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Ben Lucarelli: You Asked, He Answered

As part of Patch's 'Newsmakers' initiative, residents asked the Fair Haven mayor questions about issues on their minds and he answered. Find out what he said.

Last week, as a person of power in the area, agreed to be part of Rumson-Fair Haven Patch's "Newsmakers ..." initiative.

The feature allows residents to pose questions to people in these positions of authority, through Patch, and the newsmakers answer those questions. The intention is to open up lines of communication in a published, public forum.

Well, several people asked Mayor Lucarelli questions; and, he was enthusaistic about providing answers. Below is a list of those questions and the mayor's answers in Q&A format.

See what the mayor had to say. Someone else's question may be something you had on your mind for which there is now an answer.

Q: Have you given any thought about making the strip of land between Fisk and the ball field a dog park?

A: Thank you. A good time was had by all. We have not considered this site for a dog park but we are exploring other recreation opportunities for our four-legged friends.

Q: Is there any way Maple Avenue and 3rd Street can get curbs and sidewalks? It's a very busy street with police and fire vehicles and park activity and our children need a place to walk that's not in the street.

A: You bring up an issue that has been and remains a concern of the borough. It is the reason why Third Street is closed to vehicular traffic during school hours. Unfortunately, given our limited capital budget and our many roads in disrepair, it may be some time before we are able to upgrade this area with sidewalks.

Q: • Why does Fair Haven Road only have a sidewalk on the opposite side of the school?
•  Wouldn't it be great if Fair Haven and Rumson create a walkway/bike path on River Road? It's so dangerous to walk along this road! It would be an opportunity to get people out of their cars and perhaps a little more foot traffic in the Fair Haven/Rumson shops and restaurants along the way.
•  Sometimes you don't realize what a beautiful, charming community you have until you no longer have it. Fair Haven has lost so much of its "charm and character" which just adds to the desirability of the community. Where is the architectural review committee? You can build new to look old, to blend in to the charming town it is. For example, look at how special and beautiful Fair Haven Road is between the River and River Road. These homes are so special, so full of history. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

A: Thank you for your questions.
•  This is the reason why we have cross walks and crossing guards.
•  As an avid cyclist, I am a proponent of “shararrows,” which are currently being installed on the streets in Red Bank, (they are two chevrons with a cyclist symbol) that indicate that cyclists have priority. This question is timely in that we are moving forward with such initiatives as part of the Streetscape program.

•  Your point here brings up the conflict between government dictating taste and Constitutional private property rights. It is one reason why our Planning and Zoning boards are barred from making decisions based on architectural design.

Q: Did you know that separated, bicycle-pedestrian paths can increase property values by up to $8,800? I wish I could pedal River Road, but driving to Hartshorne Park is scary enough for me.
http://128.175.63.72/projects/DOCUMENTS/bikepathfinal.pdf

A: Thank you for the reference. As you can see from my answer to the second question above, your concern is on our agenda.

Q: Will it ever be a priority to repair the curbs on Ridge Road between Cambridge Avenue and Hance Road? After all the improvements to the downtown, it seems a shame that as you enter our town on Ridge Road, the curbside is such a visual mess.

A: Ridge Road is a county road, (County Route 34 and, as such, is not under the borough jurisdiction. The sidewalk and curbs are not currently listed on our capital program. River Road is also a county road (County Route 10). However, the project involved several other factors. The streetscape improvements and amenities enhanced the aesthetics of our downtown, while improving pedestrian safety, and providing an economic benefit to the business district.

Q: Congratulations on becoming Mayor of Fair Haven. Is there any way we can stop the county from putting up these huge black boxes at our intersections? They are blind spots for children riding bikes and someone is going to get hurt, especially at Hance and River roads where the kids ride to school. They look terrible as well.

A: Thank you, The control boxes for the traffic lights are a necessity, as they house the computerized control equipment and battery back up with which the lights are operated. They are painted black to match the lights. The intention is to soften the look. Their location is unavoidable, due to the limited right-of-way.

Q: Which section of FH River Road is scheduled for the continuation of the StreetScape project? I assumed all of River Road was going to get new sidewalks eventually.

A: StreetScape East will encompass the area from Oak Place to the Rumson/Fair Haven border. Due to delays in completing StreetScape West, we have received an extension of our grant for this work. That said, we are looking to get this project off of the ground in the near future.

Michele Curley June 30, 2012 at 01:38 PM
For five years the town has been saying they will repair the sidewalk in front of my house. I understand that River Rd is a County Rd but apparently this section is under your jurisdiction. My sidewalk is probably the WORST in the borough. Because it is next to the stream and at a low point in the road all the water and debris accumulates in the sewer. Frequently I have to clean it out. Because of this water flow the sidewalk is totally eroded and needs immediate repair. Cement is falling into the street. The adjacent sidewalk already collapsed and hence the county fixed it but did not repair the sidewalk which is so badly damaged by the same water. The situation is unsafe and ignoring the situation is unfair to the homeowner whose value iis decreasing. We pay very high taxes in Fair Haven. I appreciate your response. 896 River Rd.

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