Residents praise police presence

West Milford. Council responds to complaints from residents about speeding and congestion on local roads.

| 06 Oct 2021 | 08:49

Many residents continued to suffer in silence while speeding traffic on local commuter roads endangered them and their property but others felt they could not just stand by and let a dangerous situation continue.

They took their case to Mayor Michele Dale and the Township of West Milford Council and they found officials who listened and reacted to the reports of existing dangerous traffic problems. Shortly afterward residents were pleased to say that police were visible checking traffic speeds in the days that followed the recent council meeting discussion.

Union Valley Road, Macopin Road and Greenwood Lake Turnpike are seen by residents as commuter roads during morning and evening commute hours. The roads are also busy on weekends with drivers heading out into the country for apple picking and entertainment and dining at popular restaurants.

Residents living along the roads complained that speeds of drivers far exceed posted speed limits along these Passaic County roads.

A highway, not merely a road

After discussion of the safety issue at the council meeting Councilwoman Ada Erik said there should be 100 percent enforcement of speed laws until people learn to obey the law and slow down as they travel through residential areas. Mayor Dale called for enforcement of the established speed laws and carrying out the letter of the law with heightened police patrols.

Charlene Stoub, a Macopin Road resident, referred to the road as “a highway.” She told the local governing board she would like to see the speed limit set at 35 miles per hour because of the speeding vehicles. She said the excessive speed of cars going past her home and her driveway is unsafe to the point where her family and friends do not want to visit because of the risk of having an accident while they try to circumvent the speeding cars to avoid a collision.

Slow down, save lives

Staub said the posted limit is inconsistent along Macopin Road in that it is higher in some sections and then lower in others. She suggested that more of a police presence might help to slow the traffic and maybe save a life.

Michael Garreau, also of Macopin Road, agreed with all that Stoub said. He reported to the council that though it is difficult to judge speed he has to step back from the road to be away from vehicles that are passing through at fast speeds.

County takes no action on requests to lower speed limits

Garreau said he is aware that Passaic County has been asked in the past to lower the speed limit but for some unknown reason there has not been action. He suggested that if the County denies a request for a decreased speed limit perhaps a flashing sign or addition of cameras on school buses or on the sign itself might be feasible.

Councilman Kevin Goodsir who lives on Macopin Road near the entrance to West Milford High School understood the situation from firsthand observations. He reported there were many motor vehicle accidents near his house. He added that larger trucks make a lot of noise when they hit rumble strips.

People along Union Valley Road and Greenwood Lake Turnpike have made similar observations and expressed concerns but did not appear before the council. “Herbert’s Flats” a flat area along Union Valley Road where vehicles appear to speed up before going down a hill above Gwinear Estates has long been an area of concern.

Residents along that stretch of road have had out of control speeding vehicles end up on their lawns a dozen or so times over past decades ruining shrubbery trees and fences. There was a driver fatality there many years ago when motorist coming over the hill hit a tree on a lawn.

Police chief to follow up

Township Administrator William Senande said the police chief and township engineer already looked at the expressed concerns some time ago and would be following up the complaints. The mayor recommended that there be heightened patrol of the roads where problem speeding was reported.

Councilwoman Ada Erik lives on Macopin Road and she agreed that speed limits need to be adjusted. Erik told of a new township requirement that new homes being constructed on Macopin Road share a driveway. She explained that the reason for this is because Passaic County determined that Macopin Road is too congested with more driveways adding to the problem.

Erik said if there is a congestion problem, then it should follow that the speed limit should also be reduced.

There was more discussion about the dangers caused by speeding vehicles and personal stories were told about people who have been killed on the road. There was council agreement that action to remedy the existing serious situation is needed.

Council consensus was that the speed limit should be lowered.