During my recent primary campaign to become the local Democratic Party nominee for the 3rd Ward in this upcoming November election, I knocked on hundreds of doors. Dozens of Plainfield residents expressed grave concerns about many issues that need to be addressed by the council and the Robinson-Briggs administration. An issue that came up quite frequently was the condition of our roads and the worsening state of deterioration due to benign neglect.
As one walks around the city, one cannot help but notice the terrible shape of most of the streets and the hazardous conditions that pedestrians and drivers encounter on a daily basis as they try to maneuver around the many bumps and pot holes. This is a situation that cries out for attention and leadership on the part of the Robinson-Briggs administration. The section of roadway on West 8th Street by the Plainfield Public Library is a classic example of what happens when infrastructural needs are neglected.
As president of the council in 2004, I worked with the former administration and council to pass Bond Ordinance 1236, which funded the repaving of 22 city streets between 2004 and 2005. This was the beginning of what was to be an annual resurfacing program. Sadly, this repaving program has been largely ignored for the past three years.
It is crucially important for the administration and council to give priority to fixing the city’s broken streets. Additionally, the city must hold New Jersey American Water responsible for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage caused by the many utility cuts necessitated by the current enhancements to the water lines throughout the city. I encourage the mayor and council to have immediate discussions with New Jersey American Water to ensure that the damage caused to city streets by its ongoing project is corrected to the infra-red patching standards required by city ordinance. I hope that New Jersey American has made all of the appropriate escrow deposits for the many cuts it has made to city streets. This utility company must be held accountable and Plainfield tax payers must be spared the cost of restoration.
The mayor and council must get the road resurfacing program back on track immediately, and must commit to an annual program. Such a commitment should not be made conveniently once every four years event in preparation for an election. It must be a genuine ongoing commitment.