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Rumson Man Rallies to Curb Speeders

West River Road resident Ronald Reiswig has made it his mission to get drivers to slow down

Rumson resident Ron Reiswig is on a mission to make drivers slow down in his neighborhood, which happens to be on a main thoroughfare.

The West River Road resident is relatively new to the area. He loves it. He loves everything about it — except the speeding vehicles that he says barrel down West River Road, in front of his house, and cause him fear and angst over the safety of his and other people’s families.

Reiswig says he has nothing but respect for Rumson police and their vigilant patrols, but he wonders if something can be done to quell the infractions he says he’s witnessed when police do not happen to be within that one two- to three-block radius and there are speeders.

Saying he understands full well that there cannot be patrols in one spot of the borough all day long,  Reiswig said, “My goal here is to make the sidewalk and residential areas along River Road a safe and pleasant place to walk for us and our children.”

People just seem to be in too much of a hurry to travel through a sleepy suburb, he added, noting that the main street is an artery to commuter ferries, schools and beaches in the morning and late afternoon/early evening hours.

Reiswig’s fear is that a wake-up call about speeding on the road will end up coming in the form of a bad or, worse, tragic accident.

“It seems Rumson is a transit point for traffic to the beaches and ferry terminals and something needs to be done to slow this down a bit,” Reiswig said.

Reiswig went to Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl and Borough Council on the issue. Ekdahl said there are two major hindrances to abating the problem quickly: the road is a Monmouth County road, and, therefore Rumson does not have jurisdiction to change the speed limit without going through a lengthy approval process; and, there is a quick 10 mph speed limit change, from 40 to 30, heading east, giving drivers roughly two blocks to slow down.

Reiswig was told in May that steps had already been taken to lower the speed limit on one portion of the road where there are two or change the limit on the entire road to just one.

A formal request had already been made to lower the 40 mph speed limit on the one portion of roadway to 35, Ekdahl told Reiswig at a May meeting. The mayor added that the span of roadway that has the 40 mph limit is relatively short and the higher speed does not seem warranted.

He reminded Reiswig that the borough had used its speed message sign, which is equipped with radar, at the spot where the limit changes abruptly as a temporary means to slow drivers down. And, he said, police are aware of the problem and are vigilant in their patrols.

The sign is posted at different spots in town on a rotating basis.

The mayor said it would be returned to the West River Road spot when it is available. Reiswig said it has not yet returned.

“In a perfect world, there would be a walking/biking path and/or sidewalk all the way down River Road, from Red Bank through Fair Haven and Rumson that would encourage less driving and more walking and biking between towns," he said.

Reiswig pointed to Fair Haven’s adoption of a Complete Streets policy, which is administered in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation.
In adopting the policy, towns agree to create more pedestrian- and bike-friendly travel by creating dedicated cycling lanes and share arrows on the roads as well as more sidewalks, rest areas and curbing.

Fair Haven also recently dropped speed limits on a few of its residential streets from 25 to 20 miles per hour. However, the roads on which this was done are borough roads, not county.

Reiswig has been rallying neighbors to keep watch and persist in some sort of change. He recently circulated a memo to neighbors outlining his mission and asking for their help in giving the county an extra push to lower the limit. 

In the meantime, he said his personal appeal as well as that of his neighbors is for people to realize that the “15-20 seconds or so folks might be delayed by following the law and posted speed limits,” is worth it for the community safety’s sake.  

MatthewCenti August 06, 2012 at 04:05 PM
He is 110% correct. I'm not even a resident but when passing through that lovely town I notice people who are blatantly speeding while families and their children are bike riding. People need to slow down. There is no need to go so fast. Enjoy the ride and the scenery and keep others safe.
JosephGhabourLaw August 06, 2012 at 07:45 PM
The section of West River Road has a valuable community asset: a sidewalk. Aside from saving lives, separate, bicycle-pedestrian paths can increase property values by up to $8,800. http://128.175.63.72/projects/DOCUMENTS/bikepathfinal.pdf Visually narrowing this road with bicycle lanes is an alternative that could be considered. Mr. Reswig is correct in wanting more routes around northern Monmouth county that would cyclists and walkers alike to travel distances safely.
Ron Reiswig August 06, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Unfortunately, the Rumson sidewalk at the west end - between 3rd and River till probably past 1st into town is where people are barreling through. It's my hope that in addition to steps to lower the speed between Red Bank and Rumson to 35, we can get the 30 mph sign moved closer to the edge of town - west of Maple, thus slowing driver down - hopefully - before they hit the sidewalk section at 40+. It's scary now, and many drivers don't slow down really till 1st or even Allen. Those proposals have been brought up, but more involvement from residents is needed to emphasize the need and message the the borough and county authorities. In the meantime, let's hope we can get more monitoring/enforcement to mitigate the issue. Please make yourself heard for the sake of the residents and visitors to Rumson.
Ron Reiswig August 06, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Interestingly enough, I recently relocated from the area mentioned in your article discussing Rails to Trails, specifically the Burke-Gilman Trail In Seattle area. I've seen the transition myself and the benefits it's created. In fact, several parks in Seattle area get linked in such a way that you can often bike from one to another without crossing any major intersections. Rumson, with all it's waterfront and proximity to the beaches could benefit greatly from a program to add bike lanes and slow down traffic and path near the waterfront and river beaches. It could become more of a destination itself if it was easier and safer to bike and walk here from neighboring communities. You'd think this would benefit the local business and tax revenues thus adding incentives to get it done.
Aliciasilver August 06, 2012 at 09:29 PM
We're not looking to increase business in the town we're looking to keep our kids safe. Get real joelaw outoftouch.
Benowenjr August 06, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Really, does this guy think we want crowds in town? It is all about safety not revenue generation, crowds and pollution. Unreal, pave paradise and put up a parking lot mentality.
Chris August 07, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I live in Fair Haven and yes they have put up some lower speed limit signs. There is one on Third St. and another on Kemp Ave. I walk with my dogs everyday along Third St morning and late afternoon and keep seeing disregard for the speed limit of 20mph. Signs mean NOTHING IF THERE IS NO ENFORCEMENT! Also people just don't give a damn anyway. Once you get points on your license and surcharges, you just might give a damn about posted speed limits and put that cell phone away! I drove through a DWI checkpoint in Sea Bright over the weekend and was giving the officer credit for their enforcement. We need more enforcement in Fair Haven as well as Rumson!
matt August 07, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Hartshorne Lane in Rumson has turned into a California freeway, even with the speed limit of 35 mph. Beach traffic, construction trucks and huge SUV's barreling down the street have turned Hartshorne Lane into a very dangerous place. Dangerous for the many bike riders, runners/walkers and families who live there. More enforcement by the Rumson police is a must!
Jessica Dalmedo August 07, 2012 at 03:00 AM
I live on Second Street in Rumson. Even when I am trying to cross River with a stroller and my other child holding my hand NO ONE stops. It is always multiple cars passing before someone finally stops. I'll rally- send the memo down to second street-there are 14 young kids on this block alone! I'd like my kids to be able to ride their bikes to Victory Park when they are old enough.
AnneRenn August 07, 2012 at 11:29 AM
I live on black point road and I can't believe the lunatics who pull off of river and drag race down black point. Mark my words, someone is going to get seriously injured or killed if we don't do something.
Zuzana August 07, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Good for Ron! Try to bike or cross Rumson Road on foot and take your life in your hands! We live in a beautiful town and people race down our streets on the way to the beach and bars. Get off the phone, look around , pay attention and when you see the two 'ol ladies' screaming "slow down"--you'll know you are in Rumson--beautiful place to walk, run, ride bikes. Parents-do not let your kids ride bikes on Rumson Road--disaster waiting to happen. Also-runners take those earphones out-- we have seen so many near misses!! Come on 5-1-5-0 do something and help us here!!
NicoletteBunchen August 07, 2012 at 11:33 AM
This isn't about DWI checkpoints it is about people speeding through town. Most of the time it is someone in their 20s or a kid in a car flying around the roads to get to the beach. we need speed enforcement... What else are the police doing?
John R. Choma, Sr. August 07, 2012 at 12:11 PM
The deer in that location do an excellent job of slowing motorist down. If you've lived here long enough to know that they are in that very area and, will run out on you sometimes in a herd when you least expect it, you don't speed.
Bonnie Kroll August 07, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Wardell is also a problem with parents zooming to drop off or pick up kids at Riverside Park. If we had safe bike lanes on Rumson Rd kids could actually BIKE themselves to practice. Thanks, Ron Reiswig, for beginning this conversation, and to you, Elaine, for writing about it.
joie de vivre August 07, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I totally agree with this. Even in Rumson village by the tennis courts and the pharmacy many people won't stop to let you cross. It's the law according to the cone, but you feel like you'll be run down, so don't dare cross until all traffic is clear.
Chris August 07, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I agree this about speeding, but I mentioned the Sea Bright DWI check point as a great example of enforcement to keep our roads safe. No one would dare speed though one of those checkpoints now would they? The point is more enforcement and police patrolling side streets not just the main roads.
Ron Reiswig August 08, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Its great to see many if not most agree speeding & not stopping at cross walks is a problem - and a problem in several spots in town. I think asking the Borough Hall and Police to place more emphasis on enforcement is within our power to do. I've also reached out to Monmouth county officials and hope to make the Freeholders meeting this coming Thursday evening. I'd like to get their take on how issues on county roads like this have been dealt with and how open they are to assisting. http://www.visitmonmouth.com/page.aspx?ID=1808 I'd be curious to see what folks thoughts about permanent radar traffic signs - see example.. http://www.trafficlogix.com/safepace100.asp. Would you in favor of something like this? Think it would help? My personal experience is this does serve to remind you to slow down as they visually get your attention with flashing warnings and a strobe when exceeding a predefined limit. They are about $ 2500 give or take for battery powered + solar charging versions.
B. Carr Mahon August 09, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Bingham Ave should also be lowered to 25 between the school and River Road........Its nothing but a raceway all the time. How come Fair Haven has police out often doing speed checks...we all no NOT to speed in their town.....Rumson needs to do the same.....speed is not inforced. As far as the cross walk thing....now that is a joke. I was trying to cross the other day a police man was across the street tending to a fender bender and not one person stopped to allow me to cross in the cross walk section.......I thought I was on candid camara......Speed is one thing, enforceing is the other.......just think of the money they could be making with writing tickets
Bill Amado October 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM
When I was a kid we were taught to stay out of the streets. It worked pretty well.
Ron Reiswig October 05, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Bill.. Wow.. that was profound. Anything constructive to add? Hopefully you were also taught that if you have nothing useful to say, don't say anything.

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