Rumson Mayor Urges Patience with Change on County, State Roadways
DOT decision expected soon on 'right on red' sign at Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge; speed limit change on West River Road must come from county
When dealing with county and state road-related issues, Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl wants people to know that “change just does not come overnight.”
The mayor recently reiterated his stance and the borough’s progress on a couple of issues: quelling speeding concerns on West River Road, a county road; and, getting a “no right on red” sign removed from the light at the foot of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge, which involves county roads and a bridge and signals under state Department of Transportation (DOT) jurisdiction.
On the West River Road issue, Ekdahl said he has been working with the county to get the speed limit lowered from 40- to 35-mph on at least a span of the roadway where it jumps 40 to 30, and vice versa.
“County officials are well aware of my concerns and desire to have the speed limit changed,” Ekdahl said. “Things like this take time, though. It’s not a turn-key operation.”
In the meantime, he said, police patrols are aware and vigilant; and, when available, the borough’s radar-equipped digital speed sign, which flashes the speed limit of oncoming traffic and warnings to slow down, will be placed at the spot of concern.
The mayor’s feedback on the issue has been relayed on various occasions, in and out of Borough Council meetings, to West River Road resident Ron Reiswig, who is new to the area and has been rallying for months to evoke some sort of “slow-down” change on the road where he lives.
Speeders on West River, he has said, whiz by without a care on the stretch of roadway where a lot of children live.
Anxious for a quick solution, Reiswig said, in an email, that he “sent a message to Monmouth County Freeholder Director John Curley to see what it would take to move the current 30 mph size east of Maple and/or add a new sign there in attempt to slow people down before they hit the sidewalk area.”
Moving a speed limit sign is also something that cannot be done immediately, Ekdahl said.
On the local level, one that thing Reiswig said he believes can be done with as much speed as the cars passing by his house is beefing up enforcement, saying “it will definitely give people pause after a few speeders are ticketed.”
And speeders are ticketed, Ekdahl said, ensuring that there is plenty of enforcement by Rumson police, but reminding that the entire borough needs to be patrolled, not just one portion.
There are 16 Rumson police officers, including one in-house detective, who work in shifts to patrol the entire borough on a rolling basis.
The borough police, the mayor said, are not in a position to assign any officer to one post in one portion of town. Rumson police, he added, are known as strict enforcers of the law.
The change in the speed limit will come in time, he said, urging patience.
Pointing to another major issue of traffic concern for which a decision must come from the state, he said: “We’ve been working with the DOT for five years to get the ‘no right on red’ sign removed from the entrance to Sea Bright from the (Rumson-Sea Bright) bridge. Sometimes the traffic, especially in the summer months, is backed up all the way to Bellvue (Avenue), which is quite debilitating a distance.”
Both Rumson and Fair Haven borough councils passed resolutions supporting the change, which were forwarded to the county and DOT.
The mayor said that, after a lot of wrangling, he expects to get an answer on that issue this week.
“We do everything we can to keep our residents safe and address concerns,” Ekdahl said. “But, again, especially when we must rely on decision processes that are out of the borough’s hands, it just doesn’t happen overnight.”