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A new year, a new look

After more than six years, it was time for a facelift for Rahway Rising. I hope you like the new design, with a shift from a Blogger platform to WordPress. There’s still some tweaking and upgrading to be done as we get more acquainted with the new platform so you may see some more subtle changes over the coming weeks. Bear with me if there are any hiccups, particularly if you subscribe by email or follow on Facebook.

Rahway Rising new logoThe changes will be strictly in design. Content still will focus on providing information related to redevelopment in Rahway. The site’s most basic mission — to inform citizens — has not and will not change.

Thanks especially to Clea Carchia of Rahway-based Chameleon Design House, who designed, among other things, the snappy new logo you’ve seen as well as that sharp-looking header at the top of our home page.

Noise edges above limits at Hamilton Stage

A chiller at Hamilton Stage exceeds noise limits to the extent that it will require the construction of a sound wall at a cost of almost $32,000.

The Redevelopment Agency last month awarded a contract to build a sound wall to KDP Developers, Inc., for $31,970, the lowest among three bids. Other bids were $38,000 by K&D Contractors and $42,341 by Gingerelli Brothers.

Noise readings confirmed that the level was above acceptable limits during the day and night. The city ordinance allows a maximum level of no more than 65 dBA during the day and 50 dBA at nighttime. Daytime and nighttime limits are exceeded at 344 Hamilton St. and night time limits are exceeded in all measure locations.

Tests were conducted at four points:
* 344 Hamilton, corner of property — 68.1 dBA
* In street, 50 feet away — 65.4 dBA
* 359 Hamilton St., 87 feet — 61.9 dBA
* 339 Hamilton St., 110 feet — 61.9 dBA

“Calculations show the presence of a barrier alone falls short of achieving nighttime compliance under all load conditions at the property boundary of 344 Hamilton, adjacent to Hamilton Stage and closest property to the chiller equipment.” Ambient conditions were measured between 48-50 dBA.

Power seems restored to more of Rahway

The Rahway Power Map has been updated through Monday evening, with numerous reports from readers on Monday afternoon of restored power throughout town. Some parts of the map might not be accurate if someone reported power being out but has not posted or tweeted a follow-up that power is back.

It would seem there might be some folks still stricken with no power, particularly these areas:

* A large swath near the Linden border, an area east of Grand Avenue, West Scott and Linden avenues to Lower Alden Drive — lots of downed trees in this area.

* West of St. Georges Avenue in the vicinity of the high school (also saw lots of downed trees around there).- Near the Colonia border around Murray Street.

* A section of West Milton Avenue near West Emerson — with reports of still no power at a few places in the vicinity of Maple Avenue and West Emerson Avenue, including the Clifford Case Senior Housing.

* Some issues within complexes, such as River Place, where both buildings have been restored but there are reports of issues with individual meters.

          * Near the Colonia border around Murray St.

Thanks to everyone for their patience during this difficult week, as well as to everyone who has helped in getting power restored (hope it wasn’t too much of a hardship for anyone). But if you still don’t have power, don’t take for granted that PSE&G knows you’re out of juice; contact them to be sure (and hang in there!). For information on voting in Tuesday’s election, jump below the map.

Election Day is still Tuesday, with Roosevelt School the only local polling place without power but the county Board of Elections will provide a generator and the Police Department and Board of Education will provide external and internal lighting; voters should enter through the West Lake Avenue entrance (Door 17), according to the city. The polling place may not open exactly at 6 a.m. Polls are open until 8 p.m. Voters in the 5th Ward at the Senior Center on Esterbrook Avenue should enter the rear of the building.

The city clerk’s office will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for assistance or election concerns, and can be reached at City Hall or by 732-827-2100.

Hurricane Sandy

Taking inspiration from this map created by folks in Hoboken after Hurricane Sandy, I’ve come up with this version for Rahway to show what’s open and where power has been restored – or not. It appears that a few buildings downtown still are without power, as well as several neighborhoods around the city. The map was created through various reports from residents via Facebook, Twitter or direct emails.

If you have an update on your neighborhood, contact us by:
– email at
– Tweet at us Twitter @RahwayRising
– Post on our Facebook page

The latest post on the city’s Facebook page on Sunday indicated a message from PSE&G that “it looks like the majority of Rahway customers will be restored by Tuesday.’ In the meantime, warming stations have been set up at Rahway High School on Madison Avenue, Grover Cleveland Elementary School on East Milton Avenue and St. Thomas Church on St. Georges Avenue — and as of Sunday, they would be operating 24 hours a day until further notice.

Stay warm!

Red light cameras still capturing violations

The state’s suspension of the red light camera system isn’t stopping Rahway from capturing violators because the city’s two cameras had been in compliance, according to Police Chief John Rodger. State Department of Transportation officials said 63 of the 85 cameras in the state had not been tested to check that yellow lights were timed correctly (one second for every 10 miles per hour), according to this report from last month.

St. Georges Ave at Maple Ave

Rodger said the state’s blanket suspension of the red light program doesn’t affect Rahway because the timing of the city’s existing cameras (at Routes 1/9 at East Milton Avenue and St. Georges Avenue at Maple Avenue) were certified. Violations are still being captured — as they are in other towns that are in compliance — and once the suspension is lifted, violations will be issued. Rodger said the department has 90 days to issue a violation and expects the statewide suspension to be lifted shortly. He estimated about 1,000 violations monthly at Rahway’s two intersections.

Meanwhile, two more cameras are set to be installed later this summer, at Inman and St. Georges Avenues and Routes 1/9 and East Grand Avenue. After a 30-day test and evaluation period, Rodger expects they could be operational by sometime in September.

The $55 fine is split between Union County and Rahway, which receives another $18.50 for court fees (for a total $46). An additional $55 goes to the State Highway Trust Fund, according to Rodger, and the Safe Corridor violation (along Routes 1&9) is $140.

What would you like to see in this space?

While I’m on vacation this week, I thought I’d try a new feature that I picked up from some local news sites, profiling some vacant storefronts and spaces and asking readers what they’d like to see in that space.

The ground-floor space of the two-story building at 69 E. Cherry St. has been vacant for some time (perhaps it had something to do with neighboring a burned out beauty supply shop for several years until it collapsed.). Previously, the space was occupied by Royal Treasure Antiques. The sign indicates 1,500 to 1,600 square feet plus basement are available immediately, along with one off-street parking space. No word on what the going rate per square foot might be.

(November 2010)

In 2010, owners of the building approached the Redevelopment Agency about siting a Mexican restaurant and bakery, which never panned out.

Rather than post a poll, I thought I’d make it an open-ended discussion int the comments section. Fire away — just be respectful and try to be constructive (as opposed to incoherent and obnoxious).

Panel discussion on arts-fueled redevelopment

I’ve been invited to participate next week in a panel discussion about redevelopment and since it’s been a few months since we had a Rahway Rising happy hour, maybe you’d like to consider it and join us.

The Young Community Development Professionals Association (YCDPA) and New Jersey Emerging Arts Leaders will host the discussion on how cities are using arts to redevelop, specifically looking at efforts in Rahway to spur downtown redevelopment. The panel will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, at Nancy’s Towne House, 1453 Main St. Admission is free and will include a question-and-answer session.

The panel will include former Mayor and former Arts District executive director James Kennedy and Rodney Gilbert, founder and CEO of Yendor Productions, a Newark-based consulting firm that develops and produces arts education and programming and events.