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Residents Challenge Landmark Developer's Sight Distance Calculations at Crosswalk

During Monday's Planning Board hearing on the Daly Field development, a number of residents questioned the safety of a crosswalk proposed at the intersection of Plaza Road and Ramsey Terrace.

The engineer will attempt to corroborate the Landmark-provided sight distance from an obstructed curve on Plaza Road after residents challenged the legitimacy of the developer’s numbers at .

Landmark’s traffic engineer, Eric Keller, testified Monday that the current sight distance for southbound Plaza Road drivers as they approach the proposed crosswalk at Ramsey Terrace is 25 feet shorter than what’s required, but asserted that it would meet code if a patch of underbrush that obstructs the sight line is removed.

“There are some large trees there, but if you move up a foot or move back a foot you can find a path through those trees,” he said. “The problem is that there is young growth, and just underbrush that has occurred in the right of way, in the middle of this curve, that’s blocking your ability to see through that area.”

Following the testimony by Keller, who assured the board that the borough itself could resolve the vegetation issue, board liaison Ed Trawinski requested that a letter be sent to the and borough council asking them to initiate the necessary undergrowth removal.

Regardless of the proposed vegetation cleanup, multiple residents expressed concerns about the safety of crossing Plaza at Ramsey Terrace and challenged Keller’s calculations. Ramapo Terrace resident Ron Coll, who provided photographic evidence to support his claims, said that by his own count the unobstructed sight distance at the proposed Ramsey crosswalk was no more than 150 feet – less than half the required 305 feet dictated by Plaza Road’s speed limit.

Pressed by Coll whether the borough had independently verified Keller’s figures, planning board engineer Jeff Morris indicated that it had not, but asserted that he would personally corroborate the numbers before next month’s hearing. 

The proposed crosswalk at the intersection of Plaza Road and Ramsey Terrace – a location that will serve as one of the two proposed entrances to the Landmark development – has been the most hotly debated topic at the past two hearings.

Last month, .

“You cannot tell me that it’s safe to cross Plaza Road at Ramsey,” planning board member Todd Malkin said last month. “You have a bad curve and people speeding there. The solution would be a light.”

Keller explained to board members and residents last month that traffic at the intersection did not meet the requirements to warrant a traffic signal, but agreed, at the request of planning board members, to calculate the sight distance and consider other safety-enhancing alternatives.

He presented his site distance calculations and recommended some additional safety measures Monday, including giving the crosswalk a prominent ladder-style design, installing fluorescent yellow-green pedestrian crossing signs in advance of the crosswalk from either direction, installing small arrow signs on the crosswalk’s center line strip in either direction and narrowing the width of the road’s pavement at the crosswalk by about five feet on either side to reduce pedestrian crossing times by more than 20 percent.

Keller also reiterated his recommendation to place the crosswalk on the road’s south side.

“The critical point is standing on the southeast corner of Ramsey and Plaza Road and being able to look back and see approaching vehicles, and also for approaching vehicles to see a pedestrian standing there,” he said, adding that they had measured 305 feet of sight distance from the curb line. “There is sufficient time for a vehicle, if they see a person standing at that corner step off, for them to stop before they hit the pedestrian.”

Placing the crosswalk on the north side of the intersection, Keller said, would offer less sight distance because of the curve in the road and the obstructing vegetation.

At the request of Trawinski and planning board chairman Peter Kortright, Keller also agreed to investigate two other potential safety-enhancing options – speed tables on Plaza Road between Berdan Avenue and Fair Lawn Avenue, and higher-intensity street lighting to better illuminate the Ramsey Terrace crosswalk at night.

“Safety is the number one issue,” Kortright told Keller. “How you get there? You need to get there. Whether it’s speed tables, lighting, warning systems, ADA ramps. A number of things need to be looked at to ensure the safety of residents crossing Plaza. We don’t need additional liabilities.”

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

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es June 19, 2012 at 03:52 PM
My opinion, that was never the plan given the similarity to the 1986 attempt, the master plan still reflecting high density development despite the rezoning and the new-and-improved Guidelines with an entire new chapter on redevelopment that predated the contract. No tinfoil hat required.
Kathy Moore June 19, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Daly was R-1-1 which I think is four units per acre and Hayward was zoned industrial and become R-1-1 somehow it turned into 17 units per acre way beyond any single Radburn neighborhood. Please correct me if I am not accurate as I'm not reading this just pulling it from memory. True that no master plan was in place to prevent such poor planning.
Mei Won Sum June 19, 2012 at 05:26 PM
and to add insult to injury theyre building on a field. what a bunch of idiots. i guess the RA really doesn't give a s**t about kids or sports.
Deleted because of harassment June 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Haywood was zoned as either B-1 or B-2, but was grandfathered as a non-conforming use, since neither of those were industrial - the majority of the tract was used as offices, within conformity of the zoning. The majority of the land was zoned R-1,(as are almost every park in Fair Lawn, in the piss-poor master plan), so it's not the absence of a master plan, but the abscence of zoning to protect parkland, as if it's still 1940 and we have plenty of open space. The comment about the 1986 attempt reminds me of why Orlando was laying out her guns for a web article that mentioned it and referenced the NY Times articles about it. She wanted it to sink into oblivion while the dirty dead was being done for real. Well, all these years later, we still have no revised master plan, no accounting for parks and more and more zoning challenges seeking to turn what little plan there is on it's ass and fill every inch with converted brownfields deemed safe to live on on paper, and we all know how much paper safety is worth, as those people living on the DuPont site in Pompton Lakes, or who bought into the scenicly named Love Canal near Niagara...Now here's a plan to build a brownfield with nearly a century of industrial use, next to a site being remediated, with a known plume of carcinogens, next to the train tracks, where the only remaining park land will be, ironic enough, for little children presumably living over the brownfield. Mud pie, kiddies?
Phil Kestenbaum June 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Well said D. The potential contamination issue has been buried for some time, 'oh it's fine, it's been checked out, approved, etc.' It should be noted that there will be an increase in pedestrian traffic on Plaza road as well. This will also increase likelihood of accidents. People turning onto Plaza by car, have to wait longer when there are more pedestrians walking, using the same streeets. Due to increased cars and accessability, people waiting a very long time to access a road tend to get annoyed and take risks. Lot of children walk in this area to school.

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