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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."

Dan July 17, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Fair haven is stricter and people drive the limit accordingly - little silver should do the same.
Maximo July 17, 2012 at 11:33 AM
I agree with Dan & Lt. Marks. No need for a stop sign - just enforce the speed limit occasionally like fair haven does. I am shocked about the "hundreds of traffic stops," because they're not happening on Silverton or Woodbine.
Monmouth Resident July 17, 2012 at 11:49 AM
I use Silverton all the time as a 'short cut', and will continue to do so. But I always stick with the speed limit knowing that kids can run out at anytime...Pretty much knew that more people would start using this street with the extra build up of traffic though. Maybe one of those radars that flash your speed could help remind and show people how fast they are actually driving?
See Ted Run ! July 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM
As Ronald Reagan used to say in his speech in Germany "Tear down the Berlin Wall", I say "Tear down the traffic light at the Branch/Rumson intersection". We were perfectly fine before the traffic lights was installed. Unfortunately with the new traffic lights, drivers are going to continue using Woodbine or Silverton to avoid the backup traffic. I have a terrible time getting to my driveway these days on Branch Ave from the south and my only option is to turnaround using Silverton/Woodbine in order to get to my driveway. I hate it more than ever !!! Listen - TEAR DOWN THE TRAFFIC LIGHTS !!!! These happy traffic light engineers are compounding the problems for us.
Dentss Dunnagun July 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I have friends on Woodbine ,and that street is like a speedway besides it's a little narrower that silverton and it's difficult to have 2 cars going in opposite directions if cars are parked on both sides .But I do see police sit there and catch speeders ...these streets are both loaded with kids lets keep our next generation safe !
Lisa Walsh July 17, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I just want to clarify something regarding my effort to put a stop sign up on Silverton Ave. I had worked on this four or five years ago but the town denied our request. Since then, I have stepped back, but other Silverton Avenue residents have continued to voice their concerns regarding the volume and speed issues that exist. Maybe a stop sign is not the solution, but the point is that we need work together to find a solution to make Silverton Avenue a safe place to raise our children.
Amy Byrnes (Editor) July 17, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Lisa: Thanks for the clarification.
rod July 17, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Silverton and Woodbine aren't the only problems. Willow Drive, Seven Bridges(pre-construction), and Branch might as well be the Garden State Parkway.
Jenny Mulholland July 17, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I believe I saw someone getting pulled over this morning on Silverton at the end near Branch, and was grateful for the police attention to this matter! Please do not speed on Silverton, and tell your teens as well.
Mary July 17, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I "try" to walk my dogs every morning, and walking where there are no sidewalks is literally scary some mornings. People rushing to the train station, now trying to avoid the new lights, it's ridiculous. I understand the police can not be everywhere, but start giving out tickets even if they are only going 34 in a 25. Monmouth Beach is another great example -you just don't speed there because you are VERY likely to get a ticket -they have set the stage. The highest speed Lt. Frank refers to on Prospect was only 34 because everyone saw the police SUV on the sidewalk and slowed down. I think I'm getting high blood pressure from watching all of the cars fly by my dogs and me, so now I've started to yell at them to slow down. ...not very lady like :)
Power By Sunday Resident July 17, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Park your cars on the streets during rush hour, this only allows one car to get through at a time. I have experienced this recently on Silverton. I will park my car on the street and make sure there is another one across from. Call it Silverton Park Project
Carrie Stiles July 17, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Thanks for the clarification, Lisa. I realize the police department has limited resources, and know they are doing all they can - especially with the recent increase in traffic through our town. Hopefully a solution can be found soon to make the streets a little safer.
Dede July 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I lived on Cross Street from 1997 to 2003 and there was a cut through problem then, not just with cars but with trucks making deliveries to downtown, in order to avoid the blinker at Branch and Rumson. I now live on Azalea and I regularly drive on both Woodbine and Silverton but I am always mindful of the speed limit, kids and cars. I personally think that the lights have improved the flow of traffic on Rumson, Branch and White roads. I have only been backed up going south on Branch once.
Dentss Dunnagun July 17, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Absolutely a great idea stagger the cars ,you slow traffic down enough and car won't bother to "cut-through ...but it does take a concerted effort on all residents part ,if you have two block long cars parked on both sides ,they have no choice but to slow down or take another route
Susan July 17, 2012 at 08:36 PM
As an Oceanport resident with many 25 mph zones, I only use Silverton occastionally. I make sure to drive extra slow, with narrow roads and kids playing. Plus, I would never want someone I know to catch me speeding (or get a ticket for that matter, I think at least 3 OP residents are LS policemen!)
Jenny Mulholland July 18, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Have to say I am incredibly impressed with how LSPD has responded and sent out more patrols today. Noone on Silverton is looking to hassle residents with tickets, we just want awareness to the issue. Drive Like Your Kids Live Here! That is my motto.
Beth July 18, 2012 at 02:07 PM
They are out again today, which is how they should be all the time. The sad fact of the matter is that Silverton is just one of the many streets where people drive too fast. Prospect is also out of control...speeders, a blind hill, and no sidewalks create a very unsafe environment for runners, walkers, and most importantly for young kids walking home from school. Hopefully some more police presence will help send the right message to all drivers to slow down in our town.
Bob July 18, 2012 at 03:52 PM
You know why people drive slowly down Patterson Ave (road connecting 35 and Shrewsbury ave) in Shrewsbury? Police presence. Just saying. Unfortunately, the community is full of speeders and cell phone/texting distractions....every where. Tickets and huge fines do work...
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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