South Orange Not Ready to Green-Light Scotland Road Traffic Light

The intersection of Raymond Avenue and Scotland Road has been identified as a dangerous crossing. Credits: Amy Kiste Nyberg

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Discussion once again turned to whether the village should endorse a plan to install a traffic light at Scotland Road and Raymond Avenue.

At its meeting Monday night, Board of Trustees members promised to put a resolution on the agenda for the Feb. 25 meeting about the need for improved traffic control and pedestrian safety at the intersection. Because Scotland Road is a county roadway, Essex County will make the final decision.

Although the Transportation Advisory Committee recommended in January that the village support installation of the traffic light, some officials said Monday they do not think other options have been fully explored.

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Some of the ideas discussed, such as a raised crosswalk or bumping out curbs, are not legal, according to Trustee Janine Bauer, who cited state laws prohibiting such construction on high-traffic roads that are not contained within municipal boundaries.

“You cannot do it in the state of New Jersey,” Bauer said of the traffic-calming devices. “I know the law and exactly what I’m talking about.”

Village President Alex Torpey wondered aloud about the consequences if the village ignored the law. “I’d love to look at what would happen,” he said. “(We could say) you can bring your bulldozer down and take it out.”

Scotland Road resident John Sammaro, president of the West Montrose Neighborhood Association, said the debate has dragged on for three administrations.

“None of you live there,” he told the trustees. “None of you know what you’re talking about. I want to be able to cross the street safety. We’ve got to do something, and we’ve got to stop sitting back and saying we’re lucky this year (no one was killed).”

In other business, the board:

  • Formally established a New Jersey Transit Advisory Committee, which will include Torpey, a trustee liaison, the village administrator, and five residents appointed by Torpey.
  • Discussed progress on hiring a deputy clerk and a deputy village administrator. Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. reported they are close to a hire for the deputy clerk and are accepting resumes through Feb. 21 for other position, which is new.
  • Learned from Lewis that plans to relocate village offices to trailers during Village Hall renovations would likely be more expensive than leasing commercial office space. The village is now looking at leasing opportunities. Employees will probably not be relocated until May.
  • Heard an update on two major development projects from Lewis. The South Orange Commons project, which will be built near the train trestle, could break ground by mid-March. The development at Third and Valley streets could break ground in late November.

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