Dear Mayor Dickson, Council President Robert Rubino and Common Council:
Over the past 30 plus years, numerous studies on the need for additional parking in the downtown have been commissioned by an untold number of Common Councils via their appointed committees, commissions, civic groups, chambers of commerce, SDI, etal. ALL of them have come to the conclusion that more parking is needed in the downtown. And virtually ALL of them have proposed that Lot 1 on the corner of Woodland and DeForest Avenues would be the ideal spot. And ALL of those proposals – most of them paid for our tax dollars - have gone down to defeat!
Why, you ask? Because, the good people of Summit do not want a tiered parking garage on that particularly busy and pedestrian/child-sensitive area – and up until now – their voices have carried the day. However, those of you sitting on Council now, led by President Rubino, and with scarce leadership from our elected Mayor Dickson, are not listening – and that scares me and should scare all of us. Perhaps you are not listening, because citizens’ voices are no longer heard early in the evening, as was the case during the tenure of the last three mayors Whitman, Long and Glatt, but rather late, late in the Council meeting. And perhaps Dr. Rubino’s re-introduction of the egg timer has had a stifling effect on public participation. Some of you, like Councilman Dill, might recall the days of the egg timer some years ago, and the reason for its demise. But, I digress.
You claim to have informed us, but until yesterday when I received a 50-page document of memos, studies, charts, analyses – most of them done by Desman, I had no idea that a bond issue was coming before you tonight, July 7th. One important note about Desman, based on my 30 years of involvement in Summit land use: to my knowledge, Desman has never found a lack of sufficient parking if that is what the client so desires, e.g. Overlook Hospital’s plan to build a second medical arts center building without adding a single new parking space – and we all know how well that worked out; or a need for additional parking via a tiered garage should the Council and Mayor and SPAC so desire (WHO IS SPAC by the way – what are the names of the members?). But again, I digress.
There is far too much in those 50 pages for me to consider and bring to your attention, but one single figure did stand out – perhaps because it directly impacts my grandson, his friends, their moms, dad and dogs and “countless” others: Apparently pedestrian counts were diligently undertaken at the corner of Woodland and DeForest between the hours of noon and 2:00pm and 4:00 – 6:00pm. What about a count of those “countless others” between 7:30am – 8:30m; and 2:30pm – 3:30pm?
With the hope that many others will be speaking out on this summer evening for as long as necessary, and that you, Mayor and Council, will listen for as long as necessary, and with kind regards,
Phyllis G. Sank
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