Middletown resident and journalism student Anastasia Millicker attended the Middletown Township Safety Council meeting on Thursday night, March 15, and provided the information for the following report:
Based on residents’ input and observation of emergency responders, the Middletown Township Safety Council, an unofficial volunteer group, has identified three especially hazardous traffic areas in the township and will bring them to the attention of officials for review.
The group held its monthly meeting last night at Town Hall and discussed those areas and why they pose such imminent safety threats lately: Navesink River Road, the intersection of Harmony Road and Route 35 and Everett Road.
Council member Bob Pfleger, who is also public information officer for Middletown Emergency Medical Services, first brought up traffic safety concerns on Navesink River Road, which he said were prevalent during the morning rush hour.
A school bus stop, where many students board, causes traffic to stop behind the bus leaving some cars on the railroad tracks, which cross Navesink River Road, Pfledger said.
He added that the same situation happens in the opposite direction at Tulip Lane, but it is not quite as bad.
This issue was brought to the attention of the police department because it is an urgent situation, he said.
The next concern was vehicles that exit the ShopRite, located off of Route 35, onto Harmony Road, and routinely ignore the no left turn sign, causing numerous near-misses and some significant crashes, Pfleger said.
The traffic hazard issue on Everett Road was identified as one that is paramount during morning rush hour as well. Vehicles routinely use the right lane to make a left turn onto Route 520 (Newman Springs Road) to avoid the line of cars in the left lane, which is a recipe for traffic danger, Pfleger said. There is no signage indicating whether or not doing so is permissible, Pfledger said.
He proposed that a possible remedy to the problem would be to create a dotted white line guiding drivers making a left turn across the intersection of Everett Road onto County Route 520 toward Brookdale Community College.
Since the group has no authority to enact any changes, and only serves as advisory volunteers, the discussion points will be forwarded to the Township Committee and police.