Mahwah May 6, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 5 Township considers new ordinance to close Olney Road by Frank J. McMahon The Mahwah Township Council plans to introduce an ordinance similar to the one it previously adopted to close Olney Road to through traffic, but which was invalidated by Superior Court Judge Jonathan N. Harris in September 2008. Located in the northeast section of the township, Olney Road is bordered by Miller Road to the south and Stephens Lane to the north. The council recently voted 6-1 to move forward with an ordinance to close Olney Road based on a traffic engineer’s analysis of that road at a peak period, and his recommendation to limit through traffic using a barrier system such as the one that was used when the road was previously closed. Judd Rocciola, the traffic engineer, described Olney as a residential access road with various widths ranging from 30 feet at its northern end to 16 feet at its narrowest section. He said the street is “very residential with a history of not being a through street,” and he referred to a 2004 police report that found that 15 percent of the traffic on that road exceeded the 25 mile per hour speed limit, with some traveling 36 to 40 mph. Rocciola said he performed a traffic count on that road on a Thursday morning in March between 7 and 9 a.m., and found 44 cars using the road for through traffic with 32 of them traveling from Stephens Lane to Miller Road. Of those cars, he observed that 12 traveled north originating at Miller Road and four of them were local vehicles that would have to take a different route if a barrier existed. Rocciola said his analysis showed that the vehicles using Olney Road are not neighborhood residential vehicles that would be accessing residences nearby. “There are convenient alternate routes for the displaced through traffic,” Rocciola said, explaining that the maximum distance some rerouted motorists would need to make entails using Franklin Turnpike and then proceeding to Miller Road and making a left turn at that traffic light to proceed up the hill on Miller Road, adding a half mile to the trip, which he described as “not significant.” Rocciola pointed out that prohibiting through traffic on Olney Road would also affect commercial vehicle use for which the same alternate route would be available. He said he felt it was prudent to readopt the ordinance and to enforce it using the emergency vehicle traffic controls previously recommended by the township’s police chief in order to maintain the residential neighborhood and to provide safety for the residents who live there without an undue hardship on other motorists. “It is my opinion that Olney Road should not remain a through street and that limiting through traffic to emergency, public utility, and municipal vehicles is appropriate,” Rocciola told the council. He recommended, however, that the township attorney should contact the New Jersey Department of Transportation to make sure that its previous approval to close the road still stands. Councilman John Roth asked Rocciola how he knew there would be minimal impact on the residents of the street. The engineer responded that he saw the residents travel south of the narrow section of the road. He said he did not think that had a big impact on them because they had dealt with that road being a dead end for years before the Cherry Ridge housing development on Stephens Lane was built in the late 1990s. Councilman Allan Kidd, who voted against reintroducing the ordinance, expressed concern that the council was moving forward with the ordinance without reading the written opinion of Judge Harris. According to Kidd, Harris described the township’s previous ordinance as arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory. Asked by Kidd if it was appropriate to close that road based on a two hour traffic count on a Thursday morning, Rocciola said it was, because of the narrowness of the road. The engineer added that, if the council did not want to close the road, he would recommend widening it in that narrow section. Ronald Cabezas, the Stephens Lane resident who brought the lawsuit against the township that resulted in the reopening of the road, said he would sue the township again if the road were reclosed. “Apparently they don’t care how much of the taxpayers’ (continued on page 18) ��� Women’s Sandals ���������������������������� ��������������� ������������ �������������������������������������������������� ����������������� ������ ���� St. Paul Interparochial School CARNIVAL May 13-17, 2009 187 Wyckoff Ave., Ramsey NJ Wednesday 6:00-10:00 PM Thursday 6:00-10:00 PM (Bracelet Night $25.00 unlimited rides) Friday 6:00-1 1:00 PM Saturday 3:00-1 1:00 PM (Early Bird Bracelet, $25.00, 3:00-7:00 pm, unlimited rides) Sunday 2:00-7:00 PM (Bracelet Day, $25.00, unlimited rides) Advance ticket sales available at St. Paul School and after all weekend masses. 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