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."