Union works with Bed Bath and Beyond on traffic flow problems

UNION, NJ  — When Bed Bath and Beyond moved their corporate headquarters to Union in recent years, the company brought along much needed jobs. But it also brought with it too much traffic, and now the town has worked with the company to come up with a solution.

The company’s headquarters are located on Liberty Avenue, just before it turns into Springfield Road, not far from Route 22. And according to Township Administrator Ron Manzella, the traffic has been a sore spot in an otherwise great relationship with the company, but no one is letting the traffic ruffle any feathers. Instead, the town and Bed Bath and Beyond are working together to solve the problem.

“There has been an increase in traffic and in a partnership with Bed Bath and Beyond, there has been the addition of a second traffic signal,” said Manzella in an interview last week. “And we are widening the street on Springfield Avenue for a dedicated right turn lane.”

The traffic and the solutions, Manzella said, is “really primarily for rush hours,” as much of the traffic is in the early morning and evening, but added “the traffic models have shown a significant increase in traffic flow.”

According to Manzella, Bed Bath and Beyond recently sought a variance to buy the property at the corner of Liberty and Rahway avenues, knock the building down and build a parking lot. But part of the agreement with the town included an agreement to help with the traffic problems.

Manzella said when the traffic leaves the corporate headquarters, it stops in the street and has effects on all drivers. The new traffic light, he said, would see employees having a long queue time, but the traffic getting away from the area faster.

The agreement between Union and Bed Bath and Beyond, which has been called a “fair share agreement,” sees the corporation paying slightly more for the traffic improvement, which is slated to cost around $1.1 million.

According to information provided to LocalSource, the responsibilities of Bed Bath and Beyond include a new traffic signal at the 650 Liberty Avenue driveway with a pedestrian crossing; changes to the traffic signal on Rahway Avenue; center lane striping improvement; and various other driveway improvements.

The township’s portion of the “fair share agreement” includes traffic signal improvements at Springfield and Milltown roads and the widening of Springfield Road to fit a dedicated right turn at Milltown Road.

Manzella did not have the exact figures readily available when he spoke to LocalSource, but estimated the split in costs was about 60 percent for Bed Bath and Beyond and 40 percent for the township.

Mayor Manuel Figueredo has praised Bed Bath and Beyond for being a “good tenant and neighbor to our residents,” and the work is scheduled to be completed before 2016., NJ


11 Responses to "Union works with Bed Bath and Beyond on traffic flow problems"

  1. galegrafix2   September 9, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    I am puzzled as to why anyone thinks that the residents having to pick up a $500,000.00 bill in order for a huge corporation to regulate the traffic issues that are tangling traffic and creating huge delays for the residents of Union. BB&B is the reason we have these issues, they should foor the $1.1 million bill entirely and not push it back on the already burdened taxpayers and driving public in this Town. Our public officials need to be given a smack in the head for ever agreeing to this. My taxes have increased by $180 per month over the last 8 years I am living here and I do not appreciate having to subsidize a billion dollar corporation’s poor planning and overgrowth in a neighborhood that can ill afford the burden caused by the snarled everyday traffic.

  2. Dan Hogan   September 10, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    You claim that our public officials need to be given a smack in the head for ever agreeing to this? The alternatives are nothing being done to resolve the issue, or the township paying 100% of the cost.

    Your response that the township is subsidizing a billion corporation is factually incorrect. Bed Bath and Beyond is subsidizing the township for this project. They are absolutely not required to make infrastructure improvements, and you should be happy that they have generously agreed to participate in this because they simply don’t have to. A lot of other companies would just turn their back at such a suggestion.

    I suggest you take a look and see who the five largest property taxpayers in our township are. We need to welcome them and work with them. You should take a minute and figure out how much your taxes would go up if they were to leave town.

  3. galegrafix2   September 10, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Of course a fourth alternative would be for BB&B to cover the entire cost. This situation has been a huge headache and tremendous inconvenience for the people of Union. If the company wasn’t there Union would not be required to make these infrastructure ‘improvements’, but it is, so why shouldn’t BB&B do the right thing, after all, their employees also benefit from these improvements. BB&B will save a lot of money by not having to pay for traffic control employees 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. The people of Union support BB&B as witnessed by the always filled parking lot at the Christmas Tree store on route 22. I am also sure that Unionites support BB&B by shopping at their store in Millburn. Perhaps you could figure out for me how much my taxes would go up if they were to leave town. I am not an accountant, just someone who suffers through the traffic issues caused by their presence and every time I get my ever increasing tax bill. 1/2 million here, 1/2 million there, yes they do deserve a smack in the head. have you ever seen a tax bill go down? I believe they could have convinced BB&B to do this and foot the entire bill but rolled over instead with their concession of paying 45% of the cost. $500,000 spent on rehabilitation our ‘downtown’ Union area would have been money better spent, to draw in residents to support local business, generate larger tax bases and revive a dying area.

  4. Dan Hogan   September 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    You suggest that our township officials could have extorted more money from Bed Bath and Beyond. So as a township citizen, why don’t we see you volunteering to help our elected officials to achieve what you claim to be so easy? You claim that Bed Bath and Beyond could have been convinced to foot the entire bill. On what basis do you make that claim? Obviously you must have some insider information.

    How about just being thankful for Bed Bath and Beyond’s generosity, rather than trying to extort more out of them? I drive Liberty Avenue almost every day, and the vast majority of other vehicles using the street have nothing to do with Bed Bath and Beyond. But it’s interesting that we don’t see you complaining that the other businesses in the area did not step up and contribute to this, and you suggest that Bed Bath and Beyond did not do the right thing by not agreeing to pay 100% of the cost, when the reality is that they had no obligation to contribute anything at all. Are you at all aware that in the last several years a number of other businesses have opened in that immediate area and others have expanded their operations dramatically?

    It’s easy to tell from that you just don’t realize how important non-residential properties are to the township tax base. You keep complaining about our property taxes, so I’m sure you know that our school system is by far the number one reason our taxes are so high and keep increasing.

    Think about how much Bed Bath and Beyond ( and every other non-residential property owner) contributes to our township in property taxes) perhaps you might want to do that before pointing the finger again, it’s readily available public information on the internet), and then ask how much of a burden do they add to our public schools.

    That’s the reason that all municipalities go out of their way to attract good corporate citizens like Bed Bath and Beyond. You don’t seem to get that. How many businesses in our township would volunteer to contribute to this project in the way that they are? That’s why our mayor issued a public thank you to them.

    • galegrafix2   September 14, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Dan…lighten up. Do you have a paycheck with BB&B’s logo on the front of it? lol….I never said extort. Wonder why you think I should volunteer my time to something others are paid to do, such as working in the Town government. I prefer to volunteer where I have been committing my free time to for the past 7 years…. Animal Rescue and Feeding the Homeless. I don’ appreciate your condescending tone and I don’t keep complaining. I just comment on the fact about the taxes strangling my budget. I certainly have the right to do so, to freely express my satisfaction or lack of it when it comes to taxes, government, businesses or anything else. Wondering what your dog in this race is?

  5. MRao   October 4, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I am a Union township resident and drive through Bed and Bath every day. The traffic is really bad during peak hours and you will be really anxious especially if you are driving your child to a school in another town which is 10 miles from Union.

    I don’t think that other businesses in this area contribute this much of chaos to traffic. Certainly they are not as “Big” as Bed, Bath and Beyond.

    BB&B may be the highest property tax payer to the township. There may be arrangements between the township and BB&B to improve the traffic situation. Whatever you do, do not burden us with further taxes and as a good corporate citizen, BB&B will earn good reputation and free publicity if it takes full responsibility for the traffic chaos and pays the entire cost of traffic improvement. Let them put a big Board near the new traffic signal “donated by
    BB&B”. Anyone listening…?


    • Dan Hogan   October 5, 2015 at 9:51 am

      I drive liberty Avenue twice a day every day, and to try to blame all the traffic on bed bath and beyond is just not fair. All you have to do is stand there, and you can see that only a small percentage of the vehicles using liberty Avenue are going to or coming from bed Bath and beyond. And as far as bed Bath and beyond creating a tax burden on all of us, it’s just not true. If they were not here, everyone else’s taxes would have to be increased to make up for the loss of revenue from them. Keep in mind that they pay all the taxes they do, and don’t create any incremental burden on our school system, which is by for how the biggest portion of our property taxes are spent. We need to do everything reasonable to attract more companies like them, rather than try to blame them for our problems because they may have deep pockets. If you took a closer look at how our tax revenues are derived and spent I think you might see the point I’m making.

    • galegrafix2   October 5, 2015 at 11:24 am

      Well said MR. good idea too. Seriously doubtful that BB&B would change their minds and decline the town’s generosity of $500,000 of our tax money being used to solve their problem. Someone said we should be ‘thankful’ they are here and pay taxes. I would be more thankful to have a community minded corporation in our town that makes efforts to care for and be involved in our community, not take hard earned tax dollars from the Town to fix the traffic flow issues caused by their presence.

      • Dan Hogan   October 6, 2015 at 7:18 pm

        It’s interesting how you conveniently ignore the facts. If you lived in the neighborhood, you would be very aware that a number of other companies have recently moved into the area, certainly creating just as much, if not more traffic as the company that you were trying to make a scapegoat out of. BB&B is contributing a substantial amount of money toward the project, but why do we not hear you complaining about the other companies that are contributing nothing?

  6. Paul Sinco   October 5, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I have been a facilities and real estate manager for Fortune 500 companies for 40 years and never has any town or township and to pay for roadway changes or traffic lights the cost have always been paid for by the corporations 100% and the taxes on the buildings never changed even if the buildings were occupied or not the traffic issues are always discussed before hand traffic studies are always done before hand and road changes and traffic lights installed before anyone moves in why wasn’t this done the traffic issues did not happen before BB&B who should be wholly responsible for all costs but the horse is out of the barn I would like to talk to the representative from the township who was in charge of this project and see the studies that were done and if it was an outside consultant than they should pick the costs I don’t like sitting in backed up traffic on route 22 maybe we should contact the state DOT ask them for and answer I’m sure they would gladly help us

    • Dan Hogan   October 6, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      I know for a fact that’s just not correct. We own a condo down the shore, and when the town added a badly needed traffic signal down the street, the town paid 30% of the cost, and the balance came from a grant from the state, not a “corporation”.

      Furthermore, regarding the property, you are absolutely incorrect. Take a look at the taxes paid on those buildings now and before BB&B. Certainly you must be aware that the taxes are based on accessed value.

      I just think it’s really wrong for people to be making comments like this without first checking their facts.