In the latest meeting of the Montvale Borough Council, the foremost concern was the precarious intersection at Kinderkamack Road and Magnolia Avenue. Over 18 months, the location has been a hotspot for accidents, with three significant incidents raising the community’s alarm.
The accidents include one where a car flipped just south of Magnolia Avenue and two instances where vehicles broke through fences, landing on residential properties. In one particularly harrowing event, a car went far enough into a property to strike a child’s playset.
This streak of accidents prompted serious deliberations between Borough staff, the police department, and the county’s engineering department. While the borough has already replaced the existing yield sign with a stop sign, the council considered various other safety enhancements.
The region is described as having a visually cluttered landscape, given its close-knit buildings, businesses, and gas station.
Proposals to make the intersection safer included introducing shoulder striping, slow signage, and chevrons to guide vehicles around sharp turns. Additionally, to prevent cars from crashing into residential zones, the council discussed the possibility of a barrier or guide rail, although designing it posed its set of challenges due to the non-standard nature of the intersection and pre-existing obstacles.
One council member candidly remarked, “I’m glad to see something’s being done. It’s a bad intersection… that is a major safety issue.” This sentiment was bolstered by an anecdote shared of cars ignoring the intersection’s yield signs, even in the presence of ten individuals and a uniformed officer.
The council’s attention then pivoted to other resolutions, primarily concerning the overpayment of taxes due to veteran exempt statuses for Jerry Errer and Steven Dominick. Both resolutions were approved, though Council Member Dieter Koelling abstained from the vote.
Police Commissioner Coley’s report highlighted Montvale Police Department’s activities and statistics for the preceding month. There was an evident surge in false alarms, both residential and commercial, which he found unusually high.
A significant concern for some attendees was traffic associated with a proposed distribution center. Resident Bob Chiquino passionately voiced concerns about traffic studies related to the project, alleging data manipulation to favor the new project. Chiquino emphasized the potential hazards of large trucks navigating the narrow Old Schoolhouse Road, stating, “The thought of two tractor trailers passing on that road… it would be dangerous and probably could cause an accident.”