Milltown launches ‘war on speeding’

Police expected to stop more drivers on both main and side roads


MILLTOWN – Drivers who speed through the streets of Milltown cannot say they have not been warned.

Police and other borough officials are planning a major crackdown on speeding in order to enhance public safety in town.

“Over the next month, we’ll be doing a lot of things to declare war on speeding,” Mayor Gloria Bradford said.

Bradford said she met with Police Chief Raymond Geipel and Traffic Safety Sgt. Donald Petry to discuss ways to combat the ongoing problem. Some ideas in the works are street banners to warn motorists, as well as stenciling on streets that will state the speed limits, Bradford said.

“Out of all the complaints I get, I think 90 percent are speeding,” Bradford said. “If anyone gets hit, it changes everyone’s lives forever.”

Sgt. Roy Manfredi said the police department receives regular complaints from residents about the issue, and they will be stepping up enforcement to address it.

“According to the chief, there are going to be more traffic stops,” Manfredi said. “It’s going to be an increase of our radar patrol. We’re going to be hitting the main thoroughfares and most of the side streets where we’ve had complaints.”

Last year, the borough obtained two grants from the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety. These will allow for the installation of various traffic-calming devices in problem areas of town.

An aggressive driving grant in the amount of $10,480 will provide for new speed-limit signs and pavement markers stating the speed limit. Funds were included in the aggressive driving grant to cover police overtime for enforcement activities in problem areas. A pedestrian-safety grant totaling $11,226 has been allocated to make upgrades to existing pedestrian crosswalks in two locations adjacent to the Joyce Kilmer School, in order to bring motorists’ attention to the crosswalks and slow them down.

Councilman John Collins, the public safety liaison, said with school starting next week, the issue becomes even more of a priority. At all times of the year, however, enforcement is important, as many residents walk the town and exercise on its streets.

“We’re going to have to focus on it for safety’s sake,” Collins said. “It just seems like everyone wants to go faster than the guy in front of them.”

Police have noted that Milltown is often used as a shortcut for motorists on Route 1 or Ryders Lane. Adding to the problem, drivers often end up on side streets in attempts to avoid Main Street traffic when it builds up.

“People cut through residential streets, especially during rush hour,” Manfredi said. “They’re not doing 25 mph. They’ve been clocked at around 40 or 45 mph.”

Collins said it is not only out-of-towners who are to blame. When police focused radar efforts on Highland Drive, which has been a problem area, they nabbed a number of Milltown residents, he said.

“Probably half of the people speeding were residents,” Collins said.

Other problem areas have been North Brook and JFK drives, along with Albert Avenue, police said.

Temporary speed humps were installed on Albert Avenue, partly because of the summer recreation program at Albert Avenue Park. A speed hump is an elongated, less severe version of a speed bump.

Depending on the success of the speed humps there, they will be installed in other areas, police said.

Permanent speed humps are another option town officials are considering. According to police officials, the undertaking would be a long-term project, as an engineering study would be required, and several state criteria would have to be met for the areas where they would be installed.

In the meantime, speeders can expect to be pulled over and cited.

“I hope people take the warnings rather than have to get a ticket,” Collins said.