At the June 10 Pennington Borough Council meeting, Mayor James Davy and Council members discussed the Great Western Bikeway Project, and the Chief of Police discussed the department’s work to keep traffic moving while keeping drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists safe.
Mercer County Great Western Bikeway
Davy discussed the County’s plans for a network of dedicated or shared bicycle lanes and high visibility crossings proposed for roads in Pennington, Hopewell, Lawrence, and Ewing. Known as the county’s Regional Transportation Alternatives Program, details of the plan were presented at a public information session held at the Hopewell Township Municipal Building June 27.
Based on the County’s proposal, a segment of the bikeway will act as a branch to downtown Pennington via Main Street and East Delaware Avenue. The plan also designates a no-parking zone from Curlis Avenue to Van Noy. The Pennington Council has proposed a Sharrows (shared bike and auto) lane on that stretch of road and has sent this suggestion to the County planning department.
Looking ahead: The County anticipates the design phase to be completed by the summer of 2024, and construction to start that fall.
Current Traffic News
Chief of Police Douglas Pinelli announced that the department has received a traffic monitor that will be placed at various Borough locations and used to measure the volume of traffic and record speed of vehicles. Pinelli expects that the monitor will reduce unsafe speeding and provide data to help determine the possible need for additional traffic signals or signs.
On the topic of the Beigene movement of large construction components through the Borough, Pinelli said the updated transport schedule, which has been changed to early morning hours, has contributed to less traffic disruption and happier residents and business owners. More good news: Pinelli said Beigene has finished moving the largest hauls. The rest of the scheduled transports are expected to run through August.
Municipal Planner Jim Kyle from KMA, Kyle & McManus Associates, spoke to the Council about the future redevelopment of the former landfill site between West Delaware Avenue and Broemel Place. Kyle cited the advantages of using a PILOT tax abatement agreement with the redeveloper as opposed to tax payments. Council did not make a decision on this topic since Kyle’s presentation was intended for information and discussion only for this meeting. The topic will be addressed in future meetings.
Green Acres Grant
Davy announced that Pennington’s application for a Green Acres matching grant of $300,000 was approved by the NJ Dept of Environmental Protection and the Garden State Preservation Trust. The funding is contingent on the passage of a legislative appropriation.
New Police Blotter available to the Public
Recycling Costs under scrutiny
Council President Kit Chandler and Council members discussed the 2024 shared services agreement between Mercer County Improvement Authority and Pennington. Several members expressed dissatisfaction over the contract price, $79, 500, which almost doubles the 2023 agreement. Members discussed the possibility of bringing recycling in house, but a few members who had researched this option with other vendors, found that the cost would be just as expensive. In conclusion, Council agreed to approve the agreement for one year and would get bids from new vendors to revisit recycling options for future years.
Estimated Tax Bills are …. well, estimated
Council members shared feedback they received from residents about the August tax bill, which was estimated because the State has not yet approved the County budget.
Some residents have expressed the idea that the total amount of the bill for this year could be calculated by multiplying the August estimated bill by four, which would represent the four quarters of the year. Council explained this method is not accurate, and the Borough office has published a detailed explanation on this matter on its website.
Public Works Superintendent Rick Smith announced that the water department will be conducting fire hydrant flushing and inspections to improve water quality by removing sediment build-up in the water mains. Flushing could cause temporary water discoloration at the faucet and is not reason for alarm. Letting the water run for a minute or two will clear out the water flow.
Chandler thanked the volunteers who worked on the Arboretum located behind Toll Gate School. She reported that large hazardous limbs on a Silver Maple tree will be removed and payment for the work will come from the Open Space Trust Fund.
Free summer events
Council Member Kat Angarone announced three upcoming library programs:
* Family Movie & Craft: The Bad Guys; July 26, 2-4pm.
* Art Talk: Winslow Homer: American Vision, Close to Nature; July 23, 7pm (Zoom event).This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Pennington Public Library and the Hopewell Valley Arts Council.
* In Conversation with Author Laura Spence-Ash; August 30, 7pm. Spence, who lives in Hopewell, discusses her novel “Beyond That, The Sea.”
Register for these events at the library website: https://www.penningtonlibrary.org.
Council member Charles Marciante announced a concert in the park, July 27, 6pm at Howe Commons. The event is free, but attendees are asked to bring a food donation for the Hopewell Food Pantry.
Environmental Commission: Davy appointed two new members: Yasmine Zein and Michael Abrahamson. Timothy Schwartz has resigned.
Parks and Recreation Commission: The Mayor and Council approved the appointment of John Gasparine. Elise Thompson has resigned.
The next Pennington Borough Council meeting is scheduled for August 7.
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