#$&*% TRAFFIC!!!! Come vent where it might make a difference

The town has received a grant to help develop a traffic circulation plan for the entire community and is hoping residents will come out, in force, to share concerns about all traffic-related issues. Consider some:

      • How long does it take you to drive across town at rush hour?
      • Are you concerned about safety while bike-riding?
      • Have the pedestrian crosswalks made it easier to cross Main?  Route 27?  Do we need more?
      • What about 4-way stops?
      • Is there a light in town that you can't get through on one green turn? A spot where you can't cross the street?
Please come; share your concerns in this less-formal atmosphere and help ensure every trouble spot is identified. Meetings will be held at the Senior Center (15 Center Street).
Tuesday, March 31st - Open House Workshop: 5 - 9 pm
Wednesday, April 1st - Drop-in Hours: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Thursday, April 2nd - Open House Workshop: 5 - 9 pm
Click here for more information.


I've seen drivers run red lights too.
I vote for the stop signs. I agree with anonymous that the stop bars are needed too.

HNT is the Home News Tribune, the local daily newspaper out of New Brunswick, owned by Gannett. Their website is www.mycentraljersey.com.

what is HNT?
when I google it -- i get finance info?

The stop signs on Henry need stop bars painted on the street. Not that that would have stopped the SUV you reference but it would probably help a bit.

Edison has new stop signs on most of their cut through streets. But I have seen people go right through them, and right through stop signs in Metuchen.

Once I was stopped at the stop sign at Henry and Blair, going west. Paused to actually look both ways and as I was about to turn left a black SUV with NY plates blew by me, then went right through the stop sign at Jonesdale and the one at Barnstable.

I like that idea better than speed humps.

How about if each of the street intersections within each section of Metuchen (radio, cathedral,tennis courts, ymca) have four way stop signs, so that cars would simply keep to the speed limits, making it safer for area children/residents?

I believe she meant she didn't recognize your name because you posted as Anonymous. There are a lot of people in Metuchen with split levels.

That's a stupid policy.

Google will take down a picture of your house if you ask them to because that is their policy. Pretty sure Microsoft and the other providers will also do so.

It's gOOgle, not goggle.

Well, unless you bought your house in the name of a shell corporation, your property records are still out there. I'm surprised google would remove your house. If it's on a public street in public view, you have no expectation of privacy. Anyone can walk or drive by your house and take a picture of it. Why should your privacy be more important than anyone else's?

Joni--I will take that as a thank you. We will meet someday. I will assume you found my name. If you look a little closer you will see I am a licensed PI in a number of states and I am sure you have seen me around. I am pretty open but you are right few know me. It would be a pleasure to show you the ropes on this. I have done that with a few reporters.

Now, I do not like the open information anymore then you do. Aargh. Why and in particular for people's safety. In the wrong hands it is deadly. Disclaimers by law enforcement mean little.

I should really make a little note in the new section for the George and the gang here to open discussion on the fact that you can goggle a snapshot of your home of yours and everyone else's home. Some think it is great others, well we have quite a few people in Metuchen who would prefer not. Who? Judges, Prosecutors, Federal Agents, women who have been stalked and people who have been threatened and a few PI's have seen all of that.

As for this PI. You will not find my house because Goggle was directed to remove it. Aargh and I got back at em. Strike one for privacy.

That's fascinating, because neither home is listed using my name (Scanlon). Guess this is an even smaller town than I thought! But while I don't necessarily enjoy having so much public information about us available, I was indeed aware of the database (even worked at HNT for many years). But I do honestly appreciate the valuable information about the comparables, especially re: your own home. I'm not sure whether I'll do anything with this information or not - time (aargh!), but it is interesting to know. I gather you're one of my new neighbors - stop by and say "hi" sometime. I'd love to meet you in person. :)

P.S. to Teri, Jana, George & Metuchen Matters crew -- sorry I got us so off-topic when the question was about traffic. I do hope some good solutions come out of the meetings.

all you have to do is put your name in the universal data base on HNT and it takes it from there. You have to understand that we live in a different society today. Tax records on your residence are public information. You maynot like it but that is a fact.

Now, I will give you that you may not really be Joni listed in those residence but you used that name, and there is a person with that name with two different residences in Metuchen in the past decade. Anyone and anywhere you owned a house in Metuchen is available. That is one of this risks you take when you post in true name. I am not trying to be smart just accurate.

Hi Anonymous, you seem to know an awful lot about me! But I'm not sure we've met because the name sure doesn't sound familiar.

Joni-you ought to look universal data base in HNT. Current taxes on your old home is currently a lot more then $4K but a little under the average and your new home well it is more then mine and we have the same kind of home. But do not take my word for it check. I say this if you got a slight break then you are sure making up for it now.

Under $4000 for half a year or the whole year?

Hello to my anonymous replier. I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but we were one of those lucky folks paying "ridiculously low" taxes in our former house built in 1920. We did a lot of renovations, but didn't add any new rooms -- just enhanced what was already there. I'm embarrassed to say that our tax bill was under $4,000. Our new house is a relatively modest split built in the '50s, except for a kitchen expansion and deck the former owners put on. And there's more land for me to garden in! Don't mind paying my share and do admit I benefitted from the system for all those years when my taxes were cheap. You wouldn't have seen me calling for a reval then! LOL!

Olivia, Even if there was a left turn arrow at Grove & Middlesex, going north you wouldn't be able to get to it because of the bump-out. I know the bump out was put there because there were bad accidents at the intersection, but at rush hour when traffic backs up almost to the railroad, it takes several cycles of the light to get anywhere near the left turn lane. People who want to turn left don't wait til they get to 27, the go down one of the side streets and through the neighborhood. I don't think a left turn arrow will change that, because of the bump out.

I agree they definitely need an arrow from Main onto Middlesex, because those people turning left do not understand that they don't have the right of way and frequently jump in front of the cars trying to go straight through, nearly mowing down pedestrians in the process. Have had/seen many close calls there. Very dangerous. Just ask the crossing guard. Do we have to wait until someone is injured or killed to get an arrow there?

Call town hall and ask for the tax assessor.

I was responding to your comment about it being "more fair in Metuchen."

I was referring to how property taxes in the state of NJ in general are assessed when I wrote about multiple families in one house. I used to live in Piscataway.

Most houses are assessed for less than half of what they would sell for. If someone's house is really assessed for less than they could sell for, they should file a tax appeal.

I agree it does seem like a stupid way to tax people. However, most people around me in the 50 year old homes are two people and not four. Things are a little different here then Edison where multiple families with multiple kids living in small homes. Should not be permitted but that is another story. It is not permitted in Metuchen or Woodbridge I can tell you that. Edison needs a better government. First job of the new mayor in Wood bridge was to address that issue besides property maintenance.

In general, I see the newer homes in Metuchen 1990 & up have 4 and up in every case around my neighborhood and are pretty darn opulent. I do not mean to imply that is the case everywhere in Metuchen either. I am only speaking in my neck of the woods.

In a new order, Warren Buffet is right you should be assessed on consumption up front and then move on. When a small house has not been added on to in 30 years and is still being assessed like it is new, it should be reassessed and down wards. There is one home around me like that and in no way can achieve the purchase price of what it is assessed for. It is a staggering assessment and could not command 50% of that on the market.

True, sometimes multiple families with multiple children live in small houses and many of my neighbors live in large houses and send their kids to private school. I have not heard back about my new reassessment is, do you know who I should call or where to go? Thanks

I thought the rules for how a house is assessed are supposed to be uniform throughout the state.

If you think your house is assessed too high in comparison to other similar houses, you can file a tax appeal.

I've heard there are some people whose reassessments following an addition fell through the cracks and their house was never reassessed. Those people are not paying their share. Reassessment is one reason some people don't apply for permits when they have work done. They don't want their taxes to go up.

It does seem like a stupid way to tax people. Does a family of four in a large new home use more municipal services than a family of four in a smaller older home?

Joni-In principle, I do not agree with your position. But, what is "ridiculously low tax rates?" In New Jersey? I am paying almost $10K on a 50 year old home that is well maintained but non-improved except for internal and external wear and tear. Keep in mind, most people in Metuchen pay over $7K per house. Not affordable these days especially with the number of one income family mostly female spouses being the sole wage earner in this area. The median income for Metuchen is $86K; that says just about get by in the New Jersey environment.

Though I agree we are over due for a reassessment hopefully not this year. Who asked anyone to go live in 4-7 thousand square foot homes built after 1990 and then expect equalization with their neighbors on the bill for their lifestyle? Why should I pay for someone else's gross and conspicuous consumption. I am also here to tell you re-evaluation never brings modest increases. I lived in too many Jersey communities to know better. Metuchen's last population decrease was in 1990. I wonder why? No, re-assessment brings large increases and because of pride most people suffer in silence. Why should I be forced to move because I can not pay my taxes anymore, and we are at the breaking point right now.

If you and your husband are working may God Bless. I praise you for that; because a lot of us are no longer in that situation. Look closely to your neighbors on the left and right they are a lot different then when you first met even if they are the same neighbors.

We just put on an extension and our house was reassessed for taxes. I asked the tax assessor if someone owned a large new home that has decreased in value, if his or her property taxes would go to coincide with the changing market. He said in Edison, the only way your taxes go down is if you remove a bathroom or deck or something along those lines. I am sure it is more fair in Metuchen, I don't understand why would the state want to get involved. I mean how does it help the state to force towns to reasses?

I hear you about taxes! But I think these Smart Future grants specifically require a public outreach component -- if you didn't have public outreach you wouldn't get the grant. So better to get our share of the money for this than for nothing at all.

Now dare I say this about taxes: Metuchen is due for a townwide tax revaluation. It seems that anyone who bought their house before 1990 or so and hasn't done any substantial renovation/addition work is enjoying a much lower tax rate than others. We moved to a new house where a substantial addition was done post-1990 and the taxes have tripled compared to our other house, which had not major work done that would trigger a tax hike. I also did a tax comparison of my own, just out of curiosity, when we were buying our new house and noted that other houses on the market featuring more land, a larger house footprint and higher selling price were being taxed at about the same rate as the house I was buying.

I know everyone shudders when they hear about revaluation, but it is true, as JFK liked to say, that a rising tide raises all boats. Sure, some people who are paying ridiculously low tax rates will see a slight hike, but overall the rate will be equalized, more evenly spread out for those of us who are getting hit hard by taxes. It's really only fair, but of course politically problematic. At some point, of course, the state will force us to do it.

A real simple thing would be to ban parking on Main street for the short distance between Middlesex and Durham only between 8 and 9 am. It is not a peak time for parking so no one would really be put out. But ONE parked car there can make the difference between traffic flowing smoothly around the left turners (northbound at Durham or southbound at Middlesex) or traffic backing up for blocks.

As much as I am happy we are getting grants to study issues, I really wish this money was being used to offset the taxes we have to pay. We all know there are traffic problems, but let's be honest, is this grant really going to do anything? A left turn light from Grove onto Middlesex Avenue has been requested for years, as has the left turn light from Main Street onto Middlesex Avenue by the Borough Hall. The state or county (I forget which the road belongs to) will not put one there as they don't think there are enough cars to warrant it. Well if the state or county won't make changes to help the traffic flow, what will this grant money do? We all know what the problems are and I believe the council has been trying to get a 287 entrance ramp to help alleviate some of the traffic issues, but that isn't happening either. So I would much rather see this money going to better use.

If I'm already in the crosswalk, how am I supposed to reach the button?

Totally disagree. The whole point of the lights is so you don't have to risk your life by stepping off the curb to get the cars to stop. But it doesn't matter if you're in the crosswalk - they still don't stop. You could be almost halfway across the street and the cars on the other side are still whizzing by.

The cars don't have to stop for the lights unless a pedestrian is already in the crosswalk. Wait till traffic stops, press the button then start to cross.

Crossing the street downtown is very dangerous. You push the button and the lights flash, but the cars keep driving past. In some ways they make it less safe, as they may give you a false sense of security.

I think it's great, actually quite refreshing, that we're doing this sort of exercise. I hope there's a good turnout.

As someone who walks every day, traveling all over town for exercise (for me and my dog), I can tell you there are some real hotspots where you just never feel safe crossing the street -- regardless of traffic lights and what my daughter calls those "little white men" indicating it's safe to cross. The worst culprit? The intersection of Route 27 and Grove Ave. I believe a pedestrian was killed there recently and I can understand why. Another one is the Amboy/Main Street intersection. Let's hope these sessions help us come up with some good, innovative ideas.

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  • Anonymous: HNT is the Home News Tribune, the local daily newspaper read more
  • Anonymous: what is HNT? when I google it -- i get read more
  • Anonymous: The stop signs on Henry need stop bars painted on read more
  • Anonymous: Edison has new stop signs on most of their cut read more
  • Anonymous: I like that idea better than speed humps. read more
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