‘Forget the skaters, it’s the crosswalks, stupid!’

T

o paraphrase a past campaign slogan, I would suggest to the Red Bank Borough Council that "It’s the crosswalks, stupid!"

I don’t understand how the town council can chase skateboarders and ban sandwich boards when pedestrians face a constant threat in crosswalks from arrogant or ignorant drivers who fail to yield. I have an office on Broad and Wallace streets, and although I’ve never had a run-in with a skateboarder or a sandwich board, I have been hit by a car while crossing at a crosswalk, had numerous close calls and more than several confrontations. And I continue to watch in anger as shoppers, kids and mothers with strollers are afraid to cross the street, and will wait until all moving cars are well past before they venture across the crosswalks in town.

Drivers continue to ignore the stop sign on White Street approaching Broad, and completely block the crosswalk, waiting to turn right onto Broad. Other drivers, choosing not to wait for Broad traffic stopped at the Monmouth light, will cross over the white lines into oncoming traffic and careen around the corner onto Wallace, scaring any people who happen to be in the crosswalk.

I believe the reason we no longer see the orange reminder pylons at the crosswalks is because one council member only wanted them in place during the Holiday Season. Someone please explain that pretzel logic to me. What will it take before the town starts enforcing laws already on the books and stop chasing their pet problems, and their relatives’ pet problems. Forget the skateboarders! Forget the sandwich boards! Start protecting pedestrians in crosswalks!

By the way, outlawing all skateboarders because some "ruin the benches" is roughly the equivalent of banning all pedestrians because some "spit out their gum on the sidewalks."

Kevin Chieff

Red Bank

Proposed law, not skateboarding, is criminal

I

am just as proud of my son’s athletic abilities as any other mom is of her son’s, but my skateboarding son and others like him have become the victims of blatant discriminatory neglect, and it makes me even prouder of them for their perseverance in the face of such discouragement.

It’s certainly understandable that there is concern regarding damage done by the fact that these athletes are forced to resort to makeshift accommodations to enjoy their sport, when all the other sports deemed "worthy" are embraced by the community. There are even accommodations made so that some of these sports will be able to be enjoyed not just seasonally, but year round.

When a proposed solution for skateboarding is to use a roller rink at the community YMCA, it’s pretty obvious that there is no awareness of what this sport is all about.

Would it make sense for the mayor to suggest that gymnasts in the community be satisfied with using an empty gymnasium and only be able to practice floor exercises? Would it be fair not to provide them with balance beams, parallel bars and all the other appropriate apparatus? Likewise, skateboards need rails to slide, quarter pipes, bank ramps, pyramids, etc.

Soon there may be at least one local "fair haven" where our skateboarding athletes will be recognized and supported rather than penalized and discouraged. Having their hometown fine these skateboarders, instead of providing them with an adequate facility so they can experience the positive benefits that other Red Bank athletes are encouraged to enjoy, seems criminal.

Karole Pollarine

Red Bank

Skateboarding — it’s about freedom

B

anning skating in Red Bank is yet another example of legislation that turns average citizens into criminals. If skateboarding has become such a pervasive problem in Red Bank, then why not address the problem in terms of loitering.

Skateboarders often spend hours at a particular spot, such as a curb or a step, which challenges their abilities. Such activities should not be considered illegal provided it is public property and it is not presenting a safety hazard to pedestrians. If for any reason such skaters become a problem, they should be treated as loiterers. This leaves the borough streets available to those skaters who have the common sense not to become a nuisance.

Skating is sport, a form of transportation and a social activity, which only requires a skateboard and skill. It requires no lift ticket, monthly fee or license, and thus it is a sport based on freedom. If Red Bank bans skating, it will be yet another piece of legislation that chips away not only at the freedom of skaters but the freedoms on which this country was founded. If we continue to create such ridiculous legislation, we will find ourselves living in a police state.

Kevin Welch

Sea Bright

Diallo verdict an American disgrace

I

sat in the car, shocked but not surprised, after hearing that the four white police officers who fired 41 bullets at Amadou Diallo were acquitted. This verdict is a travesty, as have been so many others. It brings shame on the New York City police force and the American legal system.

This case is about nothing, if not about race and class. When Amadou Diallo fell in a hail of police bullets, with him died the last illusion of justice, and what may well be the last hope for racial reconciliation in this country.

What began as a personal tragedy for the Diallo family has now become a tragedy of enormous proportions, and a national disgrace.

Margaret Rice Moir

Fair Haven

Thanks for having a heart to help kids

A

letter of thanks to all at The Hub who helped promote our "Have a Heart for Red Bank Kids," a reception and art auction held on Feb. 13 at the Chetkin Gallery in Red Bank to assist the Red Bank Education Foundation in the purchase of lab equipment for the Red Bank Middle School. All those who either donated artwork or other services, plus all those who either attended or sent donations, played a vital part in the success of the event, and we thank you and your staff for promoting our endeavors.

Lee P. Klem

Member of the board

Red Bank Education

Foundation

Thanks, say Red Bank soccer mom (and dad)

W

e would like to send a big thank you to all of the soccer coaches that helped make the Red Bank Recreation indoor soccer program a success. Our children really enjoyed the program!

A special thank you to Dave Callahan who made sure "Soccer Sundays" ran smoothly, and for the countless hours he spent at the Middle School gym!

The Tomaino Family

Red Bank

Skaters are a part of streetscape

I

would first like to thank and applaud The Hub for its view on the proposed skateboarding ban in Red Bank. I agree that Red Bank has spent a lot on crafting its image and it should spend a little on its own kids.

I know that a lot of people in the area agree with this view, but don’t want to be seen as rebellious because skateboarding is looked down on by many (who don’t really understand the sport). I spend a lot of time in Red Bank and most of the skateboarders I see have been courteous and often stop when people walk by to avoid hurting anyone. These kids are as much a part of the streetscape of Red Bank as the lovely renovations in the downtown area.

There are many other less prosperous towns in the country which have set up skate parks for their kids. I think that "liability" is just an excuse to avoid dealing with the issue. Why not do a study and see how others have dealt with this?

I agree that safety is important and that kids shouldn’t be skateboarding on private property, but why should they have to leave their town to skate? They are keeping busy, having fun and are close to home. Why wouldn’t we want to invest in an area in town where this can continue?

I have often sat and watched the skateboarders do their tricks and have been extremely impressed by their agility and control. I think that skateboarding should be given the same credence as any other mainstream sport.

When I think about Red Bank being called the "hippest town" in New Jersey, I always think that, in part, it is because Red Bank has allowed its community to express its creativity in innovative and alternative ways. That is what makes it hip, not just the antique stores, Victorian lighting or chic holiday decorations.

I think the skateboarding kids are symbolic of what makes Red Bank hip. Outlawing them without some other accommodation makes me think that Red Bank has swallowed its own hype and has lost its sense of purpose. Borough families, many of whom have kids who skateboard, have helped to create and maintain your image, Red Bank. You, the town, should feel obligated to spend a little to cater to them and their kids.

Vera Sansone

Fair Haven

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