NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – While traffic safety has been improving in some areas in town, new hot spots for accidents waiting to happen keep surfacing. At the Tuesday, Oct. 9 meeting the Borough Council heard a resident’s concern on South Street safety.

An upper South Street resident Mary Housel told the council that she has had two car accidents within a quarter mile from her home. The last accident occurred three weeks ago when she was pulling out from her driveway and another car ran through a stop sign and struck her vehicle. Furthermore, she said she has witnessed “dozens and dozens of accidents” on South Street between Oakwood Drive and Woodland Avenue. It is “a very dangerous section of the road,” she said. She explained that a vehicle was going uphill on South Street when the most recent accident happened just this past weekend. She pointed out that the curving hill is dangerous both ways, uphill and downhill.

Housel said that she has contacted her neighbors and they are planning to form a committee to look into the existing accident data on South Street as well as to provide the council with suggestions of how to improve traffic and pedestrian safety on that section. She invited council members to join them when they meet. Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy volunteered to attend the neighborhood meeting.

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Housel pointed out that the measures that have been taken, such as a placement of a slow down sign or a patrol car stationed on one of the side streets, have not helped. Something else needs to be done, she said.

Councilman Robert Robinson said that “the council is here to help”. He noted that the governing body is aware of the traffic safety issues and is willing to work with residents to find a better solution, however, the council members agreed that it is difficult to legislate behavior.

The council also discussed a resident’s letter regarding Oakwood Park traffic. The resident was concerned regarding speeding vehicles rushing to and from sporting events at Oakwood Park. Borough Administrator Doug Marvin noted that the borough could possibly add some speed limit signs in the park vicinity. He also said the police department is in the process of purchasing additional LED sign boards that could be placed in the area.

“It is a human nature problem,” Marvin said. He explained that the borough has sent emails to those families participating in sports programs to be thoughtful of neighborhoods as they drive to and from the field.

Furthermore, the council approved a resolution for Oakwood Park paving. Councilman Jim Madden explained that the borough has cleared an area for an additional parking lot that would take the on street parking off the residential streets. Robinson noted that before the parking lot was cleared many cars were parked on Woodbine Circle, Roessner Place and Newcomb Drive which caused “real traffic problems” with “people going faster than they should”.  He noted that when cars park on both sides of the street it creates poor visibility for pedestrians, bicycle riders, and people getting in and out of vehicles. “This parking lot did not solve all the problems – we are aware of that,” he said. However, the lot is alleviating park goers having to park in front of residential houses on those streets, he said.

Madden stated that the borough is working really hard to accommodate a better traffic flow in and out of Oakwood Park.

Additionally, Mayor Al Morgan noted that the Public Safety Committee recommends that the speed limit of 45/mph on the four-lane section of Mountain Avenue be lowered to 40/mph.