Pedestrian Level of Service Mike, That Is My Recommendation

Yesterday VELO Bloomfield  went to the Bloomfield Planning meeting to object to the pedestrian unsafe and unfriendly development proposed on 168 Bloomfield Avenue by Bloomfield Development LLC.

(See 168 Bloomfield Avenue Traffic Reports.)

We started out with the fact that Bloomfield Avenue is dangerous, backed up with crash data by the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition and then the town’s lawyer (not the developer’s, the town’s lawyer, the person supposed to be looking out for our interests) A. Michael Rubin began challenging us.

“Where did you get the data from” Rubin asked? I (Lark representing VELO Bloomfield) stated “The New Jersey Bike Walk Coalition” and then he said, “Where?!” and I again said, “The New Jersey Bike Walk Coalition” and then he said “Where?!” and so again I responded, “The New Jersey Bike Walk Coalition” and then Rubin asked where did they got the data from and I said, “The New Jersey State Police” and then he asked how do I know they got it from the police….this was in my opinion outrageous.

Why is the town’s lawyer (consultant) cross examining citizens and implying that we were being untruthful after we answered him? We gave a clear answer, this was about intimidation.

VELO Bloomfield was discussing the safety of Bloomfield’s pedestrians on one of the most dangerous streets in the most dangerous county for pedestrians in New Jersey.

We gave our recommendation of a Pedestrian Level of Service Study. We stated this no less than three times and the reason we gave was for the safety of the pedestrians on one of the most deadly streets in Essex County, the county that has the highest number of crash pedestrian fatalities.

Even after giving this recommendation three times we had to deal with Rubin’s theatrics that implied we had not given a recommendation.

“You can’t just stand here and criticize and not give a recommendation,” said Rubin.

And for the fourth time  VELO Bloomfield  reminds Rubin that our recommendation was a Pedestrian Level of Service

Why wasn’t the chairperson of the planning commission asking questions? Why just Rubin?

Then Rubin explained that this planning meeting is pretty much a formality, because if the law states that a place can be zoned for something as long as it is safe then they’ll approve it.

The Bloomfield Development LLC proposal isn’t safe.

We said several times the design was not safe owing to the parking in front, the request to widen the driveway and reiterated the developer’s team own comments that they couldn’t put a crosswalk in the facility’s parking lot, because it was too dangerous and we made the sensible suggestion of a Pedestrian Level of Service Study.

The unsafe and pedestrian unfriendly Bloomfield Development LLC was approved unanimously by the board.

Rubin actively impeded the democratic process last night. Rubin is not the chair of the planning committee, people in Bloomfield didn’t vote for him and his 10 minute cross examination of me was unacceptable.

The people who walk, jog, and ride their bike in Bloomfield deserve better than Rubin.

We did not lose this battle. We introduced to the board the concept of pedestrian oriented development, which is a step forward.

We were impeded by an old way of thinking, but if you bike in New Jersey, you are used to going around the long way.

By Lark Lo, Director VELO Bloomfield

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