Residents tell council Morristown is ‘free for all’ for speeders; mayor wants public safety director

Morristown resident Joe Nosofsky asks council for traffic relief, April 24, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown resident Joe Nosofsky asks council for traffic relief, April 24, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Speeders ignoring pedestrians in crosswalks.  Speeders heading the wrong way on one-way streets.  Speeders on Halloween.

“It’s a free-for-all,” Morris Avenue resident Kim Doherty told the Morristown council on Tuesday.

More than a dozen citizens pleaded with town officials to do something–anything–to slow traffic buzzing through their neighborhoods. Some said they’ve been pleading for years.

“It’s infuriating,” said Joe Nosofsky of Washington Avenue. “It’s not rocket science.”

His neighbor, Rob Lahoda, said he gets tailgated when he obeys the speed limit. “There’s going to be a road rage incident,” he warned.

Traffic roars off Route 287 so fast onto Morris Avenue, posted at 25 mph, that the mailman cannot cross the street, said Brock Mandura.  Others complained of pets getting hit there. Christopher Wilson said so many motorists go the wrong way on the one-way avenue that his dog recognizes the sound and barks at it.

Across town, drivers purposely race the wrong way on Farragut Place, cutting through to Colles and Mount Kemble avenues, said Trish Grushkin. She won’t let her children cross Macculloch Avenue; by her estimate, only half of motorists bother stopping for crosswalks.

PUBLIC SAFETY DIRECTOR?

Residents asked for traffic signs, speed bumps and, especially, speed traps.

Councilwoman Alison Deeb makes a point, as Councilman Robert Iannaccone listens, April 24, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Councilwoman Alison Deeb makes a point, as Councilman Robert Iannaccone listens, April 24, 2018. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Councilman Michael Elms suggested Morristown should borrow a tactic from Morris Township police, parking old patrol cars near busy streets as a deterrent.

Councilwoman Alison Deeb asked for data about the effectiveness of traffic calming measures already in place.

Mayor Tim Dougherty reminded the audience that Washington Avenue residents were divided the last time the town tried addressing the problem.

Some didn’t want speed humps; “bump-outs” were installed instead, with limited results, according to residents.

Citing a study last year that found a large percentage of Morristown traffic is just passing through, the Mayor said a regional approach is needed.

He agreed with residents that police enforcement works best–and he proposed hiring a public safety director to coordinate police, fire and emergency management operations.

“Enforcement is the easiest thing in the world to do. But I can’t dictate to the Morristown police department when they enforce, where they enforce, and how much they enforce,” Dougherty said.

“But I can work with somebody who oversees the public safety realm of the community, and they can deal with the police department and program it when it can be done,” he said, calling for systematic speeding enforcement that integrates new technology.

He promised answers in a month. “This hasn’t fallen on deaf ears,” Dougherty said.

While advocating for tougher enforcement, Councilman Robert Iannaccone cautioned that residents should be careful what they wish for; they could get tagged in a ticketing blitz.

“Maybe it’s our fault,” he said of the speeding. “We don’t want to be the town with a reputation for a lot of tickets.”

That would suit Trish Grushkin just fine.

“I’d be completely happy to be the town that gives tickets,” she said.

 

Video: Can speeding be stopped in Morristown?

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t get across Morristown in less than 20 minutes because traffic is always so dense. Where is anyone finding enough open road to speed at all??

  2. Morristown, formerly referred to as quaint and charming no longer possess’ those qualities. Like NYC, the planners never met a developer they didn’t love. We are now a drive through town, impersonal and uncaring towards the native population. Bring back Woolworths.

  3. As a recent resident of Morristown and a frequent pedestrian, I have noticed there seems to be some confusion as to when it is actually safe for a pedestrian to begin crossing when the walk sign is on. I usually wait to step off the curb into the crosswalk to make sure the cars are going to stop since they immediately leave the intersection as soon as the traffic light turns green. Now, I am told they don’t have to stop for a pedestrian unless they are actually in the crosswalk. That never feels safe to me.

    The two intersections that are troublesome are James Street/South Street and South Street/Elm Street. The traffic doesn’t seem to want to recognize the sign at the top of Elm Street notifying drivers that pedestrians have the right of way when the walk sign is on because the traffic light is green. I’ve had drivers wave their arms at me as if I’m in their way.

    Maybe a delayed traffic light would help at the intersection of James Street/South Street and a larger sign at the top of Elm Street.

    I agree the speeding on South Street is always out of control but especially during commuter hours.

  4. Maybe it’s time to reconsider the Route 24 bypass. The right of way is still there. It would also speed up the Mandhamites commute.

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