The Maplewood Township Committee officially adopted a resolution, Tuesday, lowering the speed limit on Valley Street, but the decision still needs to go before the county before it will be official.
The Committee passed a resolution in a four to one vote to lower the speed limit of Valley Street from 35 to 25 miles per hour at a public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The ordinance was introduced on first reading during the Committee's Sept. 17 public meeting.
Committeemen Gerry Ryan voted against saying he would like to study the traffic patterns and amp up enforcement before making the decision to lower the speed limit.
Mayor Victor De Luca met with the Valley Street Neighborhood Association back in May to discuss their concerns regarding traffic and speeding, he said at a previous meeting.
Neighborhood Association Co-chair Camilla Zelevansky also wrote a letter to the Township Committee to request the change.
“Valley Street is a heavily trafficked pedestrian route as children, families, seniors and commuters walk along (there is no sidewalk from Crescent to Tuscan Road, east side) and cross at multiple points (including 11 curb cuts without crosswalks) as they head to and from Maplewood Park, the library, the train station and public schools including Tuscan Elementary, Maplewood Middle and Columbia High School,” she wrote.
Zelevansky cited a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which found that the average risk of severe injury to a pedestrian struck at an impact speed of 23 miles per hour is 25 percent but at 31 miles per hour, the risk doubles to 50 percent.
“A portion of the road is already 25 miles per hour during certain hours because of the school zone,” said De Luca. “Lowering the speed for the whole portion of Valley makes sense.”
De Luca also added that in discussing the change in speed limit with the county engineer, he was told that if the Township Committee passes an ordinance lowering the speed limit, that the county will pass an ordinance to complement it.