My Plans for Ward 3 As Councilman
I’m running for Town Council Ward 3 because I believe Westfield can be governed more effectively. I plan to bring “Fresh Ideas and a Proactive Approach” to government and drive change. I’ll focus on the following ways to make Westfield better:
Pave More Ward 3 Roads: There are too many potholes in Ward 3. Experts recommend that towns pave 5% of their roads per year (since they last on average 20 years) but Westfield has only touched 3% of its roads annually on average since 2011 – a significant gap. I will pursue plans to pave at least 5% of Westfield’s streets per year, focusing on the streets in the worst condition.
Making Ward 3 Streets Safer. There is too much speeding in Ward 3, which contributes to dangerous intersections and road safety issues. I speak from first-hand experience because my house is at the corner of Shackamaxon Drive and Rahway Ave. and there’s usually 1 or more bad accidents per year. Residents living near this intersection have asked the town for years to implement solutions to slow cars down on Rahway and nothing has happened. I will pursue plans to identify the most dangerous streets and intersections and develop solutions for each. Potential solutions include improved speed limit signage, better street lighting, more police enforcement, additional stop signs, or speed barriers.
Fixing Ward 3 Sidewalks: Too many sidewalks are in poor condition, which can cause pedestrian safety issues, especially for our kids walking to school, seniors, joggers, and residents walking their dogs. Westfield used to fund 50% of the cost to repair residential sidewalks but this program ended in 2008. I’ll explore ways to restore this “sidewalk repair match” beginning with the 2018 municipal budget.
Re-Energizing The Downtown: There is more our town government can do to support the downtown. Numerous discussions with business owners, real estate agents, municipal lawyers and developers indicate that Westfield’s permitting process is too arduous/time-consuming, parking options are too limited and parking enforcement is too aggressive. All of these issues deter businesses from opening in and shoppers visiting Westfield. I will pursue solutions to each of these issues including:
- Parking: Pursue ways to add parking downtown, make it easier to find available parking downtown and enforce parking less aggressively. I’ll explore solutions including 1) launching a parking app for your mobile device that lets you know instantly how many spaces are available downtown and where, 2) benchmarking parking enforcement in neighboring towns and adjusting Westfield’s method accordingly and 3) approaching downtown entities with parking lots to see if they would let Westfield borrow/lease space during times that their lots are empty. Lastly, I will advocate that Westfield develop a new master plan to guide future development which should include new parking solutions and be executed in a collaborative and inclusive manner.
- Permitting: Pursue a more flexible and quicker permitting process, including faster review timeframes.
Make Government More Efficient: We should strive to perform town services as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible which doesn’t seem to happen all the time today. Leaf pick-up is one example – while many nearby towns use vacuum trucks, Westfield uses bulldozers and dump trucks, which seems inefficient. Also, when Westfield paves a street, the curbs don’t always get fixed at the same time, which also seems inefficient. I’ll challenge how Westfield performs everyday services and push the town to find better, more cost-effective solutions. I’ll also challenge every line item in the Westfield budget to make sure Westfield isn’t wasting money on outdated approaches.
Build 2-Way Dialogue With You: Today, many Ward 3 residents don’t feel like they have any dialogue with their current Ward 3 Councilman. I plan to create a 2-way dialogue with Ward 3 voters so your voice is heard and you are effectively represented. I’ll send out surveys periodically so I know what’s on your mind. And you’ll always be able to reach me 24/7 via text, email or phone for any reason.
Working together, we can make Westfield even better. It starts with electing David Contract for Town Council Ward 3. Remember Contract for Council on Nov. 7!