Traffic Concerns Top Clark Council Discussion

Council Vice President Steve Hund conducted the Monday workshop meeting in Council President Bill Smith's absence.  Looking on are Township Attorney Howard Lesnik (center) and Councilman Frank Mazzarella. Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell
Councilman Brian Toal and Clark Township Clerk Edith Merkel. Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell

CLARK, NJ – Current and future traffic near the Clark Commons was discussed at Monday evening’s township council meeting.  Mayor Sal Bonaccorso commended Lieutenant Michael Pollock and the Clark Police Department for their work during the ongoing road construction project on Central Avenue and Raritan Road.

Bonaccorso also addressed concerns that had been brought to him by Councilman Pat O’Connor regarding anticipated traffic issues in the Clark Commons area.  He said that until the project is completed there is no point in speculating about possible traffic problems. 

“People are looking at certain things and imagining certain problems. I have to say ‘imagining’ because no one is going in and out of there yet,” Bonaccorso said.  “When there is concern, we will jump on it.”

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He said traffic island height is dictated by New Jersey Department of Transportation standards to allow police, fire and first aid access at all times.   Nothing in the project has been changed from initial planning board approvals and all of the work is conforming to both DOT and three independent traffic engineering specifications he said.

When the TD Bank at the corner of Raritan Road and Westfield Avenue was being built, said Bonaccorso, he was one of the people who complained to then councilman Peter Nevargic about the "tremendous traffic" it would create.  "I was wrong," said Bonaccorso. "The traffic engineers knew more than me."

"Hopefully it will work out and solve everyone's problems," he said. "But if there is something that needs to be addressed, I will address it."

The grand opening date for the Clark Commons is set for August 7, 2015.   

The township council adopted the revised "sign ordinance." No objections to the ordinance had been filed with the clerk’s office and no member of the public commented during the public hearing.  

A public hearing on an amendment to the sign ordinance that was approved by the planning board at its April 2 meeting will be held on April 20.  The amendment address three issues not covered in the adopted ordinance.  The first is an allowance for window awnings, the second concerns in-ground menu signage at drive-through restaurants and the third pertains to directional, informational or street signs erected by government agencies or utilities.

The council also introduced ordinances that would set salaries for various public employees throughout the township. These included white collar employees, communications operators and police personnel. The ordinances are required to support provisions in a recently ratified contract.

The proposed township budget is available online. A resolution was passed setting the public hearing on the budget for the council’s April 20, 2015 meeting.

George Stafford of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition addressed the council. He asked them to consider passing a resolution in support of the 2004 Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act.  Councilman Brian Toal said that the Clark Environmental Commission will consider the resolution at its next meeting and make a recommendation back to the council at a future meeting. 

Bonaccorso and Acting Police Chief Pedro Matos are scheduled to meet with Union County Manager Al Faella to discuss traffic and parking strategies for the upcoming "Food Truck and Rock Carnival" event that will be held in Oak Ridge Park in September. 

The meeting began with a proclamation recognizing the Clark Kiwanis Club on its 60th Anniversary. 

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