Former Fire Chief Questions Landmark Complex's Fire Apparatus Accessibility
Planning Board member and former fire chief Tom Carney advised Landmark's traffic engineer to consult with fire chief about addressing his concerns with the site's accessibility for fire apparatus.
The narrow roads designed for the interior of the Landmark development on Daly Field may limit the extent to which firefighters can fight a blaze within the complex.
Planning Board member Tom Carney, a former Fair Lawn fire chief, told the Landmark traffic engineer Monday that the proposed 20 foot internal road widths would make navigating certain roads in the complex difficult.
"Our ladder truck operates at a 20 foot width when the outriggers are out and it’s in full operation," Carney said. "If there’s snow on the ground, any kind of obstructions, it’s not going to be able to operate. So you have a serious concern here about the width of the roads."
Traffic engineer Eric Keller responded that although the paved widths of Road A and Road C are 20 feet, the development would be able to accomodate an effective width that is much greater due to its layout that includes driveways where cars will not be parked. He also noted that the road widths were in compliance with Residential Site Improvement Standards (RSIS).
Carney called Keller's explanation unacceptable.
"Being a fireman for 30 years, I really don’t care about RSIS," he said. "I care about getting the apparatus to where it’s got to be to save people’s lives."
The issue of the site's fire apparatus accessibility was raised initially by board vice chairman Brent Pohlman, who asked Keller whether a fire engine could reasonably turn onto the northern portion of Road C -- an internal site road that crosses the Ramsey Terrace extension.
Keller said that while it would be possible for a fire apparatus to make the turn if it entered the development illegally -- on the wrong side of the proposed island at Ramsey Terrace -- he believed a fire chief would not send large aerial apparatus down Road C, preferring to fight the building fire from Plaza Road.
"If one of those two buildings is engulfed, they’re not going to put even an aerial truck in there," he said. "It’s within the fall zone and if that building collapses onto the truck you’re not going to want to lose a half-million dollar piece of aerial equipment."
Carney acknowledged that he would not bring a large fire apparatus down Road C as it is currently designed, but said if it were wide enough to accomodate the apparatus, he'd absolutely bring the engine down the road.
"Asking us to fight a fire from Plaza Road is not acceptable," he said. "We’ve got to get into the complex, there’s people in there that might be trapped. We’ve got to get to them."
Carney also noted the lack of a fire hydrant that was, in his opinion, near enough to Road B. He advised Keller to meet with current fire chiefs and the fire marshal about what he viewed as the site's design flaws.
Keller said that while the placement of the hydrants conformed to applicable standards, he would be happy to speak with the fire chiefs and fire marshal to discuss hydrant layout.
Internal traffic design characteristics of the site
- Parking spaces
The 165-unit complex will feature 398 parking spaces -- 264 garage spaces, 50 in the car ports and 84 spaces for guests that are scattered throughout common areas within the complex.
All parking spaces are within 500 feet of a building unit, so in the extreme case it will take about 2 minutes -- if you assume a walking speed of 3.5 feet per second -- to reach a unit from your parking space.
"It’s an attractive walk," Landmark's traffic engineer Eric Keller said. "It’s not a walk down straight linear lines, you’re walking through park areas.
- Two vehicle access points from Plaza Road
The complex will have two intersections with Plaza Road -- one at the extension of Ramsey Terrace and another more southern driveway near Berdan Avenue.
The Ramsey Terrace extension will be stop sign-controlled and permit movements both into and out of the complex in either direction.
The southern driveway near Berdan Avenue is limited to right turns into the complex from Plaza Road and right turns out out of the complex to Plaza Road. A center island has been designed to discourage illegal turn movements.
Crosswalks will be provided at all of the major pedestrian crossings within the complex and at the complex's entry and exit points.
Both of the site driveways along Plaza Road will have a crosswalk and any intersection within the complex where pedestrians walk between buildings will have a crosswalk.
"Any of those major points where you would se a greater chance of pedestrian traffic have crosswalks marked in the road," Keller said. "It's a highlight for the vehicles that this is a place where you would expect to see a pedestrian."
The Planning Board's next hearing on the Landmark development will be held Monday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m.