In a recent Leonia Borough Council meeting, the council grappled with perennially thorny issues of local traffic management. However, the focus of the discourse was a novel approach: training and utilizing Special Law Enforcement Officers (SLEOs) as part of a volunteer initiative to manage local traffic and issue summonses.
As unpaid volunteers, these SLEOs, after undergoing an 80-hour class and receiving additional town-specific training, could help offset traffic enforcement costs. This program was also viewed as a potential stepping stone for those considering a career in law enforcement.
As part of a larger, multi-pronged solution, the council also addressed the increasingly problematic traffic situation, acknowledging both the need for preventative measures to limit incoming traffic and for enforcement efforts to maintain order within the town.
The council discussed traffic management on Fort Lee Road. Despite their disputes with the county over the power to close lanes or alter traffic flow on this crucial route, they maintained that they should have emergency control. A council member outlined a traffic mitigation plan, emphasizing manual control during heavy traffic times to prevent gridlock.
The meeting also featured discussions about the potential implementation of speed humps. The cost of a 14.5-foot-long speed bump was quoted as around $3,000. Despite concerns about potential road or vehicle damage and increased noise for residents, speed humps were conceded as a possible solution to mitigate speeding on side streets.
The council further deliberated on the possible use of concrete barriers (K-rails), deploying traffic officers, or using community accounts on the Waze app to manage road closures. They stressed the need for coordination with neighboring jurisdictions, Fort Lee and Englewood, to ensure that their efforts did not inadvertently worsen congestion in neighboring areas.
Aside from traffic concerns, a variety of other topics were broached. The council approved various resolutions, including one amending salaries and wages for certain borough employees. Another resolution authorized GZA remediation reporting, and the council introduced an ordinance creating a new chapter in borough code for “Tools and Equipment,” which established usage restrictions.
A diverse array of community outreach activities was reported, including participation in the law enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics and a Pride Celebration. On the lighter side, the Leonia Borough Council confirmed their intention to attend an event hosted by the Soulful Hearts Association on July 30th, aiming to promote diversity, inclusivity, and civic engagement.
While the municipal building project was reportedly progressing on schedule and significantly under budget, there were ongoing concerns about traffic and signage. In the realm of facilities, there was a suggestion to repave the library lot in tandem with the new municipal lot, following an upgrade of the library’s phone system that will save approximately $6,600 per year.
Finally, the council lauded the council’s five interns, three in the DPW and two in administration. The council secured grant funding of $12,000, which will support the interns, showing their commitment to fostering the next generation of public servants.