Town to Consider Creating Dead End on Maple Ave.
Study shows more than 80 percent of vehicles were speeding southbound on Margaret Street.
The Montville Township Committee will consider creating a dead end on Maple Avenue, in Pine Brook, after a traffic study completed by the township's engineering department showed motorists are traveling at an excessive speed to cut through the neighborhood between Route 46 and Interstate 80.
Township Engineer Anthony Barile Jr. presented the department's findings through a traffic study to the township committee at its March 13 meeting. Four traffic counters-one on Margaret Street, one on John Street (which ended up not being operational) and two on Maple Avenue-were borrowed from the Morris County Department of Planning and Development to be used in the study, as well as two counters from the Montville Township Police Department.
At least four of the counters were in place between Feb. 13 and Feb. 22. The data collected from the counters indicated that the highest volume of traffic passes through northern Maple Avenue during Friday evenings.
"It is concluded that dead-ending Maple Avenue near New Maple Avenue will have a significant effect on reducing traffic volumes on all streets in the Maple Avenue neighborhood; Margaret Drive, John Street and Maple Avenue," Barile wrote in his report.
The study also examined the speed of the vehicles that drive through the area and, according to the results, Barile said more than 88 percent of the vehicles that traveled southbound on Margaret Drive during the time period studied were in excess of the 25 mph speed limit. While only 8 percent were in excess of the speed limit driving north on Margaret Drive, over 30 percent were in excess of the speed limit in both the southern and northern directions on Maple Avenue.
Township committee members seemed surprised at the traffic study's results.
"It's unbelieveable just how fast people are going," Committee Member Don Kostka said. "It's really the rare person that drives the speed limit."
Kostka said when the issue of traffic on Maple Avenue was first raised by the residents, he had thought putting stop signs on the street would curb some of the problem.
"Looking at this, stop signs, they just don't make any sense to me. Making a dead end, it's the only way to stop it," he said.
Committee Member Scott Gallopo said the study reaffirmed the concerns of the residents and he urged the committee to take action.
"There's an unneccessary risk in that neighborhood," he said. "The committee should seriously consider a measure to eliminate cut-throughs in one way, shape or form."
The committee discussed how creating a dead end on the road may alleviate the problem. A few of the neighborhood residents thanked the committee for their consideration of measures to stop the cut-throughs, with some even becoming emotional at the microphone. Resident Jason Jones said "this has been an issue since I was a kid" and thanked the committee for working toward a resolution.
Another resident, Keith Olsen, said he thinks a dead end would be appropriate for curbing transient drivers from cutting through the neighborhood.
"Putting in a dead end, the only people that are going to be going down Margaret or John Street are the people in our neighborhood," he said.
Herb Eggars said he opposed a dead-end on Maple Avenue at the March 13 meeting, but has been vocal in the past as well about the issue.
"If you close the access over there, you only have one way out of town," he said in June.
The committee will be discussing the issue further before any final decision is made.