Tuesday, August 18, 2009

City Plans Study of Transit Oriented Development

One of the two "walk-on" items at the City Council's regular meeting Monday was a resolution to seek $80,000 in UEZ funds for a visioning study of development along the Raritan Valley rail corridor that spans the city east to west.

A major premise of transit-oriented development is that there should be greater residential density around train stations. There is a lot more to it than that, and because Councilman Cory Storch has been the primary advocate for a study, I will defer to his blog posts on the subject for background.

As for Monday's discourse on the resolution, Storch and Councilman William Reid offered contrasting viewpoints. Both have served as liaisons to the Planning Board, but while Reid said there was already a study by the city's engineering firm, Storch said the master plan specifically calls for a visioning study. Reid unsuccessfuly attempted to have the resolution tabled, then took offense at Storch's comment about "irony" in a failed move the same night to table a controversial $140,000 resolution for an outside engineering firm. Storch had wanted to cut the amount in half and to seek competitive bids in coming months.

Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson said the negotiated engineering contract could not be amended without both parties agreeing to it, but Reid's reaction to Storch's comment was to state firmly that he did not "do the business of the city with irony."

Anyway, Storch said the study would be done by "leading experts in the state" and suggested that "where development has become politicized," the use of graduate students would keep the study better focused.

Now that four of the seven City Council members have blogs or web sites where they provide information and insight on their views, it may be best to read what they have to say on major issues. Plaintalker will continue to report on City Council action and to provide background based on documents available in City Hall, but as for you, the readers and the electorate, knowing what your representatives are thinking is quite valuable. Those with blogs are Annie McWilliams, Cory Storch, Adrian Mapp and Rashid Burney. Dan Damon posts links to all on his blog, CLIPS.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has there been any justification on why we should spend the $85,000? Has anyone presented to the Council on how this money will benefit Plainfield?

Has anyone questioned this? Do we have any examples of communities that this has benefited from?

Seems like a rush job to me. I find it highly suspecious.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:07 is right. I too want to know. What are we going to get from that $85,000? What justification? What presentation? What proof? Are you telling me nothing? Nada from Bernice? Nada from Dan? Nada from Old Doc? Now you are all asleep because Storch is Ok with it?

Why is everone asleep?

12:20 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Bernice... love reading your blog!
We just moved to Plainfield last year in October and so far we love it (except for having an attempted break in and our fence tagged/spray painted). Since you were on the subject of the transit village, I thought I would note something. The little announcements about what's going on in Plainfield (that they put up on a sign at Netherwood station) haven't changed since I moved here. Has there not been anything new going on that has been worthy of posting at the train station? Or has it just been long forgotten?

10:24 AM  
Blogger Bernice said...

To Mike:
There has not been any definitive action. The mayor in 2006 proposed four "transit villages," at the two exisiting train stations and at two now-defunct ones, but the official transit village designation is given to a municipality, not to a project.
Plainfield applied for such designation in the previous administration, but has not received it. You can use the "search" box on the blog to look up past posts on the transit village issue.
Thanks for your interest!

11:42 AM  

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