MONTCLAIR, NJ - Residents living on Mount Vernon Rd. attended the regular council conference meeting on March 7 to discuss the many safety issues they are experiencing on their street. With a dog park located near by, many residents are parking illegally on their street, blocking driveways and causing many safety hazards according to those living on the street.

They also reported cars traveling at excessive speeds as well as making illegal U-turns in driveways. With children playing outside, this becomes extremely dangerous especially with spring time approaching.

There is also the added issue of aggressive dogs and dog waste left on the property which needs to be addressed as well.

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“The problem seems to be very specific to our street, and it is not just on the weekend” said one resident.

With many people using GPS devices or Google Maps to locate the dog park, many are being directed down Mount Vernon Rd. even though the entrance for the park is elsewhere he said. Freeholder Cynthia Toro accompanied the residents and offered some suggestions to the council. With the dog park on county land, residents contacted Toro to express their concerns.

While Toro explained that much of the responsibility lies in the hands of the local government, there are ways in which the county can help. Currently, members of the county have been sent to help clean up dog waste and other litter at the park.

However, residents are still looking for a solution to help alleviate the excess traffic, speeding and illegal parking on their street. Some suggests made by the council included speed bumps and no parking signs but, according to residents, something more needs to be done. It was also suggested that each driveway be marked so residents are reminded to not park within two feet of a driveway.

“I certainly understand you concern and there are some things that can be done but, we have gone down this street and what we have experienced is during daytime hours, the streets seem to be empty. We were trying to come up with a way to provide the safety you are concerned with by determining hours when people can park,” said Councilor Renee Baskerville.

Township engineer Kim Craft was brought into this discussion in order to determine the best way to reduce the amount of speeding on Mount Vernon Road . She explained that there are a number of things that need to be done before speed restrictions are implemented on a street.

“While the speed limit is 25 miles per hour on most streets in town, in order to lower that, residents would have to submit a petition and it would need the support of at least half of the residents on that street. Then a speed study would be conducted,” she said.

However, she stated that although it may appear that residents are speeding down the street, it may not be the case because on it is almost impossible to speed on such as short street.

Going forward, the mayor and council has agreed to discuss limiting parking on both sides of the street and within two feet of driveways. They will also look into conducting additional speed studies to determine if the speed limit needs to be reduced. They plan to have more definite plans by the next council meeting on March 28.