Page 4 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • July 15, 2009 Mahwah Council introduces new ordinance to close Olney Road by Frank J. McMahon The Mahwah Council has introduced a new ordinance that would, if adopted, limit though traffic on Olney Road to vehicles used for emergency, public utility, and municipal purposes. Olney Road extends in a north/south direction between Miller Road and Stephens Lane and proponents of the ordinance to close the road to through traffic claim that it is unsafe because one 15-foot section of the road is too narrow to allow two cars to pass one another. Opponents of the ordinance, including the township’s police chief, claim there have been no safety issues with the road even though it narrows to between 13.7 and 14.7 feet, according to the ordinance. The ordinance was introduced without comment by the council or the public. Council President John DaPuzzo was absent, and Councilman Allan Kidd voted against the introduction. Kidd explained after the meeting that he felt the ordinance would be rejected by a Superior Court judge if it were challenged in court a second time. “The way the ordinance is written it will be rejected again by the judge because it doesn’t provide any additional evidence whatsoever,” Kidd said. He explained that he feels the township still does not have any basis to justify the road closure except for a traffic engineer’s report that was based on a random Thursday morning study for just two hours. Kidd believes the report, which recommends closure, does not provide real tangible evidence and reasons why the closure may be necessary. He predicted that the council would end up spending a lot of taxpayer money to defend this ordinance. The introduction of the ordinance was delayed while the council reviewed the transcript of Judge Jonathan N. Harris’ September 2008 ruling in which he reopened the road to through traffic. In that ruling, Harris said his decision did not prohibit the municipality from reconsidering the ordinance in light of newly developed evidence regarding safety concerns. DaPuzzo feels the council has that evidence in the report from Judd Rocciola, the traffic engineer who conducted the study of Olney Road and recommended closing the road to through traffic, or widening it, which has been estimated to cost between $172,000 and $237,000. The township’s police chief, James Batelli, disagrees with the council’s action and he stated his disagreement in a recent letter to the council in which he pointed out what he called “shortcomings” in Rocciola’s report. Batelli criticized the short period of time during which Rocciola conducted a traffic count on Olney Road, stating that traffic counts are normally conducted for a period of 12 or 24 hours over several days to get a true picture of traffic volume and speed. He also criticized Rocciola for estimating speeds on the road as opposed to recording actual speeds as his department had done in 2004 over a two-day period, which he believes created a more comprehensive and accurate picture of the traffic volume and speeds on that road. Batelli also pointed out that there have been no accidents on Olney Road since it has been reopened and he questioned how Rocciola obtained his estimate of the number of cars traveling on the road during the two-hour study that were driven by residents. Batelli cautioned the council that, if it accepts Rocciola’s report and closes Olney Road, other township roads with similar characteristics might also have to be considered for closing. “While I do not agree with the closing of the roadway,” Batelli wrote, “if we are going to accept Mr. Rocciola’s (continued on page 23) Helpful Hints Helpful Hints from Pete Says... ome “When traveling, make sure you have the following items in the trunk of your car; a powerful flashlight, road flares, a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher” ����������������������� ��������������������������� ��������������������������������������� ���������������� ������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������� ������� ��������� ��� ������������ ��������� ���������������� ACKERMAN’S Music 27 Franklin Tpk, Waldwick Open Sundays 9-3 201-652-5666 Center ����������������� ������������ �������������� ������������������������ ���������������������� ������������ ������������������������������ � ���������������������������������� � ������������������������������� ���������������������������� ������������������������������ ��������������������� � ������������ �������������������������� ��������������� HARDING WINE &��������������������� SPIRIT SPEND YOUR ���������� Our Low Prices will put some “Sizzle” in your summer! ���������������������������� Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, White Zinfandel Liberty Creek or... 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