Tenafly Borough Council Tackles Pedestrian Safety and Community Recreation

In a recent meeting, the Tenafly Borough Council confronted a multitude of community challenges, ranging from pedestrian safety concerns, recreational facilities development, to the restructuring of local infrastructure and community events. With topics spanning a wide variety of municipal matters, the council prioritized pedestrian safety and recreation, especially focusing on road maintenance, traffic control, speed regulation, and the enhancement of community facilities such as parks and recreational centers.

After a recent fatality on Angle Street, the council delved into discussions regarding pedestrian safety. The Chief of Police offered insights into the main causes of accidents, emphasizing left turns by vehicles and the importance of marked crosswalks. Heated debates followed, touching on road re-striping, crosswalk additions, and compliance with handicap accessibility (ADA) ramps. The high costs of ADA ramps were acknowledged by one council member who stated, “I think it’s silly because obviously something that the safety of pedestrian crossing the street is more important than making a little step and maybe twisting your ankle.” The council also explored alternative speed control methods, including speed humps and electronic signs, amid concerns about noise and necessity.

Further discussions focused on the ongoing rehabilitation and construction projects within the community. A key debate centered around the Swim Club building’s disrepair, with options ranging from rehabilitating the existing structure to demolishing it for potential costs up to half a million dollars. Grants from Bergen County were also discussed for improvements to the building, outdoor lighting, fencing, and restrooms. Other topics included the planning of skate parks, dog parks, wildlife viewing areas, tennis and pickleball courts, and senior centers. Julie O’Connor emphasized staying true to the original plans already voted on, stating, “this was the plan that was voted on you know to proceed, and I just want our residents to know that we’re able to be a functioning governing body.”

The meeting also addressed community recreation. Various options for renovating and upgrading parks and recreational facilities were explored, such as recycled plastic benches and vinyl stockade fences. Specific attention was given to the creation of multi-use spaces that could accommodate sports like roller hockey or lacrosse. Concerns about environmental restrictions, potential cost overruns, and the desire to maximize space for recreational needs were expressed.

Infrastructure-related topics extended to solid waste collection. The council received bids for collection and weighed side yard and curbside options. The decision, pending community input, will likely affect household expenses by $14 to $20 per year. Residents raised concerns about curbside garbage, truck noise, and the environmental impact of certain practices.

Another contentious matter was a homeowner’s request to remove a sidewalk at Birchwood Place, deeming it an “orphan sidewalk.” Lauren Dayton argued against removal, emphasizing the community’s desire for walkable safe routes. After much debate, the motion was approved.

Additional discussions during the meeting included grants for bikeways and pedestrian safety, upcoming events like Oktoberfest, a proposal for a historical overlay for a major commercial district, and the possibility of inspecting nail salons.

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