Slowing Down South Mountain Speeders
By MIRELA IVERAC South Mountain residents presented proposals this morning to improve traffic safety in their neighborhood in a meeting with township safety committee members and the Millburn Police Department.
On behalf of the South Mountain community, Laura Occhiuzzi gave a list of suggestions to Daniel Baer and Thomas McDermott, township safety committee members. The residents recognized the efforts to improve safety in terms of increased police presence in the area and speed humps recently installed on Ridgewood Road and Parkview Drive.
Nevertheless, other measures such as installation of a stop sign and speed humps in other areas, as well as continuing increased police patrols in the area, were needed, the eight residents at the meeting said.
“What can we do to prevent people from cutting through?” asked Jeff Rosen.
Another resident, Kathleen Boehm, asked, “If we can’t deter them from going through the neighborhood, what can we do to prevent them from driving at speeds that are plain stupid?”
Ms. Boehm and Mr. Rosen were referring to one of the biggest problems South Mountain residents cite: drivers who are cutting through from the corner of Main Street and Parkview Drive to the corner of Parkview Drive and Millburn Avenue to avoid the downtown traffic lights, and who drive faster than the 25 mile-an-hour speed limit.
George Ganter, a 19-year-old Millburn High School graduate, died in a car accident on Parkview Drive last month.
Mr. McDermott and Mr. Baer said that a problem with the traffic signal timing on Main Street and Millburn Avenue, and Main Street and Essex Street, has contributed to problems in South Mountain. They have been pushing Essex County to re-time the signals, but have not been successful for two years, they said.
“If we can improve traffic signals in town,” said Mr. McDermott, “it’s going to help a little bit with cutting through.”
Mr. Baer also said that the Millburn Police Department is considering an installation of a stop sign on the corner of Ridgewood Road, Parkview Drive and Wittingham Terrace, and that the township safety committee will act based on the department’s recommendation.
But Mr. Baer said the installation of more speed humps will be done with careful consideration.
“Everyone wants their own personal speed hump,” said Mr. Baer. “The top priorities are schools and areas near the train station.”
Residents also expressed concerns about speeding near South Mountain School. They asked for increased police presence there, particularly when the high school closes and there are more young drivers on the streets. Mr. McDermott said more police officers are already on duty in town during those hours, and that more would most likely not be available.
“We could start a neighborhood watch program, noting down license plate numbers,” Ms. Boehm suggested.
Officers from the Police Department said they would encourage the residents to pass on those license plate numbers to them. While they could not act solely on the basis of such reports, they would keep an eye on the drivers in question when patrolling the town and stop them if they sped again.
Mr. Baer promised to submit a formal response to the suggestions made by the South Mountain residents.