Metuchen gains state support for 25 mph speed limit on length of Route 27, work on flashing crosswalks begin

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The long awaited installation of flashing crosswalks at five locations in Metuchen began on April 29. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOROUGH OF METUCHEN
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The long awaited installation of flashing crosswalks at five locations in Metuchen began on April 29. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOROUGH OF METUCHEN
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The long awaited installation of flashing crosswalks at five locations in Metuchen began on April 29. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOROUGH OF METUCHEN
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The long awaited installation of flashing crosswalks at five locations in Metuchen began on April 29. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOROUGH OF METUCHEN

METUCHEN – Just a few months after the entire lengths of all county roads in Metuchen had been reduced to 25 miles per hour, it is expected a length of state Route 27 will follow suit.

To say Mayor Jonathan Busch, Council President Linda Koskoski and members of the council are ecstatic would be an understatement.

Borough officials had a meeting with state Sen. Patrick Diegnan’s (D-18) office on Feb. 25 and laid out information on why the speed limit on Route 27 should be lowered. Koskoski said a lot of the information was from their research for making their case to lower speed limits on county roads.

“I did not really expect much to come out of [the meeting] because it was such a long process to get a change on our county roads,” Koskoski said. “To our surprise we got a letter [on April 24] from [state officials] saying they were willing to work with us after they did their traffic study.”

Koskoski, who has championed to change speed limits to 25 miles per hour borough-wide, said the expected reduction is from Kentnor Street near the Metuchen First Aid Squad to Oak Avenue by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

“This is just piece of the puzzle on things we need to make our roads safe,” she said. “But it’s a large piece, which can be enforced by our police department. If we can slow traffic down, it will go a long way towards making our roads safer.”

The Borough Council approved an ordinance to reduce the speed limits on the entire lengths of all county roads, Amboy Avenue, Central Ave, Main Street, Middlesex Avenue, New Durham Road, Plainfield Avenue, Plainfield Road and Woodbridge Avenue in November 2019.

The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders followed approving the measure through a resolution. The speed limit changes on the county roads took effect on Feb. 14.

Borough officials said collaborative efforts among county, borough officials and grassroots groups have led the borough to become “almost” 25 miles per hour borough wide.

The Borough Council is expected to approve a resolution supporting the speed limit change to 25 miles per hour on the portion of Route 27 at a meeting on May 11. Borough Attorney Denis Murphy said the resolution would be sent to the New Jersey Department of Transportation for approval of a traffic regulation order.

Murphy said once a traffic regulation order is sent back to the borough, officials can adopt an ordinance of the speed limit change.

In other traffic news, the long awaited installation of flashing crosswalks at five locations in the borough began on April 29.

The Borough Council, at a meeting on March 9, approved a resolution authorizing the award of a construction contract in the amount not to exceed $483,325.40 to JC Contracting Inc., Rahway, for the installation of flashing crosswalks at five locations in the borough – Grove Avenue and Christol Street, Main and High streets, Main Street and Brunswick Avenue, Central Avenue and Liberty Street, and Route 27 and Oak Avenue.

The pedestrian safety improvements have been a component of the borough’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety in the borough and date back to 2015 when the borough applied for the federal Safe Routes to Schools grant. The Traffic and Transportation Committee identified the five locations as the most critical locations for the installation of the flashing crosswalks.

Since the grant involved federal funds, the process has been delayed and has been subject to numerous bureaucratic reviews and authorizations.

The project is expected to take approximately two months to complete.