Montville residents lined up to address the Montville Township Committee last night during a discussion of Lowe's proposed off-site improvements, which could potentially effect the amount of traffic on Bloomfield Avenue, Maple Avenue, and other streets in the area.
The original plan called for a sidewalk bump-out that would make a portion of Bloomfield Avenue a one-way street, but the Department of Transportation objected to the plan. The one-way would have made exiting the Lowe's onto Bloomfield impossible, thereby alleviating the amount of traffic that flows into local neighborhoods around the Lowe's.
Without the ability to turn that portion of Bloomfield into a one-way, though, the majority of the traffic is still flowing onto Bloomfield and ultimately onto side streets in the area, including Maple Ave.
Dozens of residents attended the committee meeting to be a part of the discussion, but residents were split on what was an appropriate action to take.
Barbara Burke was first to speak, and suggested that Maple Avenue be dead-ended on both ends of the street, making it impossible for cars to cut through the residential neighborhood as they have been.
"We don't have sidewalks, so the kids, if they're walking, even if people are walking dogs, there really is no side of the road for them, so an influx of cars is really going to be detrimental," said Burke.
Her husband, Chris, addressed the committee as well.
"Our main concern is the safety for the kids," he said.
Jason Jones emphasized the same point.
"I'm now living on Maple Ave. with two small children," said Jones. "I can't take my children for a walk, bike ride."
Jones said that cars will drive down the street going more than 50 miles per hour, despite the road having a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. He also said he is one of the residents in the area who staggers his car to force drivers to slow down.
"It's an accident waiting to happen," said Jones.
Other residents disagreed with Jones and Burke though, as they were concerned with how much traffic would be forced to stay on Bloomfield Avenue if Maple Avenue was dead-ended.
Herb Eggers said that although he feels his neighbors have valid points, "we're losing sight of the fact that…when they came in for this original site plan, the plan was to not allow traffic out onto Bloomfield Ave."
"The original plan was for one store; now it's two, maybe three…this is getting further and further out of hand…if you close the access over there, you only have one way out of town," he said.
Marie Eggers also spoke.
"We're definitely against a culdesac," she said. "I think that people in my area that feel there should be a culdesac, they are really insensitive, being selfish."
She suggested that the committee "stand up to Lowe's" and have the traffic flow onto Route 46.
But as it stands with the Department of Transportation, it seems that might not be an option. Committeeman Tim Braden suggested contacting the Department of Transportation and sending one or two members of the township committee to meet with them, "to address concerns for residents."
"I feel that's the least we can do for our residents here," he said.
Braden also suggested writing to the Montville Township Police Department to suggest a ticket writing campaign.
Mayor Jim Sandham agreed that the township committee "needs to take one more crack" with the Department of Transportation. The goal would be to have access on and off Route 46, which would ease the traffic concerns of residents in the area.
Lowe's is working on a new site plan to bring to Montville's Board of Adjustments, and the Township Committee plans to prepare a report of concerns raised at Tuesday night's committee meeting to share with the board.