UPDATED: Proposed Sidewalks & Safety Commission to be Discussed at Work Session
I am pleased that, after I initially requested it back in January, the Council president has finally placed my proposed Sidewalks & Safety Commission (click see the draft ordinance) on the agenda for the first Council work session following the election.
We’ve had another pedestrian struck on a busy Borough roadway while this has been pending placement on the agenda. This is an all too frequent occurrence in Mount Pocono. It is time the Borough Council took action to protect our residents and visitors.
Many members of our community prefer or have no option but to walk to our Borough’s shops, restaurants, and facilities. As a Borough Council, we have a legal obligation to be concerned for the safety of our residents, businesses, and visitors.
Towards that end, I will propose that the Borough create by ordinance a permanent Sidewalks and Safety Commission. The Commission would be tasked to evaluate the areas of the Borough with the greatest needs for sidewalks or other safety measures; to investigate the various modes and options of financing for those projects; to make recommendations to the Council on phased plans to develop sidewalks and other safety measures; and to monitor installation, maintenance, and compliance.
I envision the Commission developing a Master Sidewalk and Safety Plan for the Borough and then proposing a phased-in implementation, giving primary attention to the areas with the most serious need. The Commission should include at least one member of the Planning Commission, two persons representing businesses situate in the Borough, and at least two Borough residents. I propose a Commission of 5 or 7 persons, depending on the level of public interest in service on such a body, none of whom should be elected officials. Commission members would serve in staggered four-year terms, without salary (but with provision for the payment of reasonable expenses as approved by the Council). The Commission would meet at least monthly, with provision for work sessions as needed, and be subject to public meeting and sunshine laws.
I see this as an urgent matter and am pleased that the process has begun. UPDATE: Well, the May 28 work session revealed that this was some sort of show put on by the Borough Council president, Claudette Williams. Instead of asking me to discuss the proposal, she introduced it by saying something like this:
"I'm not sure why we should have a sidewalk and safety committee we already have so many committees, I mean committee after committee, this is something the new Mount Pocono Association if they are concerned about safety they can look into safety we're only taking about the area around 611."
I am not a stenographer, so this may not be precisely verbatim, but it is pretty close.
And the words reflect misapprehensions of gigantic proportions -- about what the problem is, about what the proposal is, and about what the duty of Borough Council is. The Council president then removed the proposed Commission from the regular agenda and refused my request to have it put back on.