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POLL: Should Little Silver's New Municipal Lot Exit onto Prospect Avenue?

Neighbors say it will create more traffic hazards in an already dangerous area of town.

Prospect Avenue neighbors came out again to a Borough Council meeting to express their concerns about potential safety issues posed by the driveway to a new expanded municipal lot feeding onto their street.

The group of five neighbors came out to share their concerns with officials at the April 2 meeting, which included a public hearing for the rezoning of the lot where the expanded parking will be located next to borough hall. that includes construction of a structure to house restrooms, a concession stand and police storage close to borough playing fields.

"This is just multiplying how dangerous this is," said Ryan Holmgren who lives on Prospect Avenue.

Warren Wolf, who also lives on Prospect Avenue, asked the council to consider hiring an outside traffic expert to perform a study rather than relying solely on borough police and engineers to make the decision.

The borough will organize a meeting between concerned residents, officials, police and borough engineer to try to modify the existing plan before the parking lot portion of the project goes out to bid.

A representative from the group met with borough officials last Friday to discuss incorporating some to improve safety and aesthetics for the borough lot.

According to Councilman Dan O'Hern, who attended that meeting, the borough's police chief and engineer felt that closing the parking lot off and feeding traffic out through existing exits by Wells Fargo and onto Markham Place would "create more safety hazards."

On Monday, the group of neighbors expressed concerns about adding another active exit onto the already busy downtown thoroughfare and also worried that they would have even less input in the planning once the lot was rezoned.

The lot needed to be rezoned from residential, single-family home use to municipal, said Councilman Donald Galante, because the buiding at 466 Prospect Ave. had been owned by the borough for about six years. The existing building will be demolished to make way for the expanded parking lot.

Mayor Robert Neff, Jr. assured the group that its voice will continue to be heard. "You've already changed this plan," he said of the modificaitons made to the parking lot. "Don't feel that if this ordinance passes tonight we're shutting you out."

Michael Fissell April 04, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Another entrance this close to the juncture of Prospect Avenue, Church Street and the egress from Borough Hall/Wells Fargo would exacerbated an already bad situation. Yet another entrance directly opposite from the parking lot for the stores across the street, i.e., Grandma's Bagels, Little Szechuan Restaurant, etc., (which is very active itself, not to mention the parking spaces in front of these establishments), would cause even more vehicular mayhem at a very dangerous intersection. Many times I have had to avoid people trying to parallel park in the spaces in front of these stores. Would I now have to avoid people turning right on to Prospect from the new parking lot while avoiding the person parallel parking? There has to be a better solution than what has been proposed.
Gerri Daneman April 04, 2012 at 12:17 PM
While I think our town implementing a plan adding a concession stand,bathrooms and more parking by our athletic field at Markham Place is utimately a positive for our town the pending hazardous condition of traffic along Prospect Ave is NOT. I have lived in Little Silver over 15 years and have watched my own and the towns children walk,skateboard and ride their bikes to Grandma's Bagels and Gianni's Pizza and other establishments in town.My fear ,as a mother is the protection of our children from impatient and rushed drivers while crossing the streets and dealing with hazardous traffic conditions . We live in a great community with fabulous schools and a good life for our children and citizens. It seems a bit troublesome that both the Chief of Police and the engineer have projected this project to be adding to an already hazardous intersection. My belief is that the project should be put on hold until a traffic pattern can be established to protect the children/patrons/citizens of Little Silver who many times have trouble crossing the street because there are cars coming from FOUR different directions.

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