NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council approved and held a public hearing on the ordinance to reduce the speed limit on Mountain Avenue between South Street and Division Avenue from 40/mph to 35/mph at its Monday, May 21 meeting. However, the council decided more discussion is needed to reduce the speed from 45/mph to 40 mph west of Glenside Road at the South Street intersection.
The approved speed limit ordinance was met with gratitude among those Mountain Avenue residents who have advocated improved safety on their street. The council in turn commended the residents for bringing the dangerous road conditions to their attention. Councilman Jim Madden noted that the speed limit was a collaborative effort with residents sharing ideas and providing suggestions for improvements.
The council had another ordinance introduction on Monday’s agenda. This ordinance, if approved, will reduce the speed form 45/mph to 40/mph on Mountain Avenue form the intersection of South Street and Glenside Avenue to Diamond Hill Road and Union Avenue intersection.
However, Councilman Michael Gennaro said that he did not find the report regarding the proposed additional speed limit on Mountain Avenue “particularly convincing.” He noted that many business facilities on this stretch of Mountain Avenue are generating less traffic than previously. The only facility that is growing is Lantern Hill in this section. “I just don’t see the need to reduce the speed limit to 40,”he said. He pointed out that there are two lanes in each direction on that section of Mountain Avenue. “As far as I am concerned I don’t really support this ordinance,” he stated.
Councilman Robert Robinson pointed out that the council did not really discuss the proposed ordinance as it usually does. He noted that there are four traffic lights in short intervals on this section of the road. “How fast can you go there?” he asked. He suspected that at the busiest time of day, when businesses let out their employees, the speed is practically 1/mph. However, he pointed out that traffic safety is a priority for the council. He suggested that the council further discuss the proposed ordinance. He said that he would also like to find out whether there are more tickets issued for motorist exceeding 50/mph. “The idea is to calm the traffic,” he said.
Mayor Al Morgan noted that the area of Mountain Avenue and South Street is prone to accidents. He noted that it is “tough” in that area sometimes, when motorists are pulling out from Lantern Hill or when landscaping trucks are lined up along the road.
Gennaro suggested that the police chief or traffic officer provide the council with a presentation on the traffic situation on that stretch of Mountain Avenue.
Mountain Avenue resident Kurt Thraen supported the reduced speed limit on the western section of Mountain Avenue although that would not affect him personally. He pointed out a vision of New Providence being safe enough for children to walk and bike around the town. He said that there is no gain for drivers for going 5/mph faster on a half a mile stretch.
Morgan also reminded residents of the pending repair plan for the Passaic Street Bridge and urged them to think about alternative routes. The work is supposed to start in late August – early September and it will close the bridge for at least six months, but most likely even longer.