My name is André Luboff, and I have lived and raised our family in New Providence for over 35 years. It was with interest that I read the October 2, 2017 Letter to the Editor posted in TAPInto by Ms. Peterson and Mr. Doll, both of whom are seeking positions on the New Providence Borough Council, regarding “Safety First”, their “position paper” as they seek election to the New Providence Borough Council.
Traffic and pedestrian design and operations have been my expertise, as a Professional Engineer (PE) involved in major civil and transportation engineering projects throughout the northeastern United States, for over four decades. I have delivered presentations and webinars to many public agencies, community and professional organizations including the FHWA Livability Council to evaluate strategies to safely integrate vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian use in communities like New Providence by incorporating “Complete Streets”, “Traffic Calming” and “Placemaking” strategies, among others. I have served this community for nearly 25 years, starting with the A.W. Roberts School PTA and our earning the 1994 State PTA School Safety Award. Over the past 17 years, I have served as Borough representative to the Union County Transportation Advisory Board (UCTAB), including terms as Secretary and Chairperson of the UCTAB, and provided active consultation with Borough and County professionals for the last two Union County Transportation Master Plans. These efforts, and especially those of Mayor Morgan, Borough Administrator Doug Marvin and our Borough Council, have made New Providence among the most regularly engaged of the twenty-one Union County municipalities on matters of safety and public works despite our geographic remoteness from county officials in Elizabeth. During the past four years, I have worked on the Borough Council’s Economic Development Committee, where the enhancement and sustainability of traffic, parking and pedestrian activities with our Borough have been, and continue to be, a defining focus of our efforts.
Suffice to say, I understand the dynamic nature of these issues, and the complexities of working with various constituencies, agencies and developers. “Safety First” is not a new idea, or a new effort; it has been and remains the guiding principle that has been adhered to by the leadership of this Borough, including the Mayor, the Borough Council, Borough police and public works staff, and committee volunteers, for the years that I have volunteered my service to the community. Through these efforts, I have gotten to know and work with Dr. Bob Robinson and Nadine Geoffroy, current candidates for the New Providence Borough Council, and witnessed their knowledge, commitment and service to the community.
During the recent past, the New Providence Borough Council and its affiliated boards (including the Planning Board) have advanced these and other safety – oriented measures:
- New traffic signals at the intersections of Maple Street and Central Avenue (funded locally), and at Springfield and Union Avenues (funded by Union County at the Borough’s request);
- A $462,000 grant awarded to New Providence by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) program, in coordination with our police and Board of Education;
- The 2016 Downtown Master Plan, approved by the Borough Council and being considered by potential developers, geared toward redevelopment that will advance walkability, parking efficiencies, and connectivity between properties;
- Addition of over 90 curbside parking spaces, bringing parking closer to businesses to reduce conflicted paths to businesses, in cooperation with Union County professionals;
- Posts, pavement markings and signing fostering “traffic calming” and safety, working with Union County on their roads or with our own forces on local roads such as Union Avenue;
- Increased off-street parking near Lincoln Field and on Borough property abutting the Village Shopping Center, to foster greater certainty for drivers, pedestrians, shoppers and recreation participants;
- The development of “Pioneer Paths” between Grove Park and Warner Park, with connectivity to AWR, NPMS and NPHS, and Borough parks, under study for over one year by the Economic Development Committee;
- Removal of the dilapidated Ping Wang greenhouses, removing glass and hazardous materials from an abandoned greenhouse site to help champion park and redevelopment opportunities;
- The Downtown Streetscape Program, with Phase 2 to be approved shortly by the NJDOT;
- The Borough’s ongoing Sidewalk Renovation and Completion program, enacted throughout the borough to close gaps in continuity along South Street, Central Avenue and other locations, and to upgrade deteriorating segments proactively;
- Variable message signing (VMS) and speed detection on local streets, and enhanced enforcement in those areas, by the combined efforts of the New Providence Police and Public Works Departments;
- The installation of flashing pedestrian beacons at crosswalks by New Providence in coordination with Union County along Springfield Avenue and South Street, and continued enhancements to crosswalks including the recent addition of reflectorized flags donated by the NP Police Department;
- The study of contiguous parking and shared services concepts throughout the business district and along Salt Brook (i.e., “Riverwalk”), subject to NJDEP regulations.
I’ve heard from friends that the opposing candidates are nice people, but to date they have not been engaged in these matters aside from blogging and “Letters To The Editor”. Neither “Listening Tours” nor position papers sprinkled with “buzz words” and emotional appeals are a substitute for consistent and effective service to the community. By contrast, Councilman Bob Robinson, through his years of dedicated service widely known to his constituents, and Nadine Geoffroy, through her service to the community as PTA President and on the Borough Planning Board, have been key parts of the Borough leadership that have worked to implement these and other improvements to our community, always putting “Safety First”. It is the real efforts of people like Doc Robinson and Nadine Geoffroy that have placed New Providence within the top 2% of desirable communities in the State, according to the September 2017 issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine.
Facts matter. And the facts are that Doc Robinson and Nadine Geoffroy have the proven track record of knowledge, experience and service to the community needed to sustain New Providence’s continued excellence, and to move us forward. In contrast, their opponents’ lack of involvement, knowledge and specifics, reveals their lack of preparedness to serve. For these reasons, I proudly support Dr. Bob Robinson and Nadine Geoffroy for election to the New Providence Borough Council, and encourage the rest of my community to do the same.
André Luboff, PE