Verona has asked for another review of the study on Fairview Avenue traffic, the town and county have stepped up enforcement of speed limits, and Essex County is saying that it did not make the decision that a traffic light by VHS is not warranted.
At the November 10 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Rui Dionisio had attributed the decision to deny a traffic light at the corner of Fairview and Sampson drive to the county. But Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. sent a message through his Twitter feed (@Joe_D_EssexExec) today that that conclusion came from the consultant who did the study and no application for a light had been made to the county:
“I believe it is an incorrect statement to say that the county has decided against installing a traffic light on Fairview Avenue by the High School because, at this time, the township and the Board of Education have not submitted any application to the county.
“Before counties and municipalities install traffic signals–or make any changes that affect traffic flow–a ‘warrant study’ has to be completed to determine if the changes meet requirements set forth by the state. In this case the Township of Verona hired Klein Traffic Consulting to perform the study. On page 7 of the report, Klein concludes ‘that no warrants are met for the intersection of Fairview Avenue with Sampson Drive. According to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a traffic control signal should not be installed unless one or more of the warrants described above are satisfied. Based on the above analysis, a traffic signal is not justified at the intersection of Fairview Avenue with Sampson Drive.’ Because the township’s consultant deemed a traffic signal was not warranted, there has been no application to the county.
“As always, our Public Works Department works cooperatively with our municipal partners and, when a course of action is determined, we will be ready to assist the township and school board.”
MyVeronaNJ, which had called and emailed Essex County prior to publishing its November 18 story on the traffic light, contacted the Board of Education about the county’s statement. BOE President John Quattrocchi said today that when the BOE went over the report, it was not aware that the document had not gone to the county. “The fact that it never went to the county was alien to us,” said Quattrocchi, noting that BOE was under the impression that because Fairview is a county road, the study had been done by the county. “That conclusion was wrong,” he added. On the night that the BOE reviewed the report, a school staffer had narrowly escaped serious injury when his car was sideswiped on Fairview in a hit and run. A staff car was also sideswiped in October 2014, the superintendent’s car was totaled that same month and a student’s car was t-boned as he turned from Franklin Street towards VHS.
Interim Township Manager Mitchell Stern confirmed that Verona had commissioned the traffic study, which was conducted between October 9 and 23, because he and Police Chief Doug Huber felt that a study done this past spring did not reflect the traffic volume that happens at Sampson and Fairview in the fall. It was the October report that the BOE reviewed at its November 10 meeting.
Stern said by email that he has spoken with Klein Traffic Consulting again to “review some concerns that I had with the report”. He did not elaborate on those concerns. He also said that he and Chief Huber, who retires from his position today, also met with county engineering officials to discuss other options to improve traffic safety at the intersection. As a result, both the Verona Police Department and the county are stepping up enforcement of the 25 mph school zone speed and more signs are being installed to alert drivers.
Verona was also asked to consider banning left turns from Sampson onto Fairview, as well as lefts from the school loop. But that doesn’t seem to be a viable option because it would likely divert traffic down Durrell Street that would turn right on Grove Avenue and increase traffic in front of F.N. Brown elementary school. Traffic on Fairview is also likely to rise once developer K. Hovnanian completes construction of the 460 townhouses planned for the site of the former Essex County Hospital Center, which is just north of Verona Pool.
In the meantime I have to suggest that the people who park on Fairview in front of the school exercise caution when they do so. During late summer I witnessed a VHS teacher take her 2 children out of the passenger side doors, put one in a stroller , then leave them both directly behind the car – IN THE STREET – while she returned to get something from the driver side door. Maybe a better idea would be to park elsewhere and walk a little of the way to the school. We all know that area is just one of an accident waiting to happen.
TO HELP LIGHTEN UP THE BOTTLENECK AT SAMSON & FAIRVIEW, IS TO RESTRICT / REDUCE PARKING ON FAIRVIEW ALONG WITH SENIORS NOT TO BRING THEIR CARS. AND OR ONLY HAVE A SPLIT SYSTEM / LOTTERY WHEREAS 1/2 BRING THE 1ST SEMESTER ETC.
WE DON’T NEED MORE LIGHTS, WE NEED LESS TRAFFIC AND MORE COMMON SENSE.
CLASS OF “66”