Silverton Ave. Parents Worried About Increased Traffic

With almost 50 kids younger than 13 living on the street, a group of concerned Little Silver parents are worried about extra cars zipping down their road looking to avoid the new traffic lights.

Probably within the last decade, Silverton Avenue has morphed into a haven for young families whose children play along the small front yards that line the increasingly busy side street. An informal census counts about 47 kids younger than 13 living on the street that stretches between Branch and Prospect avenues.

But since temporary residents on the street have become concerned by all the vehicles cutting down Silverton to avoid sitting in backed up traffic.

"This was a problem five years ago, and it's even worse now," says mom Lisa Walsh, who has spent the last five years working to get stop signs installed along Silverton Avenue at Cross Street to create a four-way-stop intersection.

Patch met with a group of parents on Monday morning — who came pulling little ones in wagons or carrying Crocs-clad toddlers — who spoke of their concerns about what they perceive to be an increase in vehicles speeding down their street.

"Police need to focus on this," said Carrie Stiles.

She and some of the other eight parents who came out wondered if Little Silver police were doing enough ticketing in the area and enforcing the 25 mph speed limit as strictly as they felt Fair Haven police do.

But according to Little Silver Police Lt. Robert Frank, the department has "beefed up" traffic enforcement with the addition of the lights and the new Seven Bridges detour routes this summer.

Chief Dan Shaffery pulled up the July traffic enforcement report on his computer and scrolled down what looked to be hundreds of traffic stops made by his officers this month.

"It's hard to be there 24/7," says Shaffery, adding that his officers have 65 miles of road to patrol. "But would I like to put a cop on every corner?" he asks. "Of course."

"But to say we're not out there," says Shaffery, "is just not true."

Frank says the problem boils down to a "volume issue." There's definitely increased traffic down the borough's side streets but vehicles are not necessarily speeding. He said as an example, he sat and monitored the sound end of Prospect last week and clocked the highest speed at 34 mph.

Frank adds that an extra stop sign along Silverton wouldn't do anything to slow down traffic and in some instances, might cause drivers to speed up as they accelerate after their stop to get to the end of the street.

As for whether Little Silver police make it a policy not to ticket residents, as some of the Silverton parents wondered earlier, Frank says, "Officers have discretion."

He says, in many cases, he'd rather see residents educated about traffic laws in town before his officers need to enforce through a summons.

"We're people, too. We're not machines," Shaffery says. "It's a little bit different than a big city. We're a part of the community."

Both officers admit that the next eight months while the detour is in place will be challenging, especially when schools open in September.

"Is it a perfect situation? No," says Shaffery. "But it's a work in progress."

Sour grapes July 18, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Hmm .....young children on increasingly busy streets! Branch Ave has changed from a busy intersection to a major thorough fair since the lights have been installed. We have traffic idling between white and rumson all day long. Looking on the bright side our new view of the don't walk sign countdown is a creative new way to teach our son his numbers. The lights have increased cars speeding into our culdesac that has lots of kids playing and riding bikes. Our corner sidewalk seems to be mistaken for a passing lane while courteous drivers are ever ready to honk their horns. All of this gives us a real home town vibe. Let's hope in the end of the "temporary" light installation our mayor will see the negative effect that permanent lights will have on the families in our community and do the right thing!
Power By Sunday Resident July 18, 2012 at 08:04 PM
wahh................the volume of cars has increased and will continue to increase, thats life;Welcome to 2012 , cant wait to see who's wining in 2152 about space travel through town....
Roy Zitzman July 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM
from roy z. all of us in town have to deal with the traffic problem . the police dept is doing a great job . the closing of 7 bridges road effects all of us not just a few. keep up the good work police dept.
HAK July 24, 2012 at 10:50 AM
There never used to be grid lock but it now exists at times on Branch Avenue, often going from Rumson, past Winfield all the way to Markham. Also there now seems to be an incredible lack of driving courtesy when people are trying to turn off of Branch into driveways or other roads. It is all about making that upcoming traffic light. The county engineers have not responded as they promised they would to the residents. I hope that tickets continue to be issued to people that are speeding, running lights, etc. As for the person who said we are whining, try spending some time in my neighborhood of Winfield drive where 21 children live and you might get the idea about why we are upset about these "temporary" lights!
Don August 01, 2012 at 07:10 PM
At first I thought the traffic light on Branch may actually help but I believe it's been a disaster. Now I'm not sure if perhaps the closing of the Seven Bridges has something to do with it. I do believe the lights should go back to a blinking light. I happen to live on Prospect Ave almost directly across Silverton Ave and have seen a Police Officer there many hours at a time watching for speeders. Nice to see this. For being a small town, Little Silver has all of a sudden turned into a massive traffic jam.


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