Resident fighting speed hump installation

Millstone resident Frank Fels says humps were installed without residents’ consent (Jan. 5)

By: Lauren Burgoon
   MILLSTONE — Some call them nuisances that damage the bottom of cars and clog traffic. Others say they help slow speeding cars and increase road safety. However speed humps are viewed, one thing is certain — they aren’t going away anytime soon in Millstone.
   The town installed over the summer several speed humps on Carrs Tavern Road between Paint Island Spring Road and Deer Trail Dive. The move came after several residents in the Indian Path neighborhood requested the humps to slow down speeding drivers, said Committeeman Elias Abilheira, who was mayor when the humps were installed.
   Officials wanted to oblige but ran into problems because Indian Path Road runs into Manalapan and Monroe, necessitating both of those towns to agree to the humps.
   Millstone decided to bypass the red tape and install speed humps on a road completely within the township to determine if the devices work and should be explored for more neighborhoods, Mr. Abilheira said. Carrs Tavern Road came to mind.
   "There was a consensus that it was a dangerous road with a lot of speeders. There have been a lot of accidents and some very close calls," Mr. Abilheira said. "We felt it was the best location to test the speed humps."
   Traffic has noticeably slowed since installation, he said. More than that, Mr. Abilheira said, residents from Back Bone Hill Road, Indian Path and other neighborhoods have renewed requests for humps on their streets.
   One person who won’t be putting in any such request — and who has actually spent months fighting the humps’ presence — is Frank Fels of Fawn Way. He contends the humps were installed without consulting residents and without notice. Mr. Fels characterized the humps as a menace and plans to continue his so-far unsuccessful campaign to remove them.
   Mr. Fels set out to gauge his neighbors’ feelings about the speed humps and came away with a very different result than Mr. Abilheira — 59 people have signed two petitions demanding the humps be removed. Most of the signers are from Deer Trail, Deer Run, Carrs Tavern and Fawn roads.
   "Out of everyone I talked to, one person agreed with the bumps and another did not want to put a name down (on the petition)," he said. "Most were happy to sign and other people called to ask why I didn’t come get their name."
   The humps would be less upsetting if they were installed on a less-traveled road, Mr. Fels said. But he argues the location clogs traffic on busy throughways and that humps would still cause problems on a calmer road.
   "What will this do to the fire company and ambulances? Every second counts in an emergency," he said.
   The Millstone Township First Aid Squad has not taken a position on the humps.
   Mr. Fels contends the humps also might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act by making roads harder for disabled people to navigate. He also wants people to consider the financial impact of the speed humps, arguing that prospective homeowners are more likely to bypass neighborhoods with the humps in front of homes.
   The township has received the petitions but is not likely to take action any time soon. Mr. Abilheira said the original plan called for the devices to stay until officials could assess the impact on everything from safety and speeding to plows’ ability to navigate the roads in wintry weather. The two December snowstorms were not large enough to give a final judgment, he said.
   Mr. Abilheira does not see the same problems as Mr. Fels with the speed humps and said the negative reaction is more likely born from the bother the humps cause.
   "They are doing what they’re supposed to be doing — slowing down traffic. By their very definition, the speed humps will be something of an inconvenience," he said.
   Mr. Fels vowed not to back down on his demand for Millstone to remove the humps from Carrs Tavern Road and said he gets frequent calls from other supporters.
   "I feel very strongly about this and people I talk to feel the same way. So many people are upset over these things," he said.