Some of Montclair’s youngest called on the council once again for safer streets by placing a four-way stop at a precarious intersection in the 2nd Ward.
Jonah Zinn, an eighth-grader at the Montclair Cooperative School, stood up at the 2nd Ward community meeting last night and asked Councilor Robin Schlager to situate an all-way stop at the intersection of Chestnut and Forest streets.
“It’s a very high traffic area,” said Jonah Zinn, “and the cars come up the hill and don’t see anything.”
Montclair Cooperative School is located practically all around the intersection, with the school on one side and the athletic field on another. The intersection is also at the top of a steep hill on Chestnut Street, at the bottom of which run NJ Transit train track along a narrow overpass less than 250 feet away. Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q & Pizza is located on another corner of the intersection.
Those calling for a four-way stop increased their volume this week after a pedestrian was hit by a car crossing the intersection on Jan. 2. The pedestrian was sent to a local area hospital with minor foot injuries, according to Montclair Police.
“It’s not just the responsibility of the township but the citizens to do something about this,” said eighth-grader Maggie Lukenda at the meeting. “It could have been any of us,” referring to the recent accident.
Schlager agreed with the students that something should be done.
“There are a lot of dangerous situations [at the intersection], especially during drop-off and pick-up,” said Schlager.
Business Manager Marc Dashield said the township engineer is currently doing a traffic survey on the intersection and the results will be discussed at the council meeting on Tuesday.
“That should be really helpful to see what the engineer came up with,” added Schlager.
This was not the first time students from the cooperative school urged the council to act. In the fall, eighth- and seventh-graders at the Montclair Cooperative School organized a letter campaign calling on the council to place stop signs at the intersection. And more recently Jonah Zinn, Maggie Lukenda and other students spoke at council meeting.
Deputy Mayor Robert Russo was in attendance and agreed with the students.
“I support your effort with the stop sign,” said Russo. “Even before we get [the engineer's] evidence, I think there is enough already.”