Thursday, October 16, 2008

The $10 Million Dollar Charter School

I wanted to write something about impeaching Mayor Feit, but I'll leave that to the Teaneck Truth folks.
Wednesday's Bergen Record had a piece about how the Teaneck Community Charter School, which has 287 students in grades K-8 (with hundreds more on a waiting list), broke ground on a new building, set to cost $9.5 million dollars.
Here's the nice part for Teaneck taxpayers: It's not your money.
Charter school facilities projects are not eligible for state or federal funding. While the Teaneck Board of Education pays for the students tuition (at 90% of the amount spent per public school student), the building will be paid for by the school itself, through fundraising activities.
That's a good thing for Teaneck.
For my next proposal, how about selling the land where the Teaneck High School football field is now situated. It's right off Route 4 and would be the perfect size for a shopping mall. I'm sure a sale of that land would bring in a hefty price. I'm assuming there's nothing in the law books that requires a football field at the high school. Seems like quite a waste of space for a football field that hosts just a few games a year. I don't think there's anything wrong with moving football home games somewhere else, like Votee Park, if it can be configured, or some other town facility. That would be another good thing for Teaneck.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Unfriendly Crosswalks of Cedar Lane

When I was a kid there was a public service announcement on TV: "Cross at the green, not in between." I wish I could do that in Teaneck.
Over last Shabbat and Rosh Hashana, I had occasion to cross Cedar Lane a number of times. I made it across alive. This was no small accomplishment.
Barbara Toffler will be happy to know that I walked on the sidewalk and not in the street, as she has claimed the orthodox always do. But when I got to Cedar Lane... YIPES!
Seems that the walk/don't walk signs only operate, at least at some intersections, when a pedestrian pushes the button on the pole. Being Rosh Hashana, I could not push the button, so I was left to take my life in my hands trying to estimate whether or not I could make it across before the light changed to red. You'd think a town like Teaneck would know better than that.
Other areas of Cedar Lane have no traffic lights, but have marked crosswalks, with signs telling drivers to yield to pedestrians, as if most drivers give a darn.
While trying to cross near the 7-Eleven (I guess near Red Road), when finally a driver decided to let me continue across the street, the lady behind the stopped car layed on the horn and gave me and the children with me the finger!
So if anybody sees a large black woman with glasses driving a dark colored SUV with New Jersey license plate VAN 47F, tell her I'd like to have a few words with her and that she owes some children an apology!
I've noticed that there are large stretches of Queen Anne, Palisade and Garrison/Sussex without crosswalks for many blocks at a time. You either have to walk a half a mile out of your way or take your life in your hands to cross those avenues. Being we have a large number of walkers in town, especially on Shabbat and religious holidays, more crosswalks and enforcement of the law on the books would be a good thing for all of us.
By the way, I've never seen the crosswalk law being enforced here (that doesn't mean it isn't), but I have read of some towns in New Jersey using undercover cops to try to cross at crosswalks and busting the drivers who fail to stop. Food for thought. 
FYI, here's the law in this state:
Driver to yield to pedestrian at crosswalk; exceptions; vehicles approaching stopped vehicle from rear; yield of right-of-way by pedestrian The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except at crosswalks when the movement of traffic is being regulated by police officers or traffic control signals, or where otherwise prohibited by municipal, county, or State regulation, and except where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided, but no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. Nothing contained herein shall relieve a pedestrian from using due care for his safety.
Whenever any vehicle is stopped to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
Nothing contained herein shall relieve a driver from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.