Borough Engineer Bob Vogel detailed plans for a dozen Madison road improvements projects slated for this summer during a special public information meeting on Monday inside the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building council chambers at 50 Kings Road.
Public input could allow the Engineering Department to make changes to address resident concerns that may not have been included in the original proposal before construction begins, Vogel said.
“Getting a little interaction with the residents about what’s going on in their front yards obviously can be very helpful,” he said.
Several residents seemed worried about changes to the proposal for a new sidewalk along the west side of Central Avenue from Fairview Avenue to Lorraine Road.
Original plans Vogel presented to the Mayor and Council at its Dec. 11 meeting explained the sidewalk would extend past Lorraine Road to Ridgedale Avenue, but Vogel said there were too many “obstructions” to make this a reality.
Residents said schoolchildren and other pedestrians frequently walk along the shoulder of Central Avenue between Lorraine Road and Ridgedale Avenue and were concerned that Vogel’s proposal would not remedy this.
Though current plans do not allow for a sidewalk on this stretch of road, Vogel said his idea will help calm traffic along this route.
“One of our primary objectives is increased safety for all users, not just schoolchildren,” he said.
Morris County officials will pave the entirety of Central Avenue, according to Vogel, and Madison will add signage along the route and restripe the pavement.
About 40 percent of sidewalks on Greenwood Avenue from Main Street to Fairview Avenue will be replaced as part of the reconstruction project “to reduce trip hazards,” Vogel said. New handicapped ramps, signage and striping are also on the docket for this summer on Greenwood.
Greenwood is “one of our bigger projects,” Vogel said. The borough received $245,000 in state aid for this two-phase venture via the NJ Transportation Trust Fund program.
Textured pavement and “very, very apparent” shoulder signage near crosswalks at the intersection of Greenwood Avenue and Brittin Street will also happen this summer, Vogel said.
Parents often park too close to the intersection during school pick up and drop off hours, creating a traffic hazard and limited visibility for passing cars at those times, according to Vogel.
“We want to make those intersections more visible and apparent,” he said.
Greenwood Avenue resident Lynn Macagnano said more traffic-calming measures are needed on her street, particularly near the Grove Street intersection.
“As bumpy as that road is, cars regularly go down there at 35 to 40 mph, which is over the speed limit of 25,” she said. “If I go 25 on Greenwood, people like to pass me on the left or tailgate me the whole way down. I’m concerned that once the road is repaved and smooth…(drivers) will be more tempted to go faster.
“I just wish that there were some more traffic calming or permanent speed-reducing measures incorporated into your plan for Greenwood.”
Vogel said he would be happy to have a look at the issues Macagnano described “and see if there is something reasonable” he can do to address her concerns.
“Reckless driving seems to be more of a problem today than I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I design the roads as best as I possibly can to try to get people to drive responsibly.”
Reconstruction on Greenwood from Route 24 to the Florham Park border are part of the second phase of this project, scheduled for 2019.
Rosewood Drive and Crestwood Drive are also on the list for upgrades this year, including curb replacements and drainage improvements.
Much of the curbing on these streets “is completely degraded,” according to Vogel.
Vogel said he plans to “better define” the intersection of these two roads near Cedar Avenue with the addition of a standard, 15-foot curb radius that will decrease the amount of “cut-through traffic” in the area.
“Minimizing the size of a corner radius is critical to creating compact intersections with safe turning speeds,” according to the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
Plain Street will receive a new curb and water main this summer, and drainage improvements will be installed. Frank Russo of the Madison Engineering Department secured $80,000 from Morris County for the Plain Street project via a Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Vogel said he originally planned to construct sidewalks on both sides of Plain Street, but this type of project is ineligible for county funding.
Curbs will also be replaced on Kensington Road as part of this year’s improvement plan, and drainage improvements will be installed.
The total cost of these six projects—the Central Avenue sidewalk, Greenwood Avenue, Rosewood Drive, Crestwood Drive, Plain Street and Kensington Road reconstruction—is an estimated $1.8 million.
Plans also include the milling and paving of a half dozen other Madison roads: Kings Road, from Prospect Street to Green Village Road; Barnsdale Road; Winding Way; Elmer Street; Keep Street; and the Cook Avenue parking lot for an approximate cost of $705,000.
The borough council introduced ordinances on Monday at its regular meeting that would appropriate 2018 budget funds for these projects.
Members of the public can inspect maps and documents for more information beginning Tuesday, Jan. 9 at the Office of the Borough Engineer on the second floor of the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building at 50 Kings Road. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.