By JOHN T. WARD
Stop signs, snow removal, street sweeping and other road-related issues were on the agenda at the Red Bank borough council’s workshop session Wednesday night.
Some new ordinances are expected to follow.
• Public utilities director Cliff Keen asked the council to consider enacting an alternate-side parking ordinance to help expedite street sweeping.
Such a law “would allow us to sweep streets all at once, without having to jog around cars,” he said. “An alternate-side parking ordinance would be best.”
He said geographic information system (GIS) technology is installed in the town’s streetsweeper. Allowing public access to the machine’s location via an app would enable residents to know where it is in relation to their homes so they know when to temporarily remove their vehicles, he said.
Alternate-side parking would be utilized for street sweeping only, and not for snow removal, said Business Administrator Ziad Shehady, who noted that parking is prohibited on all borough streets during snowstorms and until the roadways are clear.
This past winter saw enforcement blitzes after two storms that resulted in hundreds of parking violations being issued.
Shehady said a draft ordinance on alternates-side parking will be prepared for the council’s next workshop session, scheduled for December 5, with possible adoption in early 2019.
• Keen also asked the council to address the problem of property owners, particularly those with large commercial lots or housing complexes, plowing snow into roadways.
“Now it becomes our problem, and that’s definitely an issue,” he said.
“We have to have a discussion about that,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said, adding that he’s spoken to large site owners in the past who’ve raised “practical” questions.
“It’s a good issue, but we really have to get a dialogue with some of the condo associations,” he said. “It’s not that they’re objecting to it. It’s just that they need a better sense of how we’re going to address it.”
• An electronic sign on East Bergen Place in Red Bank earlier this week notified motorists of a coming change: the need to stop at the intersection, no matter which way they’re heading.
The new four-way stop is still coming, but it’s been delayed a bit, Keen told the council. Keen said his department plans to install larger-than-standard stop signs, which are on order for that location and others.
“Give me maybe a month, you should see most of the faded stop signs replaced,” he said.
Meanwhile, the new four-way stop at Pearl and Oakland is in effect, he said.
Councilman Michael Ballard said he would be seeking four-way stops at two additional locations: Tilton Avenue and River Street, at the approach to the Red Bank Primary School; and Leighton Avenue at West Westside Avenue.
• Also on the topic of East Bergen Place, Laura Neumann, of the borough’s contract engineering firm CME Associates, told the council that the road project there is nearing the end of its current phase, with the installation of new underground utilities.
“We’re pushing the contractor to get that done before the asphalt plant closes,” she said.
The road, between Broad Street and Branch Avenue, will get a fresh layer of asphalt immediately after, Neumann said. Then, after a 90-day settlement period “that will take us through the winter,” the contractor, Lucas Construction, will return to mill and repave the roadway, she said.
Under the $1.37 million contract, the work must be completed by May 1, 2019, she said.
• In conjunction with the work, a number of large sycamore trees that were interfering with the road improvements were cut down, Councilman Erik Yngstrom told redbankgreen recently.
The borough’s Shade Tree Committee, to which Yngstrom is the council liaison, “will evaluate the street and planting strip after construction is done and see if we can replant trees there,” he said.
• Brush pickup has ended for the season, with leaf pickups scheduled to begin next week, Keen said. “So there should be no more brush” out at the curb, and “if everyone could adhere to” the leaf-pickup schedule, “it would make our lives a lot easier,” he said.
• On a related topic, Fire Marshal Tommy Welsh told the council that code enforcement would revive a practice of leaving hang-tag warnings on the doors of homes and businesses for minor violations related to trash, brush, leaves and such.
The warnings would replaced certified-mail notices, making the process “a little more efficient” and timely, Welsh said. Property owners who don’t abate the violations by the date specified on the hangtags would be issued summonses, he said.
Under the existing system, “by the time the notice gets mailed out, you’ve got that leaf pile sitting there for several days already,” Shehady said.
Councilman Mark Taylor raised the issue of non-owner-occupied buildings, and whether tenants would pass the warnings along to the landlords.
“My experience with other towns is that the hangtags work really well,” Welsh replied.
Taylor also raised the prospect of landscapers continuing to put out brush or leaves in violation of ordinances. Menna said that would be the responsibility of the homeowner who hires the landscaper.
“It’s an education thing,” said Shehady, one that includes homeowners, tenants and contractors. Getting the word out to all “is not going to happen in one season,” he said.
• The borough has re-upped its periodic call for the public to register for community alerts, which can be obtained via text message or telephone call. More information can be found here.