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Police Put Careless Drivers on Notice

Fair Haven police issued 31 summonses in the past few days

School has started. Children are out and about. So are careless drivers. The summonses issued in Fair Haven lately tell what is known as a familiar tale around town.

To send a strong message about protecting and serving the children and other pedestrians, especially during school season, Fair Haven police on a vigilant mission to rid the roads of inattentive and speeding drivers.

In an attempt to drive the message home and down the town’s main thoroughfare — River Road — police in the past few days alone have issued 31 summonses involving “violations of pedestrian crosswalks and cell phone uses” as well as speeding, Councilman Rowland Wilhelm, police liaison, reported.

“Beware folks,” Wilhelm said at Monday’s Borough Council meeting. “Kids are in school. Slow down.”

The enforcement issue is one that has been met with appreciation by some parents.

“I personally have noticed a big change, so thank you very much,” Councilwoman and parent Susan Sorensen said.

Resident Ruth Blaser said that she thinks the students traveling to and from school also compromise their own safety by not obeying pedestrian rules.

“They have to obey the traffic laws too, because they tend to just go and do their thing without looking … they make it dangerous,” she said.

The pedestrian safety and traffic enforcement issue has been a common thread of concern, running down River Road into Rumson.

Rumson resident on the road.

From Fair Haven to Rumson and vice versa, , with sudden changes near Sugar Maple Lane in Rumson and on the bend by Doughty Lane in Fair Haven.

Fair Haven officials mentioned that they feel the borough’s Streetscape program's road stenciling creates an illusion of a more narrow road, which tends to slow drivers down.

Residents in both towns have expressed that, in addition to disregard for traffic laws, the abrupt changes in the limit are contributing factors to the problem.

But River Road is a county road, and as such, any changes concerning it must meet county approval. A speed limit sign, for instance, cannot be altered or moved without going through an involved approval process.

Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl has said that he has approached Monmouth County officials about getting the limit changed to a uniform 35 miles per hour to avoid the quick changes and, perhaps, quell the speeding problem with more consistency in the limit.

Whether or not drivers will obey a lowered limit is in question, Fair Haven officials discussed at the Monday night meeting.

“Since you had such a high hit rate (in enforcement with the 31 summonses), is that something you can repeat until the message is driven home?” asked Councilman Eric Jaeger.

Fair Haven Police Chief Darryl Breckenridge, who was sitting in the audience at the meeting, gave a “yes” nod.

Reiswig, for Rumson, has continued to push for similarly stiffer enforcement and the change in the limit.

He recently sent the following letter  to the county:

My name is Ron Reiswig. I'm a resident of Rumson, living on the west edge of town at Third Street and River Road.

Many of the downtown residents, including myself are dismayed at the amount of traffic and the speeding along river road coming into the west end of town — often destined for the beaches, Ferry terminals, etc.

After talking to numerous residents, the Mayor, incoming Police Chief Lt. (Scott) Paterson, all have encouraged me to do what I can to raise awareness with county officials.

So, I've taken up the effort to see what we can do together.

My understanding was (that) a petition was submitted, by Rumson officials, to the county to lower the county road speed limit from 40 to 35 mph between Fair Haven and Rumson.  

This is a good first step if approved, but additional steps are needed.
Specifically, I'd like to work with the right county decision makers to add a 30 mile per hour sign on the outside edge of town west of Sugar Maple (Lane).

The effort here is to slow care down before they hit the residential section —transitioning from 40 to 30. With houses right up on River Road, sidewalks and kids start at about Sugar Maple and especially at Third Street.

Today cars don't often slow down below 30 until well into town and don't stop for pedestrians attempting to cross the sidewalks. We believe the costs for these two near-term steps are nominal.

Secondly, adding an additional 30 mph size on River heading West at First or Second streets to remind drivers to not speed up until they fully exit the residential section (would help).
Thank you for the attention and I look forward to hearing from you on how best to proceed.

Also planning to address this at next Freeholders meeting next week.

Steve September 12, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Mr. Reiswig Not sure how long you are living where you presently. However before you purchased you should have taken the roadway speed into considersation. Kind of reminds me of the people who move next to an airport and then awhile later they start to complain about the noise!!
Thomas Bruno September 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Steve - so if someone in the community tries to help the entire community make a change that achieves what all want (people in Rumson and FH driving the actual speed limit through the 'business' and residential areas and yielding at every cross-walk as is state law), you consider that complaining? Seems to me Reiswig isn't on a blog or board yipping at others about their views/opinions (I define that as complaining). He is learning from town and county officials about the manner in which he goes about achieving what he and others desire (I define that as helping). Interested in why you believe he is complaining. By the way - totally agree about airports/railways. I came from Mass and always loved it when people who abutted 'old railroads' owned by the state complained that the state has 'some nerve turning this old railroad right-of-way back into a railroad'! Point being I think Mr Reiswig is of a different ilk.
Bill Amado September 13, 2012 at 01:32 PM
"...tries to help the community make a change that achieves what ALL want..." How can you know that the change is something ALL want? Did I miss the meeting? Did I throw away the letter? How can you presume that his opinion reflects the sentiment of ALL of the people?
Thomas Bruno September 13, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Ok Bill - Hand raised ... Guilty as charged! My Grandmother used to say - "never, all, and always ... Hardly three words that can cause you as much trouble". So you are correct - my use of "all" was wrong - should have said what I meant as in "some", "many" or as my Irish colleagues (I write from Essex England) say 'more than he'. So you are correct to quickly note the error of my ways. Mea culpa. That said back to the substance of my post - that is the reason people post right? To engage in meaningful dialogue? So I await the response that must have been left as you were called away to an urgent matter. Otherwise I might be left to presume you are the type of person I have read much about. Someone who focuses on what others said not to learn but to pick fault. My grandmother had sayings for them too. Sorry about my communication blunder and I hope all is well.
Ron Reiswig September 13, 2012 at 07:29 PM
To answer Steve's question. I have been here 1 year. I made a choice to purchase a home on River road, and could see that it is sometimes busy. However, the speed limit is 30 MPH ( but in a transition zone from 40).. and should not, in theory, be such an issue. What wasn't apparent until spending some time living with it, is just how much and how often people ignore those posted limits. Walk down River road a few times to get to Brennan's or Victory park and you'll get the idea. When you take a moment to observe what's happening you can't but help but see the careless driving, and yes.. stereotypical big suv's with drivers phones stuck in their ear oblivious to pedestrians and traffic safety signs. Part of the issue is just the time it takes to slow down from 40+ to 30 drastically at towns edge. Yet, since what we are talking about here is obeying the posted speed limits, and following traffic safety laws I don't think taking a few extra steps ( stepped up enforcement, more speed signage, lowering the speed limits, etc) are unreasonable requests. Nobody is asking to speed bumps, stop signs or other measures that would impinge on peoples schedules, or add traffic and significant costs. I think the benefit would be a more safe, walkable and enjoyable downtown experience for us and our children. Looks like Fair Haven gets it and is taking steps to safeguard the streets.
AllieS September 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM
We don't want a downtown. If you want that go to Red Bank. That said, cut out the speeding you fools.
Ron Reiswig September 14, 2012 at 04:16 PM
AllieS... if you mean "you" instead of "we" that would be fine with regard to not wanting a downtown. I hate to break it to you...but Rumson has a downtown. It's a destination for our parks, boat ramp, marina's, bars & restaurants. It may be Mayberry RFD like... but that is in part why "I" moved here, and moved close to "downtown" so we can walk to all that is offered here. I'm sure those folks that enjoy walking about here will appreciate it more if it were safer to walk, cross the streets without risk of death by speeding suv's ;-)

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