Monthly Archives: August 2008

Welcome to Sign City USA.

This weekend we had an occasion to visit the bike path and athletic fields down by the old landfill site.  You know the place–down by the DPW on the east end of town.  It seems that somebody decided it was a good idea to put athletic fields surrounded by a bike path down on that spot.  As with most major projects in the Borough of Westwood, there have been mismanagement of funds and poor planning.

It turns out that installing a long-lasting surface there for athletic events is not feasible without a large expenditure of money.  Clearly the designers and developers had no clue that a landfill undergoes settling, or subsidence, as the debris underneath decays and is metabolized into gas and liquid.  That ground is not likely to support any permanent structure for a long, long time.  And apparently there’s not enough space for the planned athletic fields taboot.

But we digress . . .

The real topic of this exposition is the inordinate amount of signs littering our fair borough.  As one enters the site of the new bike path from Hegeman Park along Sand Road, he sees in the first 50 feet that the site is replete with signs, a condition sadly consistent with the rest of Westwood.  This absolutely disgusting display of professionally-worked metal, plastic, and reflective material is strewn about the site from front to back.  How do you feel when you walk or ride out to the edge of town for a little peace and quiet in a natural setting, and your eyes are greeted with something like this:

Yeah, that’s right–SEVEN SIGNS at the entrance!!!  If it wasn’t so sickening, it would be laughable. 

Certainly this is no place for one to find refuge from the crowded, sign-ridden streets of downtown Westwood.  There might actually be less sign pollution downtown!

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways (1988 edition) states:
2A-6 Excessive Use of Signs
Care should be taken not to install too many signs.  A conservative use of regulatory and warning signs is recommended as these signs, if used to excess, tend to lose their effectiveness.

And might we add that the signs are just plain ugly!

by Mr. Westwood

Site Updated.

Welcome returning loyal visitors and those who have just stumbled upon this site.  Some of you may have noticed that the navigation structure at the top has changed.  Have no fear, nothing is lost.  In fact, it’s all here.  The old site is gone and all the content has been completely moved here.  There are nested pages within each link at the top of the page, and all pages can be accessed with the “Pages” navigation structure on the right-hand side of every page.

We welcome your comments, suggestions, and submissions.  Enjoy!

Welcome to Westwood NJ - The Hub of the Pascack Valley.

Leaf Blower Nuisance.

Dust cloud in downtown Westwood from gas-powered leaf blowers.

Dust cloud in downtown Westwood from gas-powered leaf blowers.

Recently, an insightful Hillsdale woman wrote a letter to the editor of one of those free so-called newspapers that litter our driveways on a weekly basis.  Her letter addresses the noise, smell, and dust created by those terrorist pollution machines generally referred to as gas-powered leaf blowers.  These machines terrorize us in a number of ways: they are responsible for a significant amount of noise pollution and air pollution, and they run on nonrenewable fossil fuel (overpriced gasoline).

If you’ve ever been on a walk or a ride past an area where one of these machines is operating, then you likely noticed the dust storm created in the area, as well as the excessive noise and emissions smell.  You better have something nearby to protect your mouth, nose, and eyes!

Dust cloud in downtown Westwood from gas-powered leaf blowers.

Dust cloud in downtown Westwood from gas-powered leaf blowers.

It is interesting to note that many people who use these machines don’t even wear protective equipment.  Sometimes you see hearing protection being used, but rarely do you see protection for the mouth or nose.  Yikes!

The Pascack Valley needs to take a stand against these gas-powered leaf blower terrorist machines.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a lot more:

Now let’s be clear about one important thing: nothing above is meant to criticize the young gentlemen operating the machines.  They are working hard, and you gotta do what you gotta do to make a living.  However, the people at the top who are calling the shots should be aware of the impact of their decisions on the environment and on the health and the quality of life of both occupational and non-occupational receptors.

by Mr. Westwood

Stick to the (Master) Plan.

A hero walks among us in the form of former Mayor Thomas Wanner who has filed a lawsuit against the borough, the mayor and council, and the planning board.  Wanner could have just walked away from business in Westwood and let it all go to hell, which it will certainly do, with or without him.

But Wanner knows that nobody on the borough council has the best interests of Westwood as a sole motivation for action.  That’s what you get when you elect realtors, developers, and inexperienced weaklings to the council.  Instead, Wanner seems intent on fighting for our desire, or rather our legal mandate via the Master Plan, to be a town and NOT a city.

Oh, you think that won’t happen, do you?  It’s already begun.  Just look at the subtle traces of city all around you.  Does the phrase “Tree City U.S.A.” ring a bell?  Oh, the council has touted that glory for years.  Why not “Tree Town” or “Tree Borough”?

Remember the phrase “transit village”?  Just because you forgot about it, doesn’t mean it isn’t being rammed down your throat by the borough council.  The council is devious, it carries out discussion in closed session and then just rubber stamps the discreet deal in open session.

What about this medical college idea for the former Pascack Valley Hospital site?  The powers that be have used the old stand-by of emotional blackmail to ramrod the ordinances and rezoning of that site to include a college in opposition to the Master Plan.  They told you that they would give you back your precious hospital, so in return you can forsake everything you ever wanted for our tiny little borough, and you gave them a college.

Have you ever seen cities where colleges are located?  New York, Newark, New Brunswick, Boston … the list of cities you don’t live in for a big reason goes on and on.

With colleges arrive college bookstores, increased traffic, overcrowding, more rental units, increased demand for parking, all-night cafes and eateries, parties, transient out-of-towners who don’t contribute locally in a positive way…

And for all of this to be possible, further dismantling of the Master Plan must continue.  It is already happening right before your eyes.  What are you doing to ensure that we remain a town and NOT a city?  Clearly it’s not enough, so thanks to our hero Thomas Wanner, somebody has taken a stand.  But you’re not saved yet; Wanner’s stand is as superficial as the good intentions of the Westwood mayor, council, and planning board.  In the end, the Borough will win because abusive politicians are far more dangerous than a lone hero.

by Mr. Westwood