Landmark-proposed Traffic Signal Adjustment Could Prove Costly

Eric Keller, the developer's traffic engineer, said to reconstruct the traffic signal at Berdan Avenue and Plaza Road will cost between $180,000 and $200,000.

Improving the safety and efficiency of the Plaza Road and Berdan Avenue intersection via traffic signal replacement will not come cheaply, Landmark traffic engineer Eric Keller reported to the Monday.

Based on Keller's estimates, making a change to that outdated traffic signal will cost between $135,000 and $150,000. Throw in the requirement that making a traffic signal improvement would also necessitate making an upgrade to the intersection's sidewalks and curb ramps -- which are not up to today's Americans with Disabilities Act standards -- and the total price tag jumps to between $180,000 and $200,000.

Keller said calculating Landmark's fair cost share based on the borough's ordinance for off-track improvements -- which derives the applicant's share of the cost according to the anticipated traffic increase generated by the development -- the developer's contribution to the traffic signal upgrade would amount to less than $5,000.

"That is a pitiful amount," Planning Board chairman Peter Kortright said. "We’re looking for an investment. Something where at least there is some sort of partnership with the borough...$4,000 doesn’t seem like it’s going to do anything."

Kortright acknowledged that the calculations were made in compliance with the borough's ordinance, but asked that the developer re-examine the issue and try to find a way to increase the financial share it would cover.

The developer's representative said they would take it into consideration, but that at this time, they were not inclined to cover a greater share of the cost.

that, rather than replacing the traffic signal, it would be possible to improve the intersection's efficiency by adjusting the amount of green time through some minor tinkering.

However, Kortright expressed skepticism that adjusting the signal would be possible, asserting that simply tinkering with the timing would not work given the age of the intersection’s traffic signal.

“You can open that box and it’ll probably collapse,” he said. “It’s a very old signal.”

As an alternative to adjusting the signal's timing, board members suggested last month that Keller examine a variety of other alternatives, including adding a leading green left-hand turn arrow at the intersection.

Keller agreed to model a number of alternatives for the intersection and report his findings at this month's hearing.

Keller presented four options Monday, all of which involved installing leading greens that would necessitate replacing the dated signal.

"The existing signal that’s there doesn’t work with today’s standards," he said. "If you touch it to put in a left turn indication for the northbound left, essentially you’re opening yourself up to needing to replace the entire signal to get those indications in the proper locations. The controller that’s there today can’t handle anything more than what’s already there."

Upon analyzing each of the four possible traffic signal configurations, Keller concluded that the superior option of the four -- because it yielded the best all around levels of service for each approach to the intersection -- was placing an exclusive left turn lane and leading green for northbound Plaza Road traffic turning onto the Route 208 ramp.

Installing leading greens at three of the four approaches -- all but the southbound approach -- and installing leading greens at all four approaches were both slightly less efficient than installing just a single northbound leading green, Keller said.

The worst option of the four, which Keller said would actually decrease the overall efficiency of the intersection as it exists today, would be to add a southbound leading green -- in conjunction with a northbound leading green -- for traffic making its way down Plaza before turning onto Berdan.

If the signal is not reconfigured in some way, traffic generated by the proposed Landmark development is expected to cause the northbound Plaza Road left turn at Berdan Avenue to drop below a failing service level.

Landmark's next hearing before the planning board is scheduled for Monday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m.


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Stuart Pace June 14, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Phil, you state Radburn resident don't want this development as it is proposed. I know many who do.
Deleted because of harassment June 14, 2012 at 10:56 PM
165 townhomes generating $1,000,000 a year in taxes for the town? I guess Jerry's math is probably his strong point [irony]. That comes to $6060, a piece, give or take a few dollars. At the 2011 assessment rate, they'd have to be valued at $500,000. each or more for the town to have that kind of a windfall, remembering that a portion of property taxes goes elsewhere, as well; and in return Fair Lawn will provide sewer lines, street lighting, garbage pickup, water lines and metering, fire and police protection, schools, recreation, public works services such as plowing, cleaning and maintenance for the residents of those 165 tenements. Those units that are classified as "affordable" (which is really "less unaffordable") have a lesser worth and have been segregated next to the train tracks, so their net value is going to be considerable less in that assessment for taxes. I am sure all your Radburn neighbors will be happy to pay for the difference in their property taxes to cover all those services; after all, the Association, I am certain, will be lowering your assessment because of their windfall by instantly adding 165 new families to their roles...It's just the rest of us that will be scr3w3d.
Phil Kestenbaum June 15, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Stuart then why didn't/don't they take a vote of the home owners in Radburn? You want to organize a vote I will help you. Let's at least know what the people affected want.
Jenne June 15, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Radburn residents via their association are getting something for this (the profit on the land, AND the association not having to pay whatever miniscule tax they paid for undeveloped land) while everyone in fair lawn has to pony up to provide services to back it up. If Radburn residents didn't object to the funding of things available to the entire township because they fund their own, I might have sympathy. But as long as I live in Fair Lawn proper (aka the wrong side of the tracks) I don't. Let their part of the taxes pay for the stoplight, etc.
Stuart Pace June 15, 2012 at 05:01 PM
No thanks Phil. I like the way Radburn is run.


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