Bloomfield Third Ward Councilman Carlos Bernard said the response from his weekend camping out on the streets he represents was resoundingly well received.
“Ultimately, I think it was a success,” he said. “The emails have been great and the phone calls have been great.”
This past weekend, Bernard walked and slept on the streets he represents on the council in response to residents’ complaints about safety and parking issues.
The streets were mostly empty that weekend, Bernard said, a fact that he attributed to a visible police presence.
“There was a little crowd out at the beginning, Bernard said. “But they saw the police and said ‘let's leave.’”
He said what struck him most was the quality of life issues in the neighborhood, notably parking.
“There are too many cars that sit on our street don’t belong,” Bernard said.
He noted that the neighborhood borders Newark, with North 13th Street split between the two municipalities. He said cars from Newark parked in Bloomfield, making it impossible for township residents without driveways to leave their cars near their homes.
He plans to get residents to assist parking enforcement by marking which cars are owned by Bloomfield residents.
“I’m going to send out a letter to everyone in my district encouraging them to go to town hall and get a decal,” Bernard said. "It will make it easier for police to see if they are a resident."
Bernard said residents complained there was nothing marking the neighborhood as belonging to Bloomfield. He also said he wanted to mark the border in a way that would show pride in the township.
“I would like to see a sign saying ‘welcome to Bloomfield,’” Bernard said.
The signs that are in place have issues as well, Bernard said.
“A lot of our signs are faded,” he said. “I wanted to reach our to right departments and have them fixed.”
Speaking with Patch, he was quick to thank the police who accompanied him in his nighttime watch.
“I have to thank Bloomfield’s finest,” Bernard said. “When you do things together you can make a difference. Our police staff did an outstanding job.”