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

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.


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Jerry Greeenwood May 17, 2012 at 01:58 PM
OK here is my opinion - cut a entrance/exit or exit only from the back of Landmark into Berdan Ave. crossing the railroad tracks, we currently have a signal in place, changing that to a gate will allow cars and ambulances to exit across the tracks going west on Berdan Ave avoiding Radburn center. thus reducing traffic on plaza road and ramsey terrace.
Tommy P May 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM
That would be a major cost to the town, it will also add lots of traffic to 20th street which is already over utilized. It would also be quite dangerous since the tracks are so close to 20th street there. It would also impact the drainage pool they are planning.
es May 17, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Take a look at that site image: how does a ladder truck get to the front of the buildings behind the existing houses, or to the front of the "J" shaped building? These building are 3-1/2 stories tall, it's a disaster waiting to happen.
Jerry Greeenwood May 17, 2012 at 10:14 PM
The exit entrance would be available for Landmark cars and would not put much traffic on 20th and reduce traffic on Plaza. Also Let Landmark pay for it. Do you remember how it was before they built S4B (208) I do.
Harry May 18, 2012 at 05:37 AM
I don't understand in the article it says "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." What are the driveways for? Looks?
JDBlackhawk May 18, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I think approval of this paves the way for completely ruining Fair Lawn as a township. It already has the traffic patterns of a city, and I have experienced gridlock trying to negotiate through Fair Lawn. This area is one of the last remaining open areas in the town. I also wonder how this will impact the water table, in an already over-floodprone area not just in that location, but everywhere else. As development has continued, houses that historically never flooded are now doing so. Drainage needs to be addressed. And will the already over-burdened police be able to track yet another population zone adjacent to Route 208 which represents a quick in and out path for transient criminals? Look at what is already happening in Fair Lawn, a town with 2 bridges connecting Route 20 and a large townhouse development directly accessible to Route 208.
es May 18, 2012 at 04:30 PM
The fact is the Court accepted the builder's remedy lawsuit, so Landmark is guaranteed they can build on that land. The Borough can only tweak the design on issues of safety, then the Radburn Association gets a crack at making sure the color of the shutters is "harmonious." The builders are always long out of the picture before the collateral issues crop up, but the Borough never accepts any responsibility for having permitted building in places such as alongside the river in the first place. It's really not difficult to grasp: 50-60 years ago, much smaller houses were built on 1/4 acre lots and drainage was planned for that scale. After years of permitting additions, then tear-downs on the same lots, the water simply has no place else to go. Regardless, fish gotta swim, builders gotta build, towns gotta love money 'til I die.
Carolyn D May 18, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Putting any kind of entrance/exit onto 20th St. Is insane! There have been too many accidents there as it is. Also so many kids walk that way before & after school, it is a tragedy waiting to happen. Between this monstrosity being built & the toxic mess left behind by Topps, I've never been so disgusted in my life. My property value will be worthless by time this is done. No one is going to want to live here anymore, including me!
Bruce Knuckle May 19, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Carney is correct. This site plan is not only unacceptable, its ridiculous! They are going to have to cut down on the number of units, unless of course you buy into the driveways that aren't really driveways explanation. Keller clearly is attempting foolery and double talk.
Tommy P May 19, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Don't forget the want the borough to repeal the overnight parking ordinance
Jerry Greeenwood May 19, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Too much traffic on 20th or too much traffic on Ramsey. Two exits would split the number of cars. Someone will be upset. PS Carolyn D Move.
Cindy Evans May 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM
NJ Transit will not allow Berdan Avenue to become a through street over the tracks. You also have the issue of the Ambulance Corps on what is now Cooper's Way (formerly Berdan Avenue). If you have all that traffic going in front of their building, how do you expect the volunteers to get to the building to respond for an emergency? Bad plan all the way around to make Berdan Avenue a cut-through. If they are going to have fire trucks go in the wrong entrance because of their size, does that mean they will have the garbage trucks and delivery trucks do the same thing?
Carolyn D May 19, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Pss:Jerry greenwood, I'd love to,but no one will want to buy it.
Bruce Knuckle May 19, 2012 at 04:43 PM
TP. very good point


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