Lenox Avenue area residents in South Orange and Maplewood have responded vociferously and angrily over a potential plan to re-route traffic from Lenox Avenue onto Lenox Place, Lenox Terrace, Thornden Street and Cedar Lane, questioning the provenance of the group putting the proposal forward.
After Village Green posted a story yesterday, reporting on public comments at the Monday, August 8, South Orange Village Board of Trustees meeting, residents quickly took to Facebook to express their unhappiness with the proposal, the process — and our reporting.
“This article makes it sound like the village conducted a study! The proposal on the table is a non-scientific attempt by a group of residents hoping to route traffic off their street — to the detriment of their neighbors’ safety. Hopefully the Village of South Orange will do its own study in regard to safe and feasible options for the area in question,” wrote one resident.
“This article is not representative of what has really happened!! A few individuals proposed something, won’t provide any data or information behind it, and is making it seem like others in the neighborhood don’t care about safety. In fact the proposal would push traffic into streets with no sidewalks, streets where people purchased homes because they are not thru streets, and would make emergency vehicle access difficult if not impossible!” wrote another resident.
As reported previously, more than 100 local residents have signed a petition opposing any plan to re-route traffic from Lenox Avenue, citing the narrowness of the streets, the number of children playing there, traffic and safety concerns, and more (see the petition below).
Although Village Green posted the petition in full yesterday, posters said the group presenting the results of a study on August 10 (7:30 p.m. at The Baird) had not been fully explained or correctly characterized.
They were right.
Ron Charles who has been leading the group of three residents studying the issue of traffic safety on Ridgewood Road wrote to Village Green today: “[T]he meeting is hosted by SOTAC [South Orange Transportation Advisory Committee], but the study is not an official SOTAC presentation, nor done by sitting members of its resident volunteer committee. My group has used SOTAC for their guidance, but the presentation is an independent study done by residents who are not on the official SOTAC committee.”
Trustee Jeff Dubowy, who acts as liaison to SOTAC, further explained: “Ron’s resident volunteer group first presented to Public Safety, as the study evolved they took their findings to SOTAC for further guidance. No one in their group is an official member of either committee. SOTAC is just hosting the forum. Mr. Peterson, the chair, is a Transportation and Traffic professional.”
“Neither committee has taken an official stance on this matter yet,” added Dubowy.
Whether the study and presentation tonight are sanctioned by the town officials or not, many area residents are upset about the proposal and the process and are expressing their views on social media, saying the process has lacked of transparency and citing the small size of the volunteer group leading the meeting.
“Why is this important meeting taking place in the middle of August when people are away? I wish I could attend and show my opposition to this dangerous rerouting,” wrote one resident.
“These individuals are clearly acting in their own self interest yet trying to portray the rest of us as somehow in the wrong. We want the town to have a comprehensive approach to safety, and not to agree to re-route traffic because 3 people suggested it,” wrote another.
Others asked why other solutions such as signs measuring motorists’ speeds on Ridgewood and Wyoming or speed bumps on Lenox Avenue had not be put forward before proposing to re-route traffic to other streets.
“And, they have only done a study of their traffic issues but have not studied how their proposal would impact the existing problems on other streets,” wrote yet another resident. “I will be there tonight.”
Village Green will continue to follow this story. Please email us at [email protected] with comments, tips and information.