At the November 1st Mayor & Council meeting, First Ward Councilwoman Jayme Lynn Negron reported to the public during her report that she, Mayor Carl Hokanson, Roselle Park Police Officer James Cantrell, and Neglia Engineering went to Trenton to speak with the New Jersey Department Of Transportation (NJDOT) about improvements to Westfield Avenue.
“It’s something I have been pestering the DOT and the [State] Senators’ offices about since I’ve been elected,” said the councilwoman who has repeatedly mentioned safety concerns along Route 28 – the sate highway also known as Westfield Avenue. Her concern was most recently highlighted the tragic death of a pedestrian from the first ward being struck and killed by a vehicle along Westfield Avenue.”
In her report, Councilwoman Negron and Mayor Hokanson highlighted numerous aspects of the project, which will include:
- Milling of Westfield Avenue down three inches
- Repaving the entire two-and-a-quarter-mile length of the state highway
- Replacing all stop lights
- Replacing all of NJDOT maintained lighting
- Re-striping of Westfield Avenue
- Adjusting some of the median islands make traffic flow easier
- Setting the timing on all the lights so that pedestrians are safer
- Installing a rapid light pedestrian crosswalk down by Sherman Avenue so that the crossing guard has a safe place to cross children to and from school
- Re-doing the pattern crosswalks in the downtown area to make them much more visible to traffic
- Re-doing all the valves that are sticking up out of the road
- Replacing some sidewalks
- Replacing some curbing
- Adding catch basins in the area in front of Frenchy’s Bar & Grill to alleviate flooding
- Updating all current drainage
- Updating all ramps at every intersection to be ADA compliant
- Adding new retention basins
- Eliminating the sewer grates for bicycle safety
- Moving the break in the median in front of the Roselle Park Municipal Complex so that police vehicles can get out safer instead of having to turn right on to Westfield to make the u-turn
“They say the squeaky wheel gets oiled and I was happy to be the squeaking wheel this time because it seems to be working in our favor,” said Councilwoman Negron. The councilwoman did relay that – as with all things related to government – timelines and budgets can change over the course of time.
Mayor Hokanson added, “Thanks to the councilwoman the DOT is moving on it.”
Some discussion was held among the governing body including a question as to whether there were any plans to change the speed limit. Councilwoman Negron replied that the speed limit is going to stay at 35 but there are plans to adjust the stoplight timing so that it is safer for pedestrians.
“It was also brought up that night to see if we can get it down to one lane,” said Mayor Hokanson, adding to the conversation, “You [should have seen] the stares on their faces. It’s not happening. Roselle Park will have two lanes going eastbound and two lanes going westbound as long as there’s a DOT. There’s going to be no angled parking.”
One item that the mayor stated can easily be addressed right now is to add a second ‘No U-Turn’ at Westfield and Sherman Avenue to avoid drivers from racing down past Sheridan – which currently has one – to make the u-turn if they miss the left turn signal on Linden Road going into Roselle.
Mayor Hokanson did announce that the milling and paving work for this project will be done at night and apologizes for the brief inconvenience this will cause to residents along Route 28.
The mayor stated that an issue on Grove Street – the last street in Roselle Park going westbound – was requested by representatives of the borough. Mayor Hokanson said, “[NJDOT] will look into it, but it’s like 80-20 that they’re not going to be doing it. We did talk about moving the island at Grove Street that the people from Grove Street can come straight out and make a left-hand turn legally. As you know, you can’t because if you’re doing it, you’re going against the traffic so they will look into it but it looks like it… They’re going to look into it. They’ll get back to us.”
The councilwoman and the mayor both confirmed that the project will conform with the borough’s recently approved Complete Streets Policy. Councilwoman Negron even added, “They’re going to try make a lot of the stop lights solar-powered as well and the lighting that they’re responsible for.”
The budgeted $8 million project is set to start either in the fall of 2019 or spring of 2020.