Update: Ordinance Would Ban Left Turns From Three Streets Onto Easton Avenue

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker said that township police will continue to monitor three streets that empty onto Easton Avenue.

Update: The Township Council passed the ordinance on second reading at its Nov. 8 meeting.

The new rules go into effect immediately. Township manager Robert Vornlocker said the striping and signage could go up as soon as Nov. 9, weather permitting.

In response to a question from a resident, Vornlocker said that one reason the county has not installed a cement barrier along all of Easton Avenue, as it has done in spots, is the “infrastructure work” that would be needed.

Vornlocker said the road is not wide enough in spots to accommodate a cement barrier, and would have to be widened.

“It’s a big project,” he said.

The township ordinance was done in conjunction with the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, which passed an ordinance banning left turns from Easton Avenue onto the three streets.

Original Story: Left turns from three streets onto Easton Avenue would be prohibited under an ordinance introduced at the Oct. 23 Township Council meeting.

The ordinance would ban left turns onto Easton from Walnut Avenue, Culver Street and Lakeside Road.

The ordinance, which township officials said had been under development for years, comes in the wake of an Oct. 4 accident at Culver and Easton in which a 59-year-old Clinton woman was killed and two other people injured.

The ordinance was a “joint effort between the township and the county,” Township Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5) said. Easton Avenue is a county road.

“That ordinance was actually recommended back eight, nine years ago in an Easton Avenue corridor study and has been talked about in various times for years now,” he said.

“Most of the problems on Easton will not be solved by that ordinance, but it’s a start,” he said. “We’re gong to try to engage the county with more initiatives. I know the police are committed to focus as much of their efforts as they can to creating a better environment.”

All three of the targeted intersections “conform with accepted engineering,” Township Manager Robert Vornlocker said. “The accident history at those intersections is relatively minor.”

“Over the last three years each of them has experienced very few right-angle accidents as far as right turn out or left turn out,” he said. “Most accidents along the Easton Avenue corridor are rear-end accidents at low speed given the volume of traffic on the peak hours.”

“Given the volume of traffic, it makes it very difficult to make a left turn out, because of the need to cross traffic and then make a merge into the traffic direction that you’re traveling,” he said. “The experience that the Police Department has had as far as accidents are concerned and the volume of traffic that leaves those side streets would lead one to conclude that there is very little issue as far as that is concerned.”

“I think that in this particular case, the proper course of action is being taken,” Vornlocker said. “If that doesn’t seem to address the situation at those intersections, there are other actions that can be taken.”

A second reading and public hearing on the ordinance will be held at the council’s first November meeting.


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