By Kayla J. Marsh
EATONTOWN – Borough Council members are ringing in the new year with a series of discussions, resolutions and ordinances aimed at improving pedestrian access to major roadways and providing better handling of precious metals.
At the council’s Jan. 13 meeting, Borough Engineer David Marks provided an update on the proposal that Councilman Richard J. Robinson recently made about placing pedestrian bridges at certain areas for residents preferring to walk or bike to hard-to access areas — such as the Monmouth Mall on heavily trafficked Route 35.
Marks said the councilman reached out to his office and asked that the engineers look into some potential funding opportunities associated with pedestrian bridges across Route 35 and Route 36 and near some housing developments.
“A few years back, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) had contacted my office and they held a safety improvement team meeting [and] we actually walked the Highway 35 corridors,” he said.
Marks said the main focus at the time of the walk was pedestrian movements parallel to the highway, not necessarily crossing.
“It was generally felt that the existing crossings were sufficient, however over the past few years, we’ve had some changes in development trends,” he said.
“We’ve had some residential development along Highway 35 … which appear to necessitate some mid-block (crossing) between Industrial Way and Monmouth Mall, so we are looking into that and we will continue to investigate.”
Marks said that he has pulled and provided Robinson a copy of the study that was prepared by the NJDOT’s engineer and is reviewing that and some potential federal and state funding sources that have been found.
“We will investigate which ones have viability for some type of pedestrian crossing improvements over Highway 35 and really provide recommendations back to the NJDOT as part of the safety improvement team process to incorporate some of these ideas and goals into their overall corridors improvement plan,” he said. “The goal is to have zero local funds for that and have it all from a state highway standpoint and we will purse that with the NJDOT.”
At the Jan. 13 meeting, the Borough Council also unanimously introduced an ordinance aimed at dealing with the theft of precious metals and secondhand goods from residents of Eatontown.
“Chief [Michael] Goldfarb had reached out at the end of last year and … at the urging of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office as well as the Attorney General’s Office, the chief has asked me to attempt to introduce a new ordinance dealing with redemption of precious metals,” Borough Administrator George Jackson said.
According to Jackson, there is a new system that the Prosecutor’s Office and Attorney General’s Office are advocating for to assist law enforcement – the Regional Automated Property Information Database or RAPID.
“It is a software program that contains entries from multiple law enforcement jurisdictions for precious metals, jewelry or other types of items that are either redeemed or pawned,” Jackson said.
He said the system is easier compared to years ago when officers would have to go town to town.
“This gives our law enforcement the ability to go online and look at other towns’ records right from their own laptop,” Jackson said.
Jackson said the purpose of the ordinance is to assist law enforcement officials and victims of crime in recovering stolen precious metals and other secondhand goods by requiring minimum identification, reporting, maintenance and distribution criteria for licensed dealers in these goods.
“The old system, you could get a lot of burglaries solved, but it was with a lot of manpower and just hoping that everyone did the right thing,” Mayor Dennis Connelly said. “I do believe this is a positive move forward and … is also safer for our residents.”