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The intersection of Orange Road, High Street and Irving Street in Montclair’s south end is seen here on Friday, April 20. Councilwoman Renee Baskerville said earlier this month that several south end residents have raised concerns about accidents and near-misses at the intersection.
PHOTO BY ERIN ROLL/STAFF

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

The number of accidents at the curvy intersection at Orange Road, High Street and Irving Street have residents asking for the town to implement traffic calming measures.

Between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2017, there have been a total of 21 accidents at the intersection, said Police Lt. David O’Dowd. Numbers for 2018 were not available, but an April 6 accident in which a car blew through the High Street stop sign and was hit by a vehicle traveling on Orange Road has residents once again asking for traffic calming measures.

Orange Road is county-owned and any changes require county implementation. Last year, the county installed bump outs after residents lobbied for them and Montclair offered to handle the snow plowing along that section of the road, Councilwoman Renée Baskerville said. Two flashing curb signals were also installed, but one is now missing after being damaged in a winter storm.

The bump outs are not having the intended effect of encouraging traffic to slow down, Baskerville said.

Over the last month, several residents have reached out to Baskerville sending her photos of accidents at the intersection they are calling dangerous.

There is little distance between the stoplight in the center of the south end business district and the intersection, Baskerville said. “You have to wonder, are they just gunning it?” she asked.

Boris Schaefer and his family have lived on Irving Street since 2011. “We’ve seen so many accidents, like all the time there’s an accident,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer described a near miss last year for two middle school-age girls crossing Orange Road from High Street. As a car stopped at the walkway to let the girls pass, another car coming southbound on Orange Road crashed into the back of the stopped car. A few seconds sooner, he said, the girls might have been hit.

Another incident resulted in a car ending up in Toney’s Brook after it took the bend of Orange Road too fast, he said.

He said Baskerville has been responsive in listening to residents’ concerns about the intersection, but the intersection needs addressing.

The Orange Road intersection has not been mentioned at recent Drive With Care in Montclair meetings, Chair Alexandra Kent said. However, she said that she would bring up the intersection at a subsequent meeting.

Debra Kagan and Nick de Toustain of Bike and Walk Montclair said they were not aware of any issues with the intersection either.

On Montclair’s Safe Streets for Everyone report, released last year, Orange Road is classified as a Typology II road, a minor arterial corridor, from the Orange town line to where the street connects with Elm Street. For streets of that type, the reports recommends that Montclair look to such improvements as designated bicycle lanes and sharrows, more prominent pedestrian signals and traffic calming devices such as curb extensions, narrower travel lanes and more visible road striping.

The town was in the process of replacing the sign when Kim Craft stepped down as township engineer.

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