Debate on traffic problems continues

WEST MILFORD. The Township Council members are at odds on whether to reduce speed limits on the busiest roads.

| 07 Mar 2023 | 03:30

The Township Council continues to debate what should be done about traffic on Macopin Road.

During discussions at council meetings since the beginning of the year, Councilmen David Marsden and Kevin Goodsir have blamed distracted drivers for the problems. Marsden has cited a study that showed that distracted driving, rather than speeding, is a major cause of accidents in West Milford. He wants police to enforce traffic laws and says more signs are needed.

Councilwoman Ada Erik favors reducing speed limits, which Marsden opposes.

Councilman Matt Conlon has said he is tired of talking about the problem, noting that officials’ time could be better spent on legislative matters. He asked his colleagues to provide a suggested solution and information that he can analyze.

He suggested that the speed limit on Union Valley Road could be reduced from 50 mph to 45 mph.

Erik has said much of the congestion on Macopin is caused by stopped school buses.

Goodsir, who lives on Macopin and commutes to his job in Jersey City, has said he would never vote to reduce the speed limit on that road.

Residents of Macopin were aware of the heavy traffic when they purchased their homes, he said.

Former Councilman Peter Gillen disagreed, pointing out that his parents and others bought their Echo Lake and Macopin homes in the mid-1930s when Macopin was a two-lane country road.

Erik, who also lives on Macopin, has made her own study of traffic there. She said she learned that congestion is the cause of the problems, rather than accidents.

Noting that there are two signs showing drivers’ speeds in her area, she said she counted 732 cars between 6:15 and 7:15 a.m. on a Monday, the fastest one traveling at 63 mph. On average, there are 18 cars in a line, with three of the longest lines having 39, 37, and 32 vehicles.

The company that makes the electronic signs says 80 percent of drivers slow down when they see them, she said.

Commenting on Union Valley Road traffic problems, Erik said she drives the speed limit and people pass her over the double no-passing line, easily driving more than 60 mph.

Pulling out of Oxbow Lane at Sundown Farms is dangerous, with conditions there similar to Arundel Road in Old Milford Estates where it connects to Macopin, she said.

Noting her earlier preference to lower speed limits, Councilwoman Marilyn Lichtenberg said it sometimes takes a while for changes to take place. She hopes that the increased police presence and action against violators of current laws will help.