Additional Sidewalks in Township to be Considered

Sidewalks a key feature in increasing student safety, according to Safe Routes to School Committee.

After is sworn in as the new committee member for and other regular business has been dealt with, Committee Member Kathy Abbott will discuss the costs and potential effects in adding sidewalks near schools.

Along with the which is made up of about 15 parents from the Chathams, Abbott has helped prepare most of the requirements for a grant through Safe Routes to School.

"The township has to pay for the 'soft costs' of the grant preparation, such as engineering, in order to win federal Safe Routes to School funds," Abbott said. The funds could go toward enhancements to pedestrian safety, "such as sidewalks and pedestrian-activated flashers," Abbott said.

The committee and , a non-profit organization which promotes transportation alternatives to driving, have spent this academic year conducting surveys, collecting data and studying the reasons why students do not walk or bike to school.

During in April, the organizations offered maps with recommended walking and biking paths to each of the six schools in the . Schools offered and for students who walked to school.

"In Chatham Township, there is a particular need for this Safe Routes to School grant, since we have three schools, holding 2,269 children, within a one-mile radius and with very few sidewalks," Abbott said.

Streets which will be addressed specifically during the meeting are:

  • Lafayette Avenue
  • Longwood Avenue
  • Spring Street
  • Dellwood Avenue
  • Dale Drive
  • School Avenue
  • Hampton Road
  • Shunpike Road


For Abbott, "the benefits—monetary as well as health, safety, traffic reduction and sense of community—far outweigh the cost of paying the engineer to help with the grant." The township, she said, could become a model for other towns.

The meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Chatham Township Municipal Building. The complete agenda can be found in the Photos & Documents section of this article.

Biff June 14, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I see listed on Monday night’s Committee agenda, (above - included with this article) “2012-09 Steep Slope Ordinance”. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if that reflects a change that will directly aid a certain someone who sued the Township (and lost) over this or similar ordinance after wanting to build a home that the Township nixed? I am happy to be corrected if I have my facts wrong, but would like to know if this is one in the same issue/ordinance.
Sir June 14, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Agree that sidewalks are needed for safety reasons first and foremost. Watchung has sidewalks on both sides of the street and once you get to Lafayette, they more or less stop. I would like to see a sidewalk on both sides of Shunpike from Lafayette all the way to atleast Noe, if not down to Shunpike field.
Biff June 14, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Thank you for responding Mr. Templin, and I must admit that I was disappointed that you didn’t chime in on the blog string that followed the announcement of Laura N. getting the open Committee seat. As a follow-up to your comments above, what about any potential benefit to the family of a certain someone (note I am not using any names) who have a fabulous, if not slopey piece of property/estate *cough* *cough* I mean farm.
debbie bucuk June 14, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Interesting how "someone" manages to respond to comments before they are even fully uploaded/posted...."Biff" ... carrying on a two-person conversation all by yourself to get your point across...very creative.
Patch Rapscallion June 14, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Hold on here folks, Anonymous may have point. It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that the farming ordinance was passed for the produce kick-backs and not to simply allow a small, family-owned, organic farm to provide fresh vegetables for the local community. Who knows how many “complimentary” bushels of carrots Abbott has received? Not to mention snap peas, broccoli rabe… and don’t even get me started on the radishes! Also, I agree we should all use our real names; unfortunately, I am also an enormous coward.
Richard E. Templin June 14, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Thanks for the past invite to have joined in on the Laura N. announcement. I actually thought the Republicans did the classy thing by giving Laura the position. However, for ethical reasons, I don't like to chime into Party discussions. Plus its Laura's Day and she doesn't need the other side spoiling it for her. Now if they pick on me or one of my people, then the keyboard is going to fire up.
Biff June 14, 2012 at 07:21 PM
LOL, not “ALL” of the Republicans did the classy thing. In the end, I think it was less about doing the right/classy thing, and more a fear of further PO’ing half the Township’s Republican base, not to mention all of the other non registered Republicans, who were outraged over what Bully and Nicole put Laura through. You are a kind man to credit this as a “classy” gesture. PS, I’d still like to get your take on the above question of whether there could be any “Family” benefit.
Biff June 14, 2012 at 08:19 PM
“Sidewalks” LOL, that is completely Kathy’s initiative and will likely get passed thanks to Bob and now Laura voting for it. If not for Laura joining the Committee and giving the Good Team a majority, I’m not sure it would stand a chance If Bully/Nicole support the sidewalks, it may be because they know it will get passed with or without them and they may want to jump on the “looks responsible” bandwagon, but then again they may still vote against it. Either way, the Good Team has a majority through the end of the year. You may not consider Kathy to be a Good Team member, but I do - Sorry Debbie Bucuk if that messes up your theory.
Biff June 14, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Well, you actually raise a very good point, that Nicole has the all important role of controlling the schedule. All the more reason why Nicole has got to go!
YPC June 14, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Ahh Biff? Why have a township committee when we have you?!?! Forget the whole process! Forget the right for members to have their right to have an opion and vote accordingly!! If you don't agree then everyone is WRONG!! The "good side" is who you (and Richard) agree with. The "bad side" is everyone else! They should have a resolution tonight to dispand the committee and have ALL MATTERS PRESENTED TO A BIFF!!! Aye!!!!!
Biff June 15, 2012 at 12:26 AM
The Good Team listens to and represents their constituents, they don't bully the other members of the committee, and they don't base their votes solely on personal ego and emotion. If Bailey and Nicole behaved that way, they too would be on the Good team regardless of whether their views were at all in common with mine. Mr. Templin and I don't agree on all (e.g. Kathy Abbot).
Biff June 15, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Thanks Mr. Templin, I feel the same way about you, know you hate bullying and bullies as much as I do, and I appreciate all the information and research that you provide . . . Keep it up, the Township needs less apathy and more awareness. Thank you sir.
tom c June 15, 2012 at 11:19 AM
I meant it as a question for advice, Mr. Templin. You know the real scoop.
Biff June 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Yes Tom C, Yes!!  I would add that the true heros last night, the people we can be proud to have as neighbors, were the concerned parents, especially the Mothers who spoke last night.  Many of those Mothers have been fighting for child safety and sidewalks for decades, that decades!!  It is clear from watching Bailey that he will continue to try to "slow track" the sidewalks, bogging down every set of the process.  Nicole's incredibly superficial, half hearted statements to the speakers about promising to take every point and concern very seriously - came across more like: OK lady, wrap it up - I'm not going to remember a thing you just said, within 30 seconds.  That said, Bravo to all of last night's speakers, and thank you!  You are 100% correct, the Committee is charged with the responsibility of ensuring public safety.  Bailey kept going on about sidewalk liability, but I would like to have the Committee members who thwart this be liable if any children are harmed, which I hope to God never happens.
Janet Roffina June 15, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I was one of the parents that spoke last night. I have been a Township resident for 21 years and have raised 7 children here. For almost 2 decades, I have been trying to get sidewalks installed on the east side of Lafayette Ave (between Shunpike and Fairview) so that my children could have a safe route to the middle school. I have approached both police depts, both public works depts, and the school district. I was told by all concerned that since the area I was talking about was owned by both towns, constructing sidewalks would be impossible. I was thrilled when Kathy Abbott organized the Safe Routes to School and I am now a member of that committee. I now realize that there are MANY areas of both towns that desperately need sidewalks. Children can often be seen walking on VERY busy streets or darting across dangerous intersections. When the school districts merged over 20 yrs ago, I doubt that much energy was spent on planning safe walking routes. We now have borough children attending CHS and LAS and township children attending middle school. That greatly increases the traffic as parents (and high school students) are driving to these schools also. We have been blessed that more accidents have not happened. Our children MUST be our top priority! They NEED safe walking and biking routes to their schools. Janet Roffina
John Nonnenmacher June 15, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I was there last night Janet and you did a great job. I hope your passion did not fall on deaf ears. I agree with you and Tom. The safety of our children have to be of paramount concern. I am a trial attorney and have been trying cases for more than 25 years. I serve on the Board of Directors for the New York State Trial Lawyers. I am appalled by the concern of costs when it comes to the safety of our children. I know the Township is cost conscious and rightly so. However, you can not place a dollar amount on child safety. Don't wait for a child to be injured to act. Act instead to prevent a child from being injured.
Janet Roffina June 15, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Thank you for your above comment John. I agree that the township needs to be fiscally responsible, but I feel the same way you do. There are many ways to cut expenses and remove unnecessary costs. The need for sidewalks has gone on for over 20 years and needs to be addressed now. The Safe Routes to School program is trying to get funds from OUTSIDE of Chatham through a grant. I think the support of the Township and the Borough for this should almost be a given! As one of the other speakers said last night, we can't wait until one or more of our kids is injured or killed to address this problem.
TCG June 15, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Can anyone give me a ballpark figure for what this might cost?
Biff June 15, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Thank you for presenting a list of options Mr. Templin. At the risk of sounding negative about your strategy #2, I grew up in a small town very much like Chatham where this very issue (sidewalks) was put on the ballot. Sadly, people voted with their wallets. Matters of public safety, as clearly evidenced by the facts presented at last night’s meeting (high number of accidents at locations/times when children are going to/from school), should be reviewed and approved by the Township committee. This isn’t an issue like a turf athletic field and similar “nice to haves”, we’re talking about the safety of our children. As stated by one of the Mothers last night, the Committee has a duty and responsibility to protect the safety and welfare of the citizenry. This shouldn’t in my opinion be a ballot issue, but again, thank you for presenting the options that you did. It is best to get everything out on the table and considered.
heretoolong June 15, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Merger is a great idea, but it will get hung up on on the train station parking issue.
Biff June 15, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I don't get what the issue is at the train station. Every day there are dozens and dozens of empty spots, but the daily $5 spots are gone before 7am. It sure seems like some sharing arrangement could be made. The Township is the ONLY surrounding town NOT to have a train station, or parking rights at one. There has to be some compromise with the Borough. People drive to other towns to park at train stations, that's a lot of lost revenue for the Chathams.
Dave 2 June 15, 2012 at 06:44 PM
There’s a shock...Templin wasn’t at the meeting! Please don't ever quit your day job as a Director at Pifzer and become a reporter...because you are awful at telling the story as it is. If you watched the meeting on TV and think it all happened the way you said it did then I suggest you get a tape and watch again. The whole point of the sidewalk discussion is that they are going after a grant for the money and need to prepare the documents. There are a lot of people involved with making this happen. The people that spoke last night did a fantastic job and showed the desire to make it happen. I support them and the idea 110%! To sit here and say that the Township Committee is going to shoot this idea down is wrong. You watched...did they vote on it? As for Bailey ranting about you, don’t miss the point that he was making...He was going on public record stating that the Market Garden Ordinance is not the Right to Farm Act, as you claim. He also went on record that he does not and will not gain anything financially or other wise by passing this Ordinance, as you claim. I would have to say the reason he said what he said was because you are continually making false, intentionally misleading allegations and harassing he, Nicole and Kathy. I believe he has the right to speak his mind, wouldn’t you agree? Enough with your sour grapes! If Chatham Township os so bad, why do you spend you weekends here?
CHAT42 June 15, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Really? Spending the money on sidewalks on residential streets which I think are 25mph. What about Shunpike Road from the new turf fields all the way to Lafayette? Cars and trucks go over 40mph, no sidewalks, a lot of pedestrian traffic for games and general activity. And there are homes from Lafayette to a little past Ferndale Ave which are within the 2 mile walking distance to Washington Ave School, the Middle School & the High School. All of those students can NOT walk or ride their bikes to school! The grant money should be spent most dangerous roads.
Stacey Ewald June 15, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Mr. Templin - Wow. Lots to respond to here. First and foremost, I'd like to address your attack on Kathy Abbott. I know Kathy primarily through our work on the SBS PTO and from other community initiatives, In almost every conversation I've ever had with Kathy, there have been two overriding, guiding themes - effective environmental stewardship and the safety, health and welfare of our children, oftentimes both being interrelated. I think most who know her or worked with her will attest to the fact that she spends alot of her own personal time, efforts and resources working towards both objectives on behalf of our community. So while I can appreciate your concern that the Market Garden Ordinance will increase transient traffic in your community, it is inappropriate to imply that Kathy Abbott (or even Nicole Hagner) has turned into the pedophile welcome wagon. With respect to merging the Chathams, as much as it makes sense, the reality is that the Borough has repeatedly rejected this union. Between their valuable parking real estate and our Superfund site liability, it appears the only way they'll entertain this notion is if it's a shotgun wedding which I'm sure Chris Christie is working on. In the absence of a State-mandated or highly incentivized merging, our towns should be working actively on shared services. We've got some but we can certainly do more.
CHAT42 June 15, 2012 at 09:05 PM
YES!...from Lafayette to Shunpike Field I strongly agree. If any one of you ride along Shunpike, especially on the weekends, there are so many children & adults walking I can't believe we still don't have them. Especially with the recent field upgrades and added parking. Both side would be a dream but one side is Madison, so you would have to get them on board as well.
Cathy P June 15, 2012 at 09:37 PM
DId anyone see who really benefitted from the farm ordinance??? Why, Bailey Brower and our Mayor! Both Noe Pond and the Mayor's home on River Road have been classified as "Farm" .....Lower taxes for them!
Dave 2 June 15, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Still not sure why you insist I am Dan Miller, but it seems to be your go to hack response...just like your hack onesided misinformed website. If it were Right to Farm, wouldn't it be called Right to Farm? How many more ways can you twist the story In the hopes that someone that is not familiar with the story will take your side?
toastie June 16, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Cathy P - please try to back your copycat statement with anything factual. Please! Where did you "see" that? Stacey- thank you for being rational. Dave 2 - why bother? Richard - not worthy of comment BUT - you don't get your way - instead of taking your ball and going home you rant and rave and sue. You will lose in November (if you dont stroke out by then) and likely sue again for not getting your way.
Dave 2 June 16, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Toastie - Very well said! I am not sure why I bother, I have nothing to gain or to lose in all of this. I guess it's because I have been following this story from the start. I do not like the way Templin lies and cries. I do not like the lies and accusations against the Township Committee members. I see him as a cry baby coward that is trying to mislead the people (even though I don't think many people really even read these comments). He didn't even attent a majority of the Township meetings when this fight was going on. Instead he prepared written statements which he had his friend lawyer and neighbors read on his behalf. Not to mention he really only spends the weekends (if that) in Chatham. I agree he has no chance in winning anything in November.
Laura Silvius (Editor) June 16, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Hi Everyone, We seem to have gotten a bit off-topic here. The article is about sidewalks in town, not elections. We will therefore we will be closing comments to this article. Sincerely, Laura Silvius


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