Morristown starts $300K traffic study, Nov. 14

A new study will aim to tame Morristown traffic. Image: Morristown Making Moves
A new study will aim to tame Morristown traffic. Image: Morristown Making Moves
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A new study will aim to tame Morristown traffic. Image: Morristown Making Moves
A study will aim to tame Morristown traffic. Image: Morristown Making Moves

Editor’s note: This report has been updated to add information from council members.

By Kevin Coughlin

Everyone complains about traffic in Morristown.

On Monday, the town intends to start doing something about it.

Officials will meet with members of Arup, an international consulting and design firm that is launching a 10-month traffic study. The council approved the $300,000 project by a 6-0 vote on Thursday.

“It’s a real opportunity,” said Mayor Tim Dougherty. Arup won’t just pinpoint problems; it will propose solutions, he said.

“It’s about design, and understanding how traffic flows, where it comes from, where it’s going… This will benefit the town for decades.”

The study will aim to improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility as well as vehicular traffic, Dougherty said. Arup was chosen from six firms that submitted proposals.

Established in 1946, London-based Arup caught the world’s attention with its structural design of the Sydney Opera House.

JetBlue Terminal 5. Photo: Arup.
JetBlue Terminal 5. Photo: Arup.

Recent projects include the initial phase of the new Second Avenue Subway, the Fulton Street Transit Center, and JetBlue Airway’s Terminal 5 at JFK Airport.

Techniquest of Monmouth Junction will collect data for Arup in Morristown and GPI of Babylon, NY, will analyze it.

The study will take cues from Morristown Moving Forward, an exercise that gathered public suggestions for the 2014 update of the town’s zoning master plan.  A comprehensive look at traffic was a key recommendation of that effort.

Arup goals will include relieving congestion at major corridors and intersections, making the town safer and more welcoming for pedestrians, and determining how these concerns should influence future development decisions.

But is it too late?  A hotel, three big apartment buildings and a triangular law office are in the planning or construction stages in Morristown, which has experienced significant growth over the last decade.

The Mayor attributes some of the traffic to state and county roads that crisscross the town; it makes sense to seek ways to improve this flow, he said. But traffic isn’t all bad, in his opinion.

On a Friday night, when the 1,300-seat Mayo Performing Arts Center has a show, and commuters are coming home to their new apartments, and visitors are flocking to downtown restaurants, “you’re going to have traffic,” Dougherty said.

“It’s a good problem to have, compared to so many communities in the state, and we can work with it,” he said.

By providing a blueprint for planners to create “shovel-ready” projects–projects that satisfy traffic requirements and address other concerns up front–this study should help the town secure millions of dollars in state and federal grants, said Council President Stefan Armington.

Pedestrian mobility will be part of a new study. Image: Morristown Making Moves.
Pedestrian mobility will be part of a new study. Image: Morristown Making Moves.

Eight Morristown traffic areas are scheduled for scrutiny: The historic Morristown Green; the transit district near the train station; Morris, South and Spring streets; and Speedwell, Lafayette and Ridgedale avenues.

Councilwoman Alison Deeb asked that Washington Street and the Maple Avenue/DeHart Street corridor be studied as well.

Traffic will be counted at 30 locations. Data will include the number of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists; turning movements; and origins and destinations of travelers, according to Thursday’s presentation to the council,  dubbed Morristown Making Moves.

Researchers will look for patterns, safety hazards, designs and functionality of intersections, and transit usage and ways to improve access.

And they will explore solutions including redesigned roads and intersections, tweaks to traffic regulations and parking, and new traffic signals.

All this is expected to culminate in conceptual designs for seven of the study locations (Ridgedale Avenue is excluded), along with estimates for these various remedies, including property acquisition, environmental and construction costs.

morristown traffic study

 

 

 

 

 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Who follows up on these kinds of things?
    Over 3 years has passed, $300k in taxpayers money and still no tangible report or results. Someone made off with alot of money cus everything the Mayor paid this firm to gather (number of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists; turning movements; and origins and destinations of travelers) all that data, already exists, and is available to the public, at no cost.

    Check out:
    -NJDOT TMS Station Map reports. (Volume)
    -Complete Streets Case Study of Morristown
    that town leaders participated in developing, that addresses Ped and Bike safety and areas for improvement.)
    -NJTPA’S Daily Traffic Street Map

    And numerous other websites, apps, reports and organizations that are dedicated to, obligated to or paid to…collect, analyze and/or provide all the information the Mayor paid Arup $300k for. Where the data lacks, is in suggestions for improvement taking into account future town development initiatives.

    But to date…No results. No report. No study. No suggestions. No answers.

    ADDITIONALLY, The town paid Topology $100k (in the same year they paid Arups $300k)…to do the EXACT SAME THING. Another traffic study. This time dubbed “town wide mobility study”.

    Where are those results Mayor? Phil? How did that $100k get spent? Can we see the accounting records for that $100k Phil? Mayor? Frank Mason? SERIOUSLY CAN WE?

    To date, $400k has been spent on traffic studies dating back to 2016 and there’s not one tangible report that we can hold in our hands, read and digest???

    Stefan Armington stated “this study should help the town secure millions of dollars in state and federal grants” in regards to Arups study.

    Is it possible the study results were not in the towns favor, as they had hoped? Possibly burrying it so they can still have a go at securing $$$MILLIONS$$$ of state and federal grant dollars?

    I guess we’ll never know… The town officials dont have to answer our questions, hear our cries, fulfill our OPRA requests or respond to our comments in an appropriate manner or forum. They write their own rules, have their own code of ethics and do as they please. Disgraceful and corrupt.

  2. Instead of wasting taxpayers money fighting Iron Bar s new Revolution restaurants closing hour put that money to something positive. These politicians can’t help themselves spend spend spend.

  3. Hope it looks to slowing the traffic coming off 287 at Madison Ave/South Street. Many drivers go through the light at a high speed causing havoc with pedestrians trying to cross even at the crosswalk or with the help of the police officer at Kings. Maybe reducing the lanes to one each way instead of the two each way that currently exists would help.

  4. Sorry, meant to say angry drivers almost running them down as they cross the street. Meant Town and not twon, Heir was intended to read their. Every and not eery was another typo. To bad I can’t correct my mistakes before I post .

  5. Long overdue. Bustling Twons soon die when neither drivers or pedestrians can get there. Tenants get to change their mind eery year and can easily decide to move elsewhere, especially when the rents are high and there’s a glut of available apartments. Families want to raise heir children in a safe environment where they can walk to activities without angry.

    How come other NJ towns have banned tractor trailers from many of their streets and yet those huge trucks continue to congest and clog our local streets and drive through our residential neighborhood?

  6. There is NO way the tax payers of Morristown should have to foot the bill for a $300,000 traffic study!
    The developers putting 500 more units on Early St should chip in on that. Were bids taken for this traffic study? Somebody is making off with the tax payers money. Sad.

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