MONTCLAIR, NJ - Dozens of residents spoke with the council about pedestrian safety on Grove Street and the surrounding areas on Tuesday.
Although certain safety measures have been installed recently, there have still been far too many instances of speeding and reckless driving in this area of town. Currently, the Montclair council has been considering lowering the speed limit on Grove Street from 35 to 30 miles per hour but many residents still feel that will not completely solve the problem.
During public comment, numerous residents of Grove Street, Oxford Street and other surrounding areas came forward to share their stories of traffic and pedestrian accidents. While most agreed that lowering the speed limit would help, the real problem is the lack of enforcement in the area. With limited police presence, drivers not only speed but also park near crosswalks and disobey traffic laws such as stopping for school busses.
Montclair resident David Peebler, a resident of Oxford Street, was involved in a serious accident while crossing Grove Street less than a year ago. He came to the meeting to share his story.
Back in December, as he was crossing Grove Street at one of the crosswalks, a landscaping truck struck him causing serious injuries. He was out of work for over 40 days. For the past few weeks he has been studying and taking photos of traffic patterns in the area to understand why this area has become so dangerous.
“It is virtually guaranteed that someone else is going to get hit based on what I have seen,” he said.
He brought before the council multiple photos of large vehicles such UPS and mail trucks parking at dangerously close to the crosswalks making it impossible for drivers to see pedestrians crossing.
Following his testimony, additional residents came forward to make suggestions such as increasing fines for speeding in this area and adding additional signage.
After nearly two hours of public comment the council responded and came up with a plan to address everyone’s concerns.
“We hear you loud and clear,” said Mayor Robert Jackson. “We all agree that enforcement is a major problem in this area and we can agree to increase the number of police officers in this area.”
Going forward he and the rest of the council are going to put together a plan to address this issue and will present it in a resolution at the next meeting.
The next agenda item discussed at the meeting was the Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment Plan. Recently the council submitted suggestions to the planning board which included suggestions such as preserving the historical elements of the original structure, expanding the green open spaces and reducing the number of residential units. Although the planning board agreed to almost all suggestions, the council still felt that more discussion was needed before any decisions were made.