Would You Pour Gasoline On A Campfire?

Of course not, however Mayor Brindle and most of the Westfield Town council are more than happy to in your name.  Without having completed any traffic or parking studies, the Mayor and the Town Council are charging ahead to create a massive 200,000 – 400,000 sq. ft. illuminated artificial turf sports complex with a $3.1M concession stand behind Edison Middle School.  There are safer, more equitable, financially and environmentally responsible options.  Public safety issues and concerns already exist and will greatly increase if this project moves forward. 

Volume and speed of traffic – There is no denying how bad the existing traffic is on Rahway Ave.  It is so bad, the town installed a hawk type signal, an expanded and highly visible cross walk and Mr. Bolton, Principal at EIS, sends out emails about the dangers; including heavy traffic, busy cross-walks, and even the glare of the sun.  There are better options and as Westfield parents we owe it to our children, ourselves and our neighbors to demand a better solution.

No parking study has been completed.  During events cars park throughout neighboring streets as people avoid the mayhem of Rahway Ave.  Many cars are improperly parked and reduce / eliminate sightlines which provide some margin of safety.  The Parks Master Plan suggests overflow parking at WHS.  In downtown Westfield people resist walking 20 yds or less to use a cross walk, they jay walk constantly.  Does anyone honestly believe people will walk 880 yards, that is ½ mile one way, lugging gear, in the heat, rain, dark, etc..? No reasonable person believes that will happen, it’s not done today.

During a single event on the Edison field in June of 2021, I took over 2 dozen pictures that highlight tangible safety issues: babies in strollers being pushed down the middle of streets, parents unloading and loading kids in the middle of street while inhibiting traffic, bicyclists riding down the street obscured by vehicles, multiple pedestrians, adults and children, walking side by side with and without dogs, congesting the roadway and delivery trucks, lawn service companies, with little clearance on each side of their vehicles as they pass through car lined streets.

Just imagine how bad it will be, every Spring, early & late Summer, Fall, Friday, Saturday and Sunday up until 10pm at night, with visiting drivers unfamiliar with traffic patterns.  When you significantly increase the density of traffic, coming and going, daytime and night, with overlapping games, mixed with cars, bikes, pets and pedestrians you are building an even more dangerous situation than exists today; by your own choice.  If you live around Memorial Park, Tamaques Park and the Elm St. field, this nightmare is coming your way next.  Show that you care and tell the Mayor to make a better choice; use grass not turf, spread the fields around town and do not use lights in any residential neighborhood.

Stephen Kircher, 9/30/21

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