What's With Those Cones?
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
by Kim Bogosian
This is Rutherford asked Chief John Russo about those orange cones that popped up around the WWI Monument at the intersection of Park Ave and West Passaic Street in December. The cones have since been removed but a second set of cones are likely to return after
after the engineer draws up new plans.
This is Rutherford: What is the purpose of the cones?
Chief Russo: The cones simulate changes to the intersection prior to construction so if there are issues observed that we did not anticipate, we can make adjustments with a simple engineering plan.
TIR: What kinds of problems were you seeing that make it necessary to rethink the pedestrian walkway?
Chief Russo: The #1 issue, pedestrian safety. With the current layout, we have pedestrians in a crosswalk that is longer than any other crosswalk I am aware of here in Bergen County.
The # 2 issue would be traffic calming. Without lane delineations and such a large area for vehicle travel, we see vehicles trying to beat oncoming traffic and cutting the turns extremely short, either too close to the monument or too close to the respective corners. The turns from West Passaic Avenue to Park Avenue, or from Park Avenue to West Passaic Avenue should be more of a controlled perpendicular turn as opposed to what we are seeing now.
TIR: How was the first cone pattern received and what will the next one look like?
Chief Russo: It was a bit of a shock for drivers, but without a doubt it help the pedestrians with crossing. We did notice during the peak traffic times, vehicular traffic was backed up a little more than what we see now, but to me I will always err on the side of pedestrian safety over traffic flow, although both are important to me. As for drivers, it appeared they understood the delineations without much discourse about the plan.
TIR: What can pedestrians and drivers do to make the "circle" safer for now?
Chief Russo: When crossing, pedestrians should use restraint when utilizing smart devises, and anticipate the several different directions vehicular traffic can come from. Do not suspect drivers see you, always cross defensively.
Drivers need to slow down, put down devices, and stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk (any crosswalk). If a driver isn’t sure if a pedestrian is looking to cross or is in a crosswalk, err on the side of caution and stop.
TIR: What steps will be taken once its determined what cone pattern works?
Chief Russo: That will be up to the Mayor and Council to determine what layout they prefer, and what one will be financially doable and responsible.