BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each week leading to the November 6 election, the candidates running for Berkeley Heights Township Mayor and Township Council have the opportunity to answer question(s) that will be run in a series by TAPinto Berkeley Heights.
The following answer is from Township Council Candidate Alvaro Medeiros (D) for week two.
Week 2 Question: What is your recommendation for an infrastructure plan to handle the impact of the addition of approximately 1,000 new housing units as part of the Affordable Housing Settlement? (Please include scope of impact on roads, services and infrastructure.)
Ideally the Township master plan should anticipate emerging trends and the likely impacts that can be expected. Housing costs have risen in our area increasing the appeal of Berkeley Heights for many homeowners and renters driving interest in developers and builders to invest in housing units here. What’s evident to them should be reflected in the Master Plan and should in turn guide the Township leadership in development of a sound capital plan for road repair, road signage and traffic lights, etc.
With almost 1000 units approved for construction, we can be sure that there will be more traffic, more children attending our schools and more commuters accessing the trains and buses. Angie Devanney, Stephen Yellin and I have advocated for a strong private-public partnership to improve the downtown and this too applies to adjusting to and accommodating growth.
We need to facilitate pedestrian not automotive traffic and should increase and enhance our street crossing sites similar to what New Providence has done. Similarly, school children should be encouraged to walk to school and the walkways made available and improved for that purpose. We should better manage the use of roadways by trucks limiting the roads used and also limiting the number of garbage trucks and enabling residents to self serve their recycling needs with downtown recycling facilities.
We should improve the access of commuters to trains and buses. For example, we could utilize the senior citizens bus in the morning and evening as a commuter jitney to and from the train station.
Finally, we must be open to and encourage ideas from our residents about solutions to the township. We should adopt Councilman Poage’s proposal of a grant writing committee to ensure we leverage all funding resources and we should have a Township planning committee to generate affordable ideas to the inevitability of change that we can be sure to expect in the Township.