Government

Advisability of Advice Regarding West Orange Shuttle Route Debated at Council Meeting

5334109612b1dec472e8_WP_20170509_18_35_09_Pro.jpg
Deena Rubin introduced the SHARP presentation urging Mayor Parisi to meet with its members before the new jitney route is presented to the public. Credits: Alan Grossman
fbda9313d96a439af6d3_WP_20170509_19_44_39_Pro.jpg
Resident Lise Gjertsen says it's about time that the taxpayers in Pleasantdale and Redwood sections got the same jitney service as other parts of the town have had for years. Credits: Alan Grossman
475dde242671b47d9c4c_WP_20170509_19_48_24_Pro.jpg
Resident Robert Grossberg says it took him almost 2 hours to get home that night, and the new jitney to the train should cut out 45 minutes of his trip to New York. Credits: Alan Grossman
5334109612b1dec472e8_WP_20170509_18_35_09_Pro.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ — A nine-minute video, featuring 16 area residents urging Mayor Robert Parisi to listen to their advice before putting together the route plan for the new Pleasantdale/Redwood shuttle to the train scheduled to begin this summer, kicked off Tuesday’s West Orange Township Council meeting.

The video, produced by the Shuttle Advocates of Redwood and Pleasantdale (SHARP) group, set the tone for the meeting, as it was also seen as “slanderous” by some council members who were discontent with the way in which the mayor and council were portrayed.

Deena Rubin, a town resident who invited people to participate in the video, said that SHARP has been asking for a meeting with Parisi to give its input on the route before it was put together by Lenny Lepore, municipal engineer, and the Administration.

Sign Up for E-News

“Time and time again we were told that the township is working on it, but the mayor would not commit to meeting with us,” said Rubin.

She added that members of SHARP have driven several possible routes to determine what was doable time-wise.

“We are taxpayers who want to be heard. We know that what we have worked on is compelling and has value. We want to be heard, and not be dismissed,” said Rubin, who asked council members to publicly state that they are in favor of SHARP members sitting down with the mayor to collaborate on this route.

The members of the council did not make such a commitment, according to the group.

Some members of the council expressed their displeasure about the way the SHARP video portrayed how the creation of this jitney route put them and the mayor in a bad light when they approved the funding for this new shuttle. According to council members, Council President Joe Krakoviak was the only councilman to be invited to the meeting where people were being interviewed about what they deemed to be the best way to create the new route.

“The mayor is putting together the route,” said Councilman Victor Cirilo. “Once done, he will confer with the committee on the route…I find this video to be slanderous. The mayor has an impeccable record of working with community groups on projects such as this one.”

Stating that he was “in shock” about how the mayor was portrayed in the video, Cirilo added that once the route draft is ready, the mayor will meet with the residents.

Council member Susan McCartney said she was not in favor of showing this video at this meeting. McCartney told SHARP members who were present that she is sorry they feel dismissed, but that she did not feel that the emails that were sent to the administration, including those to Business Administrator John Sayers, reflected that they were not being heard.

“It is the job of the township’s engineers to put together the route,” said McCartney. The plan is not in place yet,” said McCartney.

She added that the time to tweak this plan would come after it is presented by the mayor.

Council member Michelle Casalino also expressed “confusion” as to why the members of SHARP felt dismissed.

“We just passed the budget to fund this route last month, and I’ve been in touch with you,” she said. “The budget goes into place after July.”

Casalino explained that this is not an easy route because Highway 280 traffic back-ups must be taken into account. She said that the township’s traffic engineers can best determine the timing of the route.

Councilman Jerry Guarino expressed disappointment that other members of the council were not invited to the SHARP meeting where the videoing took place.

“We all voted for this new jitney route, and we’re there for you,” he said. “We want your input, but don’t want to throw the dice and see what we got. This is why we start with the traffic engineers, who do these types of things.”

Krakoviak was the only member of the council to argue that the mayor should meet with the SHARP group before the first route plan is presented to the public.

“We have already developed three shuttle routes,” said Sayers. “That’s what we do…We have to lay out a plan. We’ve been working on it, and it should be ready by the end of next week. We do it with the actual bus. You can’t replicate it with a car. It’s not the same. We put the best run together to accommodate the most people.”

He added that there is “always room for adjustments and changes.”

During the public comment part of the meeting, several residents from the Pleasantdale and Redwood sections spoke about this issue.

“It would be extremely valuable for the mayor to hear us about this route,” said Robert Grossberg. “You have every right to reject our input, but I find it is easier to build things up than to change them around later.”

Debra Spivack, who lives on the West Orange border near Verona Park, said that for people like her, it is important to provide parking facilities near a shuttle stop.

“The excitement about the jitney is great,” said Larry Rein, president of the JCC MetroWest. “The sooner it happens the better. It will increase the number of people moving into our community.”

The next council meeting will be held on May 23.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Free Class at CylcleBar Livingston to Support Sustainability

June 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Join us at CycleBar Livingston for Uplift Humanity's first charity event! In addition to getting your sweat on for FREE, you can learn about about how we are using a sustainability-first approach to solve poverty in developing countries around the world. Meet our Board and Founder and get information on volunteer opportunities.

We've partnered with ...

Deegan Dental Implant Special!

WEST ORANGE, NJ - OUR NEW DENTAL IMPLANT SPECIAL OFFER WILL GIVE YOU REASON TO SMILE!

Deegan Dental is happy to announce our New Dental Implant Special Offer that will give you a reason to smile! Our New Special Offer, that expires 11/30/2018, covers a single Complete Tooth Replacement (including the Implant, Stock Abutment and E-max Crown) for only $2,200 per Implant; a Great Value ...

Former Jefferson School (Maplewood) Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 22, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Tue, June 26, 8:15 AM

Whole Foods market, West Orange

JBN Presents: Women's Networking in West Orange

Business & Finance

Wed, June 27, 11:00 AM

United Way of Northern New Jersey, Montclair

Volunteer Advocate Info Session

Giving Back Law & Justice

Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation Donates New Scoreboard to the West Orange PAL Baseball Field

On Sunday, April 15, the West Orange PAL baseball teams began their opening ceremonies of the spring season with a heartfelt dedication of a new scoreboard, donated by the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation.  The foundation was created to honor the life of Michael, a lifelong West Orange resident, who tragically died in a car accident on the day after his 19th birthday, Aug.

Mt. Olive Memorial Weekend Tournament: Bringing Baseball Back to West Orange!

“I’ve got to find the right spot”

“Two out rally!”

“Protect the ball”

“You fired up? I’m fired up! I can’t hear you!”

“Breathe!” “Deep breath, reset”

“Whoa..where are you going?? You can’t move”

Just a few of the statements you may have heard this past weekend at the ...

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Schedules Family Nights and Zoo-vies This Summer

June 21, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Essex County Turtle Back Zoo will have Family Nights with extended evening hours to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the months of July and August, with the last admission to the zoo at 8 p.m.

In addition, on Wednesday evenings during July and August, Zoo-vies, featuring animal-related movies, will be shown on the top floor of the Turtle Back Zoo Parking ...

My So-Called Graduation

The last of my children graduated from high school.  

 

My son and daughter threw their caps high into the air and cheered their liberation from one symbolic institution before contemplating their matriculation into other, much larger institutions significantly further away.  

 

Or at least far enough away that they won’t be needing rides home from ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...