Storm Recovery a Priority at Westfield Council Conference Meeting; Recent Car Crash Was Caused By HAWK Light, Resident Attests

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Town Administrator Jim Gildea talks about the effects of Saturday's early snowstorm. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
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WESTFIELD, NJ – At a council conference meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 1, a spokesperson for PSE&G told the Westfield town council the company hoped to have power restored to 90 percent of its customers by Thursday morning.

At the height of the outages, PSE&G estimates that 1,620 customers were without power, while 619 remained in the dark as of Tuesday evening. The governor’s goal is to have 95 percent of power restored by Thursday, she said, and the company hopes to reach that goal by Wednesday evening. The spokesperson said that crews are working 16 hours a day and are receiving help from other power companies.

Although the Westfield police and fire departments have reportedly together surveyed every street in Westfield, customers without power should call PSE&G, if they have not already, at 1-800-436-7734, to ensure the company knows they are in need of repair.

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“This storm is in many ways worse than Irene,” said Town Administrator Jim Gildea, especially in terms of the vegetation that came down. In response, he said, Westfield will begin curbside pickup of organic storm debris, in addition to its usual October leaf collection, this week. The conservation center will also be open seven days a week with expanded hours, from 9am to 2:30pm Monday through Friday and from 9am until 3pm on weekends for as long as necessary.

On Saturday night, every traffic light in downtown Westfield was dark. “In some places it looked more like a tornado went through,” noted Mayor Andy Skibitsky.

After discussion of storm recovery, resident Maria Carluccio told the council of an accident in front of her home on October 27 at The HAWK pedestrian activated mid-block crosswalk located on Central avenue near Cambridge Road, which she has spoken against at many town council meetings in the past. She and others have complained that the light and the crosswalk are impractical and even dangerous where they are and that drivers frequently drive through the crosswalk when the light is activated.

She contends that this is the fourth “major accident” at that crosswalk in six months. She questioned what it would take to get the council to admit that putting the crosswalk mid-block was a mistake.

Resident Adina Enculescu also spoke about the recent accident, and expressed her anger that the council refused to respond to her questions. “We are human beings. We are your constituents. We are tax-payers,” she told the council just before the open session was adjourned.

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