MONTCLAIR, NJ - Dozens of residents attended the council meeting on October 24 to discuss multiple issues affecting the town including closing Montclair Avenue on Halloween and lowering the speed limit on Grove Street.
Residents of Montclair Avenue addressed the council about their concerns regarding pedestrian safety on Halloween night. With close to 2000 trick-or-treaters each year, from multiple towns traveling on this street, many residents feel it is necessary to close down Montclair Avenue to all traffic on Halloween night. Over the years, this street has become increasingly popular due to the “book lady” who hands out three books to each trick-or-treater who comes to her house.
However, Chief of Police Todd M. Conforti explained that although pedestrian safety is a top priority on Halloween, it is simply not possible to close down the entire street for the night due to a variety of reasons.
“Currently we already have six to eight extra police officers on patrol that night to address any issues that may arise,” he said. “Even if we were able to block off Montclair Ave on Halloween, we wouldn’t be able to staff it.”
Although he understands the concerns of the residents, the township simply does not have the funds to add any additional officers.
Going forwards, the mayor and council suggested the residents come up with a plan for next year.
Residents were also eager to find out if the council would approve an ordinance to lower the speed limit on Grove Street by five miles per hour.
Although this change has been discussed significantly over the past few months, many council members were still not on board.
“I’m just concerned that simply changing a speed limit sign to say 30 miles per hour instead of 35 really won’t make a difference,” said Councilmen Sean Spiller. “What really needs to be done is we need to make the road appear more narrow so drivers feel like the need to drive slower.”
However, those in support of the ordinance agreed that the speed reduction was one step which could be done today to help make Grove Street a little bit safer. With all other solutions requiring more time and approval from the county, this minor change could help save lives. Currently, the township is also researching other dangerous intersections to determine the best places to install flashing traffic lights indicating that drivers must either slow down or come to a complete stop.
The ordinance passed four votes to three.
To start off the meeting, Councilwoman Renee Baskerville read a proclamation declaring October 2017 as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Detective Kim Nelson, who is a survivor of breast cancer, spoke about her organization called “Kim’s Breast Friends.”