After much discussion about six areas of Macopin Road proposed for lower speed limits, the Township of West Milford Council majority decided to not make any changes and voted down a proposed ordinance to lower some present speeds posted on the busy road.
After the council left only one proposal for more discussion – to limit Macopin Road speeds in both directions to 35 miles an hour from 2,000 feet north of Gould Road to 700 feet south of New Dockerty Hollow Road - they finally decided to take no action to reduce any speed limits currently in place.
The originally proposed ordinance also with speed limits in five other zones included a 30 mph “School Zone” in the area of the currently shuttered Hillcrest School building during recess or while children were going to or leaving school during opening and closing hours. Councilwoman Ada Erik felt that excessive speeds through this flat stretch were dangerous enough to warrant a proposed 30 mph limit there. Councilman Kevin Goodsir only favored a speed-limit decrease on Macopin Road from Fredericks Drive to Bubbling Springs Park.
Mayor Michele Dale voiced concern regarding the area near Arundel Road and mentioned that Macopin Road has areas that ebb and flow. Councilwoman Marilyn Lichtenberg wanted the zone 3 portion to extend to include Arundel Road.
The zones where limits were unsuccessfully proposed are Zone 1 – From the southern West Milford boundary (with Bloomingdale) to Ashbrook Lane, 35 mph; Zone 2 – to Germantown Road 40 mph; Zone 3 to 2,000 feet north of Gould Road. Zone 4 included the stretch south of Docherty Hollow Road that was finally the only the only consideration for lower speed; Zone 5 – to 500 feet north of Cahill Cross Road and Zone 6 to Union Valley Road.
Macopin Road is a main thoroughfare heavily traveled as a connector road to major highways. One of the earliest routes in the area, it goes through a series of old, established communities, including Apshawa, Echo Lake and Macopin. There are connector roads with the developments of Tall Timbers, Old Milford Estates and Camelot. Traffic is especially heavy during commute hours. The ordinance setting the lower speeds was introduced because of the number of Macopin Road motor vehicle accidents that occur annually.
Councilwoman Ada Erik and Councilman Kevin Goodsir live on Macopin Road. David Marston, who lives on Germantown Road, blamed the accident problems on inattentive drivers. He made the point that distracted drivers and not speeders are the largest contributor to many Macopin Road accidents and he believes the problem may be a law enforcement issue. Councilwoman Erik felt the speed limit needed changing with law enforcement follow-up so that drivers realize what the speed limits are.