Mahwah March 4, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 7 Council plans to install stop signs on McIntosh Drive by Frank J. McMahon The Mahwah Township Council has introduced an ordinance that would authorize the installation of three-way stop signs at the intersection on McIntosh Drive and May Court. McIntosh Drive is located in the northeast section of the township and connects Airmont Avenue and, by way of Shuart Road, East Crescent Avenue which extends into Rockland County in New York State. The stop signs are planned for an area of Mahwah that had been the focal point of residents’ complaints about speeding several years ago. Before the ordinance was introduced, Mahwah Township Engineer Michael Kelly advised that a new state statute gives municipalities more authority to install stop signs without the approval of the New Jersey Department of Transportation and he said the township can, therefore, now pass an ordinance to authorize these stop signs without NJDOT approval. Councilman Samuel Alderisio opposed the introduction of the ordinance because he claims that if police issue summonses for violations of the stop signs, which are in the middle of a through street, they could not be enforced. But Council President John DaPuzzo said if the stop signs slow down 90 percent of the traffic on McIntosh Drive they “will have done their job.” He pointed out that many towns have stop signs that cannot be enforced, and said this ordinance is an effort to stop the speeding problem without installing speed humps. Councilman Allan Kidd agreed, saying, “I think it’s a great idea. It will make that intersection safer, and we won’t have to install speed humps that would impact emergency vehicles.” The ordinance acknowledges the concerns of township residents about vehicles traveling on McIntosh Drive where there are limited sight distances in certain sections due to the nature of the curves of that road. It also claims the stop signs would benefit pedestrians and motorists on that road and minimize the risk of damage to persons and property. In 2006, the council discussed various methods of calming traffic on McIntosh Drive including devices such as speed humps, which consist of two six-foot ramps with a six-foot flat area on top that is sometimes used as a crosswalk. Police Chief James Batelli voiced the opinion at the time that the devices would calm traffic if they were implemented under an accepted program. But the council eventually decided against the speed humps based on the concern of the township’s emergency service personnel that the traffic calming devices would impede their ability to get to an emergency in this area. The council also claimed the speed humps might cause accidents, and residents on other streets in the township might want the devices installed on their streets. The council also considered closing Shuart Road, the short street that connects East Crescent Avenue to McIntosh Drive, to all but emergency services vehicles in order to block the many New York motorists who residents say use that road. The governing body also considered prohibiting left turns onto East Crescent Avenue to discourage New York motorists from using McIntosh Drive to get to New York. But that ordinance was abandoned in favor of the possibility of limiting right and left turns onto Shuart Road from East Crescent Avenue during rush hours. In May 2007, the council adopted an ordinance by a 43 vote that prohibited vehicles traveling south along East Crescent Avenue from making right turns onto Shuart Road, and vehicles traveling east along Shuart Road from making left turns onto East Crescent Avenue, during certain hours of the day. The ordinance, which still remains in effect, prohibits motorists traveling south on East Crescent Avenue from turning right onto Shuart Road between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., and motorists traveling east on Shuart Road from turning left onto East Crescent Avenue between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The narrow vote was apparently motivated by the strong opposition that had been previously voiced by residents in the northwestern section of the township to a proposed ordinance that would have prohibited left turns onto Brook Street and Catherine Avenue from Ramapo Valley Road. Chief Batelli and Lieutenat Robert Sinnaeve, the township’s traffic safety supervisor, ended up in a dispute with the council in 2007 over that ordinance, because, in a letter to the council, Sinnaeve said the council did not accept his recommendations and those of the police chief to address the speeding complaints in the McIntosh Drive area, including ongoing enforcement activities and traffic control devices. Mayor Richard Martel and some council members said the lieutenant’s criticism of the council for not accepting the chief’s recommendations was not justified. NOTICE TO ALL MAHWAH RESIDENTS are associated with the proposed expansion of the Pilot Truck Stop located on Rte. 17 across the Street from the Mahwah High School TRAFFIC AND SAFETY CONCERNS