to make up the difference it will only get worse. I have been to planning board meetings and have seen the board placate the developer just to get the "needed housing" in. Like Plainfield needs more housing especially apartments.

Alan Goldstein said...

I would strongly suggest that you put the political differences and eight years of sniping aside so the transition goes as smoothly as possible. This will be in the best interest of the city, local government employees, and all its residents. If I might add another recommendation- get rid of countdown clock. It is nothing but continual unnecesssary baiting and childish.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those homeowners and it is very dangerous trying to get out of the drive way. I almost was hit by incoming traffic. Something must be done!

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those homeowners and it is very dangerous trying to get out of the drive way. I almost was hit by incoming traffic. Something must be done!

Anonymous said...

The director doesn't know much It seems that's his standard answer. Maybe he's busy on Craigs List again? Or Over promoting to get to Sharons people that shouldn't have gotten promoted and blew the police budget