Essex County Freeholders Approve Resolution To Reduce Speed Limit on Grove Street To 30 MPH

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During its Wednesday, April 11, 2018, meeting at the Hall of Records, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders in a unanimous vote approved a Resolution consenting to the reduction of the speed limit for the entire length of Grove Street in Montclair. This Resolution coincides with Montclair’s recently adopted Ordinance passed November 13, 2017, reducing the speed limit from 35 mph to 30 mph as recommended by a speed study report.

Grove Street, known as County Route 623, is an urban minor arterial roadway under Essex County jurisdiction. The corridor is primarily residential and is characterized by mixed residential, retail, restaurant, and school uses. The recommendation to reduce the speed limit comes from a speed limit reduction evaluation conducted by the Sam Schwartz Consulting firm of Jersey City, New Jersey. The 2016 evaluation, determined the proposed reduction to 30 mph would “improve the safety of the pedestrians and the vehicular traffic along Grove Street”. As a main thoroughfare in Montclair, Grove Street has known many woes of traffic incidents including the recent fatalities of Maya Moar, a 26-year-old au pair from Holon, Israel, who was struck on Grove Street in February; and Montclair State University Adviser and Montclair resident Mary DeFilippis, who was struck in June of last year. Residents have complained the problems are a combination of speeding, poor lighting on the street, and a lack of means to force drivers to stop.

“The Essex County Board of Freeholders: Front row (L to R): Freeholder Patricia Sebold of Livingston, Lebby C. Jones of Irvington, Freeholder Janine G. Bauer of South Orange, and Freeholder Carlos Pomares of Bloomfield. Back row (L to R) Freeholder President Brendan W. Gill of Montclair, Freeholder Leonard M. Luciano of West Caldwell, Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson of Newark, Freeholder Robert Mercado of Newark, and Freeholder Vice President Wayne L. Richardson of Newark.” Photo: Glen Frieson

The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, led by Freeholder President Brendan W. Gill, also a resident of Montclair, have made a priority of addressing issues with regard to transportation and pedestrian safety. In 2013, President Gill sponsored a Resolution Establishing and Adopting an Essex County Complete Streets Policy. The Complete Streets Policy provides a comprehensive multi-modal network of transportation options to provide safe access for all users. The policy ensures all improvements ruminate the recommendations of Complete Streets first and consider connections for Safe Routes to Schools, Safe Routes to Transit, Transit Villages, trail crossings and areas or population groups with limited transportation options.

“It’s imperative that the safety of Essex County motorists and pedestrians remains a top priority,” stated President Gill. “By reducing the speed limit on one of Montclair’s main thoroughfares, we are taking an important step towards increasing public safety while being mindful of the needs of our communities. I’ve been long committed to common sense measures to increase traffic safety and efficiency, and I look forward to continue working with my Freeholder colleagues to ensure the health and safety of Essex County families.”

Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson stated, “I salute President Gill for his leadership.  Grove Street will be safer for everyone as a result.” 

Additionally, the speed study report cites, research conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicating a combination of engineering, enforcement, and education are most effective in reducing vehicle speeds, not just speed reduction alone. The recommendation for traffic calming measures, including: vertical and horizontal deflections, as well as intersection treatments may be of value in reducing vehicle speeds, as well. Consequently, the Board is encouraged to continue to seek opportunities for transportation improvements in the interests of all citizens, pedestrians and motorists alike; and in doing so; hopefully many lives will be potentially spared.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. i truly hope this also pertains to Elm Street, which funnels cars every rush hour morning and evening, going to and from West Orange and Newark! Elm Street intersects with Bloomfield Ave. On one side is Elm, the other Grove. Tractor Trailer trucks, delivery trucks, cars and motorcycles speed up and down Elm at alarming speeds!

    Are there heavy duty trucks and tractor trailers allowed on Grove…why are they allowed on Elm? I think I know the answers for both of these questions. Elm Street has had a traditionally black population and Grove has not. So, really why would anyone extend the same privileges?

  2. Hey Mark, why don’t you check your facts before making assumptions and blaming everything on race. Trucks are allowed on Grove St and I don’t think you want this speed limit change to also pertain to Elm St since the speed limit there is already 25 MPH

  3. I think the township ignores race when it comes to street issues.

    For instance, Upper Mountain Avenue has a traditionally white population. The township’s speed limit ordinance says a good chunk of it is 30 mph. That doesn’t stop the township from ignoring the ordinance and putting up signs saying the speed limit is 35 mph. Also, there is a prohibition on trucks over 4 tons on Upper Mountain. Just last week a 18 wheeler Shop Rite tractor trailer was making its way down the street. As you likely know, there isn’t a Shop Rite on Upper Mountain nor any commercial establishment that I know of.

    I’ll speculate that when you get your new supermarket at Lackawanna, you can expect a significant increase in 18-wheelers on Elm St.

  4. Mark, I live on Grove (just a few blocks from Elm, but nonetheless) and I assure you that there are plenty of tractor trailers and trucks on the Grove side of Bloomfield Ave! It seems there are fewer as you get into Upper Montclair, but that’s probably more of a function of it being purely residential and not many businesses to connect to/farther away from major road connections; either way I have seen them all up and down Grove.

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