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DOT: Linwood has not requested signal at Mainland Regional

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Some parents and neighbors are calling for traffic safety improvements on New Road near Mainland Regional High School in the wake of an accident in which a student was struck by a car in November.

Calls for a traffic light there gained new urgency after a high school student was badly hurt when struck by a vehicle while crossing New Road, as Route 9 is known in that area.

The student’s name was not released by the school or local officials, and little information has been released about the student’s condition, although Mayor Darren Matik said last week the student’s condition was improving.

Some neighbors and parents have cited the Nov. 8 accident as indication that a light is needed in the middle of the block across from the high school, where they say many drivers travel fast and families and students often cross the street, day and night.

There is a marked crosswalk at the site, and lighted crosswalks at nearby intersections. Matik said the city had requested a light at the crossing closest to the school but was told one could not be placed in the middle of the block.

Judith Drucker, the DOT’s public information officer, contradicted the mayor’s account in an email Tuesday.

“The town never raised the topic of a traffic signal mid-block on Route 9 near the high school,” she wrote.

Matik was not immediately available to respond.

In 2019, Linwood representatives and officials with the DOT met to discuss a study on pedestrian needs completed several years earlier.

“The study did not include a recommendation for a traffic signal, and the town did not request one,” Drucker wrote.

After the meeting, she said, the DOT did complete pedestrian safety improvements recommended in the study, including a new flashing beacon at Monroe Avenue, with a button pedestrians can push to activate the lights and improve visibility, new “school ahead” warning signs and improved pavement markings.

While some neighbors have argued the area is not safe for students or pedestrians, Linwood police indicate there do not appear to be more accidents in that area than in other sections of the city.

If a municipality wants a traffic signal on a state road, they write a formal letter of request to the DOT, Drucker said. The department then begins a study of whether a signal is warranted.

“If so, NJDOT provides an estimate for the cost of the project and the municipality is responsible for a 25% cost share,” Drucker wrote in the email. “Once the municipality agrees to the work, NJDOT finalizes the signal design and provides a more detailed cost estimate. Once the municipality passes a resolution of support and signs a cost sharing agreement, the work is scheduled.”

Some neighbors and parents indicated they plan to attend to the next City Council meeting, planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 400 Poplar Ave., to discuss the issue and call for more traffic safety measures.

Contact Bill Barlow:


Twitter @jerseynews_bill

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