WESTFIELD, NJ — Three Westfield residents appeared before the town council at Tuesday night’s meeting to express concern and anger regarding the new 24-hour 7-Eleven on the corner of Central Avenue and Grove Street.
Shawn Mullen said he previously met with the town property committee in February to present his concerns about 24-hour businesses. He claimed the convenience store makes Westfield less safe, providing data and statistics about robberies and dangerous incidents at 24-hour convenience stores and other 7-Elevens in the area. (Mullen later submitted a letter to the editor. To read it, click here.)
“Public records show that, over the past several years, Westfield’s convenience stores have been sites for a plethora of criminal offenses,” Mullen said, “including robbery, theft, drug possession and distribution, fighting, harassment, shoplifting and a variety of disorderly persons offenses, such as loitering and disturbing the peace.”
Harvey Davidson, who lives on Carleton Road, voiced concerns about traffic safety. Davidson said he has had two near-accidents on Grove Street and recommended a no left-turn sign from the Grove Street exit of the 7-Eleven. There is currently a no left-turn sign from the Central Avenue exit of the convenience store.
Davidson also voiced concern about the cars parked on Grove Street near the convenience store. He said cars disregard the no-parking sign that is placed near the first home and park in the right-turn lane from Grove Street onto Central Avenue. Additionally, he requested a "no U-turn allowed" sign near the store.
“I think these are safety concerns,” Davidson said. “I do believe there are accidents waiting to happen.”
Jennifer Silva, a neighbor of Davidson, also addressed the council about traffic concerns related to the convenience store. She’s called the police department three times since the store opened because cars have blocked her from leaving her driveway, and she has witnessed near-accidents and kids nearly being hit by cars due to cars turning left out of 7-Eleven’s Grove Street exit, she said.
“I shouldn’t have to deal with not getting out of my own house,” Silva said. “It’s a safety issue for myself, other families and children. It’s a continuous, foreseeable headache.”
Silva, like Davidson, requested additional signs for no parking and no left-turns out of the exit. She also asked for the curbs on Grove Street and Carleton Road to be painted yellow.
“We’ll monitor the traffic flow there,” Mayor Andy Skibitsky told the residents. “We’ll make sure that any of these ideas that should be merited are sent to the public safety committee."