JACKSON – Several residents want to put the brakes on speeders that present a danger to children in their developments. They voiced their concerns during a recent Township Council meeting.
“I’ve never seen conditions that were ever as bad as they are now. It isn’t the school buses from Jackson, it is the school buses from Lakewood,” said Michael Maloney, a Meadowbrook Road resident for over 23 years and the president of the development.
“What is going on is that I live in a cul-de-sac that has 74 homes and these school buses from Lakewood are stopping at the corner of Hyson Road and Norwalk Avenue by Meadowood Road. They are dropping the kids off at that corner The speed limit is 45 miles per hour and Hyson, which is downward run…no one is doing that,” Maloney explained.
“They are all doing 50 to 60 miles per hour and then turning into the cul-de-sac but when you turn into that it is a runway for about 300 yards and school buses are coming in at a higher rate of speed than posted. It is posted at 25 miles per hour but there is a tree blocking the sign. You can’t even see it. The speed limit sign is not posted where anyone can see it,” Maloney said. “When I moved there it was all young people but now, they are all grown and now we have 20 new homes and each one has three or four kids and when they come off these school buses, they don’t even know which way to turn.
“Then I watch the Lakewood school buses come into the cul-de-sac and their parents are parked there in their cars,” he said. “Wait until the winter time comes because some of these kids are getting dropped off after 6 o’clock at night. It will be pitch dark. When it snows, they plow the roads on Hyson but throw all the snow on the sidewalks. I don’t know where these kids are going to walk.”
Maloney said “a lot of people are complaining. There is no reason why those buses can’t take those kids and drop them off at their house rather than the corner. If you are coming into the cul-de-sac, drop them off at their house rather than the corner for the safety of these children.”
He noted that while the children are waiting on Hyson waiting for the parents to pick them up, buses were entering the area at a high rate of speed. “We made a lot of complaints to the police department. That sign is still blocked and we’d still like to see police come there and do what they got to do.”
Council President Martin Flemming directed Business Administrator Terence Wall to contact the Public Works Department regarding the blocked sign issue. He added that Police Chief Matt Kunz, who was present at the night’s session, would “do what he can do about the speeding issue. For the busing issue you will have to talk to the Board of Education and if you give the same presentation that you just did for us; they will go after whatever bus company it is. The snow has to be cleared by whoever owns the sidewalk, that has to be taken care of by the homeowner.”
Resident Clifford Talmadge of Bartley Road has lived in Jackson for 16 months. He came to the meeting to share his story of the same problem that exists on his road.
“These people are racing down that road, motorcycles are going down that road doing wheelies. Trucks, township vehicles – everybody is flying down that road,” he said.
“I picked up my grandson who is five years old and in kindergarten, at the corner of Scarlet Oak and Bartley right near my house and people don’t stop for the buses when they have their lights on. I have been in touch with the township police and the county engineer and Lt. Greenberger of Jackson Police,” Bartley said.
The resident brought up his understanding that more police were needed to patrol trouble spots like his area “to properly take care of what is going on not just here but many streets within our town.”
Bartley recommended to the governing body that more police be hired and more police vehicles be added to their fleet. He also suggested an older police vehicle be parked there in different locations in town where speeding problems exist and could serve as a deterrent.
The resident also recommended a digital sign be added that would show drivers the speed they were traveling in comparison to the posted speed of that road. He also said he planned to speak to members of the Jackson Board of Education about the problem.
Chief Kunz came to the microphone to offer comment. “I have a tremendous staff and when a problem comes in it is immediately routed to the right person that has the knowledge and expertise to address your concerns.”
“Lt. Greenberger went into our records management system and was able to identify that as of the date that (Talmadge) spoke year to date we have made 165 motor vehicle stops along Bartley Road and we have conducted 40 traffic enforcement details on the road. I see we are now up to 198 motor vehicle stops on Bartley Road as of today and 45 traffic enforcement details and I am certain some of that increase is in direct response to your concerns,” the chief told Talmadge.
Rania Asi-Mahmound moved to Jackson around 10 years ago and she said she was nearly struck by a vehicle within her neighborhood. “I am fearful of my kids’ life. The cars come down at a tremendous high speed. As a mother, I don’t want my kids outside.”
She added, “the speeding, the traffic, the parking…You can’t see coming in to Hyson. I nearly got into a head on collision pulling into my house because someone didn’t want to stop and swerved around me.”
“It is 25 mph but everyone is doing 30 or 35 and Jay’s Bus service comes in flying at 65 miles per hour. It is absolutely unsafe. One day I went outside to play with my kids and a van came in carrying a bunch of children, a football bounced out of one of my kid’s hands into the street. My kids know better than to go out into the street,” she said.
“The van was on Hyson waiting in traffic. I went to go get the ball and the van hit the gas speeding at least 50 miles per hour and went to swerve around me. I held my hand out and said excuse me and before I reached his window to ask him to please slow down he put it in reverse, hit the gas to swerve around me the other way. This was absolutely unsettling and my kids were shaking,” she added.
“I called the police multiple times. I’ve been calling for two years and they do come out but nothing is resolved,” Mahmound added. She said the vans on the street are collecting children for schools and were hired by parents to transport them.
Flemming said that the police would be “stepping up enforcement in your area.”
“We will do our best to patrol your street into the list of concerned areas,” Chief Kunz said.
Resident Sabastian Bruttaniti lives in the same neighborhood and said some drivers “have no respect whatsoever. I am pulling out of my driveway and they just go around me. They nearly hit my mailbox when they come flying down. This has been going on now for a good two months. We have a quiet neighborhood and now everything is being turned upside down.”