Snyder Avenue Intersection Addressed At Council Meeting
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 • 4:36pm
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Concerned business owners from The Knotts Company and Micro-Mark, located on Snyder Avenue, addressed the council at Tuesday night's council meeting regarding the traffic issue at the intersection of Snyder Avenue, Locust Avenue and Hamilton Avenue.
This "terrible intersection" has had 30 serious accidents over the past 5 years, the latest accident occurred a few weeks back involving a new driver and a turned over van. This was the third accident this year. The business owners encouraged the town to do something before there is a fatality at that intersection. "If the township's hands are tied then minimally the town should initiate an engineering study," said the business owner. He showed the council pictures taken from his business window of the over-turned van.
The intersection has congestion in the morning and after school from Hughes School, Columbia Middle School, Wharton Music Center, Gabriele Fitness, Snyder Avenue Park athletic fields and the community pool during the summer. Foot traffic has also increased over the past few years.
Sgt. Robert Deitch spoke to the council agreeing with the businessmen. The police department has received emails and calls regarding this intersection. Minimally an engineering study should be performed. "The police department has made improvements and have exhausted all they can do. It is not working," said Sgt. Deitch. The accidents are occurring because cars either are not stopping at the stop sign or they do not see the cars on Snyder Avenue.
Chief of Police, Mike Mathis stated, "The criteria has changed since last time the county performed an engineering study." The town engineer will obtain the new set of criteria for installing a light, contact the county and an independent engineering contractor and get back to the council.
The second meeting between the groups will be scheduled in the next few weeks. The intention of the next meeting is to define the project and identify what resources are needed to complete the project; including machinery, manpower and grant money. The goal is to get it completed sooner than later.
The Berkeley Heights DPW has been currently investigating individual clean-up projects and physically removing branches and logs from the river. They are being attentive and working well with the residents to clean as much as they can. A resident spoke of his frustration of not having a scheduled time frame for the completion of the job. Hall responded to the resident, explaining this river project is larger than what is governed by Berkeley Heights, it has deep borders involving two counties. "It is challenging, all parties involved want to work collectively and not alienate anyone. The continued dialogue is positive with the common goal to clean and enhance the Passaic River and brooks."
Hall addressed the fact that residents were not happy about losing their bulk pick up. He is asking the engineering department to evaluate what is necessary for regular on-going maintenance to keep the river and brooks clean.
Chief Mathis addressed the council regarding the lack of a written street closing ordinance for neighborhood block parties. He provided sample wording of a town ordinance template for review by Township Attorney, Joseph Sordillo. It is important to have an ordinance in place including a hold harmless for traffic liability. These parties need to be well managed and consideration needs to be made for religious holidays and provide proper ingress and egress to the neighborhood. The neighborhoods having the party have the obligation to be a good neighbor and provide a safe pass for the neighbors not attending the party.
Councilman Ed Delia reported the Environmental Committee received a $20,000 grant for tree removal. Hall added, "A year ago the environmental committee did a study for the health and diversity of the tree canopy in town. They found 100 dead trees in street right-of-ways creating safety hazards. " The committee will assess and determine which trees require immediate attention and removal.
Councilman Ed Delia also discussed that benches in Peppertown Park have become unsafe due to detererioration and were removed. Money was set aside in a Peppertown Park fund from donations and the brick paver fundraiser. He suggested that the town should consider replacing these benches with the money that was set aside in the fund.