November 15, 2013 at 10:07 AM
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The Board of Trustees authorized installation of a traffic light at Scotland Road and Raymond Avenue at its meeting Wednesday.
The trustees unanimously adopted the ordinance, which will be forwarded to Essex County, since Scotland Road belongs to the county. The action comes after years of discussion, off and on, about how to improve pedestrian safety and curb speeding at that intersection.
Village President Alex Torpey noted that the board had passed a resolution earlier this year approving the installation, but the county requested an ordinance be adopted.
Several residents spoke during the public hearing, most of whom supported the installation of the traffic light.
The president of the West Montrose Neighborhood Association, John Sammaro, pointed out the proximity of the busy intersection to schools and parks in the area.
“We want to stress that we have a large and growing number of small children who live on this street,” Sammaro said, “It is not 25 years ago.”
Scotland Road resident Butch Robinson acknowledged that there is a problem at the intersection with speeding and pedestrian safety but said he is not sure that a traffic signal will solve those problems.
“It seems to me that enforcement might be the solution here,” he said. “The idea that buses can speed up and down the street, Department of Public Works trucks can speed up and down the street with no worry about being ticketed, with no concern at all, is ridiculous.”
The board also moved forward on the village charter, introducing an ordinance to adopt a revised charter. It would authorize changing the titles of the elected officials and the board, removing the word “township” from the name of the village, and providing stipends for elected officials. The amended charter must be approved by state Legislature, which can be a lengthy process.
The board amended the ordinance to delay implementation of the stipend provision until after the end of the current term of all trustees now on the board. The amendment passed 5-1, with Trustee Howard Levison voting no.
Returning to matters of traffic control, Trustee Sheena Collum proposed reducing the speed limit on the South Orange part of Valley Street from 35 mph to 25 mph. Maplewood recently voted to reduce its portion of the street to 25 mph and asked South Orange to impose the same measure to reduce speed on Valley Street. The village counsel was instructed to draft the ordinance.
In other action, the board:
• Conducted an auction for the Old Stone House. The village received no bids on the historic property and is considering asking permission to demolish the oldest house in New Jersey.
• Introduced an ordinance to place two-hour parking restrictions on several streets in the Tuxedo Park neighborhood.
• Reappointed Karen Marlowe as a regular member to the South Orange Historic Preservation Commission, and reappointed Carolyn Moh as an alternate.