SOMERVILLE, NJ - Ongoing concerns with pedestrian safety and motorists ignoring speed limit signs on Route 28 has prompted the Borough Council to seek a remedy from the state Department of Transportation.
Local lawmakers are expected to approve a consent resolution at Monday night's 7 p.m. meeting "urging the state of New Jersey Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on the entire Route 28 to 25 miles per hour within Somerville.Borough."
The meeting will be held at Police headquarters, 24 So. Bridge St.
The council will also introduce an amended ordinance that would prohibit stopping or standing on North Gaston Avenue north of Union Avenue (Route 28).
There will also be discussion about producing a public safety video on jaywalking.
The measures are all an outgrowth of a recent Borough Council meeting during a discussion of traffic safety in the borough, which Police Chief Dennis Manning characterized as a "chronic problem."
A 52-year-old woman was killed crossing Grove Street in front of the Somerset Hotel in July 2018. There have been two other pedestrian fatalities along Main Street at different locations and another late last year on East High Street in the vicinity of the Somerset County administration and complex.
Downtown Somerville presents an increasing problem, according to borough officials, with increased pedestrian traffic paralleling the resurgence of the downtown retail and restaurant district along Main Street (Route 28).
There are several trouble spots along Route 28 including the Van Derveer elementary school where parents dropping off and picking up their children in the morning and afternoon cause traffic slowdowns; further west, the intersection with Roosevelt Place near the state Department of Motor Vehicles office and the nearby North Gaston Avenue/William Street/Union Avenue intersection
The NJDOT completed traffic studies and reset the traffic light at the busy intersection to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of vehicles entering into the adjacent residential area. The intersection is particularly busy in the morning and mid-afternoon hours when students from the nearby Van Derveer Elementary School are present.
The Borough Council has also adopted two ordinances that impact the intersection and parking. The first prohibits parking on the west side of North Gaston Avenue between William Street and Catherine Street. An existing ordinance was amended to prohibit a left-hand turn when traveling on North Gaston Avenue in the southbound direction at the intersection of Schoolhouse Lane from 7-9 a.m. and from 3-6 p.m.