Students Get Their Way: 4-Way Stop To Be Put in at Forest and Chestnut Streets

The stop signs should go up after the Montclair Council passes the resolution on second reading on Feb. 5.


Montclair Cooperative School students won a four-way victory on Tuesday night. 

The student-lead effort to place a four-way stop at a hazardous intersection next to the school gained approval from the Montclair Council yesterday and is expected to be in place within a month. 

A new traffic study of the intersection at Chestnut and Forest streets found there to be slight change in the traffic flow since the study was last done in 2009, said Montclair Business Manager Marc Dashield. The new findings, he added, “meet the criteria” to warrant the installation of a four-way stop. 

“The biggest contributing factor is that [the intersection] is near a school,” said Dashield. 

The study’s findings came as welcome news to more than a dozen students and parents at the meeting, as well as 2nd Ward Councilor Robin Schlager, who discussed the issue at a 2nd Ward community meeting the previous night.  

“I would welcome a four-way stop there,” said Schlager. “... I saw firsthand; it is a dangerous situation.” 

Montclair Cooperative School and its athletic field is located around the intersection. The streets meet at the top of a steep hill on Chestnut Street, and there is also an overpass nearby which NJ Transit trains use. Ruthie’s Bar-B-Q & Pizza is located on another corner of the intersection.

The posting of a four-way stop at the intersection will bring a successful end to the student effort that began in the fall with a letter writing campaign by seventh- and eighth-graders. 

The resolution to add the stop signs to the area will be voted on at the next council meeting on Jan. 22. It will then go before the council for a second and final reading at the council conference on Feb. 5. Although it is unusual for the council to vote on agenda items during conference meetings, the council agreed to expedite the process. 

“The sooner the better,” said Deputy Mayor Robert Russo.

The resolution is required to take 20 days before it goes into effect. However, the council will accelerate the process and is expected to waive the waiting period so the stop signs can be installed soon after the resolution is passed on Feb. 5.  

montclair feed January 09, 2013 at 02:01 PM
IT is a very dangerous intersection and I applaud the move to put the four way stop signs
Liz Haigney Lynch January 09, 2013 at 05:18 PM
I agree it is a dangerous intersection. Personally, I would have applauded had the town made it a perennial speed trap; it was the perfect candidate for one. However, doubling up on four-way stops on a brief stretch of Chestnut should have been the last resort, not the first. To really emphasize safer streets townwide, how about a concerted effort at speed-trapping the known raceways, and ticketing motorists who don't yield at crosswalks all over Montclair -- not just the one in front of the Cooperative? We all deserve safer streets. I'd rather see the town really commit to concrete measures townwide aimed at making Montclair more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly, as opposed to scattershot responses to pressure campaigns, however well-meant and photogenic.
I'd-Rather-Be-at-63 January 09, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Liz, you are correct. This is town politics at its worse. If every parent sent their eighth-grade student to complain to the town council about never having been taught to properly cross a street, then Montclair could have four-way stop signs at every intersection. Take Gordenhurst & Grove Streets, a much more dangerous intersection without even a walkway indicated. Young children from our neighborhood cross there all the time to go play in Brookdale Park. Should we put a 4-way stop sign there. This is an inappropriate way to use children in politics and it is clearly costly and erroneous way to make traffic decisions within Montclair. The same argument could be used to put a red light with police officers on every corner in the town. Inevitably this will lead to more accidents at a soon to be uncontrolled intersection. Children should be able to cross the street responsibly. This will lead to increase costs in a debt-ridden town. But worse it shows an irresponsible pattern of decision-making at the level of the town council.
esther January 10, 2013 at 03:02 AM
The roadways and the rules of the road are only the tip of the iceberg in this town the land of entitlement. Roads are studied for years not simply months when changes are being considered- where are the numbers? criteria? who did the study? There is already a four-way at the bottom of that hill and the traffic jam from that is horrendous in the morning. This does not make sense.
A. Gideon January 10, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Traffic builds up on Grove near Watchung thanks to the light there; this is not used as an excuse to remove the light. Multiple and repeating backups are caused by buses on Grove; again, this is no excuse to remove the law about not passing buses with the flashing lights. That intersection is dangerous not because people don't cross correctly but because of the obscured view. I come close to treating it as a 4-way stop anyway, just because I wouldn't approach too quickly an intersection I cannot clearly see. The speed trap idea isn't a bad one, but that doesn't do anything to slow drivers not yet aware of it. More, unless we're going to dedicate a police officer to the intersection, this would serve only in the short term. Still, in general, I like the idea of more active enforcement of speeding (etc.) regulations throughout town. If we're to believe that protecting one intersection will prevent people from crossing other unprotected intersections safely, then why not rid ourselves of all safety-related regulations, thereby making us all more safe? If we eliminate any sense of entitltement to safety, then we'll all be more careful. An efficient beginning for this would be to eliminate speed limits and stop signs/lights on any streets near schools. That will let our kids get a true sense for avoiding being hit. ...Andrew
I'd-Rather-Be-at-63 January 11, 2013 at 12:18 AM
We should all send our 8th graders to have the Town Council set its agenda and make decisions. If you cross at the cross walks your view is not obscured. Arguing the ridiculous ("eliminate speed limits and stop signs/lights on any streets near schools") does not contribute to a reasonable discussion. Take the corner of Gordenhurst and Grove. There is not even a cross walk indicated there. It is very difficult to see traffic at certain times of day and in certain light. Neighborhood children cross there often to go to Brookdale Park. Should we not put in a 4-way stop sign there? Or perhaps another traffic light to make things really safe? We can reasonably argue this about any number of corners in Montclair. Putting in a 4-way stop at the corner of Chestnut and Forest will likely increase accidents there. Or we could just ensure that our children learn how to cross streets responsibly. By the way, what is on the other side of that street for an 8th grader? Pizza? The real problem behind this is the irresponsible way the Town Council sets its agenda and takes decisions.
scarletxknight January 11, 2013 at 03:23 AM
as someone who lives at that intersection, i would have much rather a "no parking" sign on the right side going towards park st. as that blocks vision of oncoming traffic if your coming out of forest street. no parking on a hill like that would make things easier year round for residents and sept-june for kids alike. I think its a good idea to have a four way stop for the sake of cars coming in/out or turning into/out of forest st.
montclair feed January 11, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Shame on the Council Person that refused this request because he / said that it was all about going to lunch at the Pizzeria. The post "Land of Entitlement" is also right on. I was raised to look both ways before crossing. LOL . Children are to respect their elders (authority). I saw and heard a kid say to his Mother " wait ten minutes" when she said "let's go",,, Now that you got me started... On my block, there's a parent that has singlehandedly encouraged kids to walk/run/skateboard/bicycle in the street with NO regard to traffic and not wearing helmets !!! and dare traffic.
mandy January 11, 2013 at 06:22 PM
I also learned stop at the corner, look both ways, if NO CAR IS COMING....cross. NEVER cross unless a driver has seen you, and signaled for you to go. Cross on the light. Never walk between parked cars....and that means YOU! Mothers who have babies in strollers. I've seen countless Moms crossing between parked cars pushing strollers....seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were pushing their children into traffic in front of them. Side note: saw a Mom with baby strapped to her chest cross by Forest/Chestnut today. She crossed a little farther down the hill towards the HS, out of the crosswalk by 5-10 feet....which also would have made it physically impossible for any car coming down Chestnut towards the HS to see her before it was too late. Thank God she wasn't hit. THEN we'd get a stop light there.
Audrey Lynn Wanich January 14, 2013 at 12:17 PM
This town was not designed for so many cars and buses to be driving through it. We need lights, stop signs, speed traps at so many intersections we'd never get to our destination. Sometimes the solution is not about adding but about subtracting.
A. Gideon January 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM
"If you cross at the cross walks your view is not obscured. " I meant that, as a driver, my view is obscured. That is why, as I wrote, I approach that intersection on Chestnut as if there were a stop sign there already. ...Andrew


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