Work on Safe Route to Schools Sidewalks for Lafayette, Spring Street, Shunpike Still Years Away from Breaking Ground

Sidewalks on the east side of Lafayette Avenue are still at least two years away from being constructed according to Chatham Township Engineer John Ruschke Credits: TAP Chatham
Chatham Township received the Safe Route to School Grants to construct sidewalks, but the sidewalks are still years away from being built Credits: SRTS
John Ruschke, the township engineer, talks about the slow process when it comes to implementing Safe Routes to School Grant Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township received the largest Safe Routes to School Grant in the state in 2014 of $578,000 to install sidewalks on Lafayette Avenue and Spring Street. The work has yet to start.

John Ruschke, the township engineer, announced that the plan to install the sidewalks is still two years away from even starting during his report at the regular meeting of the Chatham Township Committee on Thursday night. 

"To be frank, I really don't expect this to really start to break ground for possibly two years," Ruschke said. "The way it's moving, it's a very slow process.

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"We also received a Safe Routes to School Grant for Shunpike (2016) and we met with the consultants and the DOT. We're still waiting for the consultant's estimate. It needs to go through a long process to get that ultimately approved. Realistically, it's more like a three-year process before we start to break ground."

Ruschke (see video below) didn't think the Lafayette Avenue/Spring Street sidewalks would start to be installed for two more years and predicted that the 2016 SRTS grant for the Shunpike sidewalks would take at least three years for work to begin.

The township committee, introduced four ordinances, all on 4-0 votes. All four ordinance will be up for adoption at the June 21 meeting, which will be the only time the committee meets in the month of June. The committee voted to cancel the meetings on the schedule for June 7 and June 28 and go with the one meeting on the 21st.

The first ordinance introduced will call for stop signs to be installed on Highland Avenue and Hall Road. Committee member Mike Kelly expressed concern that there was no feedback from residents on the proposal, but Chatham Township Police Chief Steven Hennelly (see video below) that there was no downside.

The other three ordinances introduced all had to do with establishing positions that were not officially on the books: Municipal Prosecutor, Office of Tax Assessor and Office of Zoning Officer.

According to Albert Cruz, township attorney, the ordinances are needed to create positions in the administrative code that do not exist.

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