MILLBURN, NJ - Amid growing complaints and criticisms of the Complete Streets project, word spread on social media that the Civic Eye Collaborative, an urban planning and multimedia studio was coming to Millburn on Friday afternoon to create a showcase video of the project. One social media post called for “HAPPY people” around town to come to downtown between 3:00 and 4:00 pm and “stop by downtown and sit in a parklet or sip coffee outside with a friend so there is lots of activity for them to shoot!”
Residents who strongly disagree with the Complete Streets project were quick to mobilize and planned a counter-protest to voice their discontent with the traffic, construction and “Millburn Complete Streets Insanity” per their signs. The group, around 15 strong, gathered at the parklet outside Dunkin Donuts.
One of the group’s leaders, Sarit Catz said, “It’s nice to walk around. There are flowers; there are little places to sit, that’s all great. Nobody has a problem with that. But we’re pedestrians too. We’re residents, we want to patronize the businesses here, but I can’t get here because the traffic is backed up a mile and a half down the road past my street. It’s crazy. Let's work together and come up with a solution for the people who live in this town.”
Despite appearing at many Township Committee meetings, many of the group members feel that their message isn’t being heard by the committee.
“This is our town. They work for us” said Catz. “They don’t rule over us. That’s democracy. We elected them; now they have to listen to us. They can’t just say ‘well, we don’t want to listen to that. We’re going to take a break’. You have to listen to us. We are the public.”
In the end, the video shoot never happened. The Civic Eye Collaborative failed to apply for and receive a filming permit. No date on filming is set at this time.
After a referendum resolution failed to come to a vote at the Township Committee meeting, some residents tried to garner enough support via a petition to get the issue added to the November ballot. The initiative did not receive the necessary 1,574 signatures to bypass the Township Committee.