Allentown officials working out details of traffic initiatives

ALLENTOWN – Mayor Thomas Fritts said he is committed to making 2021 “the year of traffic enforcement” in Allentown.

During the Oct. 13 meeting of the mayor and Borough Council, Fritts discussed two traffic enforcement initiatives municipal officials have been attempting to advance in recent years.

One initiative involves local speed enforcement zones and the second initiative involves the enforcement of a truck ban on municipal streets in the borough.

Council members have voted to pursue both initiatives through the passage of legislation, but the real effort lies in addressing the details of making the legislation workable, according to Fritts.

Regarding the speed enforcement zones, Fritts said Borough Attorney Greg Cannon is “communicating with Monmouth County officials to get approval to enforce the zones on county roads that are patrolled by the Allentown Police Department. Tickets that are issued to violators in the speed enforcement zones will have a mandatory court appearance.”

Fritts said the goal for municipal officials is to make violators realize that having to go to court to respond to a speeding ticket is not worth speeding through Allentown.

Cannon joined the discussion during the council meeting that was being held in a virtual manner and said signs that alert the motoring public to the establishment of speed enforcement zones and the enhanced penalties in those zones must be posted.

The attorney said signs that have to be posted on county roads require approval from the county.

“It’s easy to come up with ideas” about what to do with traffic, “but the work to get it done takes time,” Fritts said. “We are committed to the speed enforcement zones.”

Regarding the truck ban on local roads, Fritts said the ordinance that established the truck ban required approval from the New Jersey Department of Transportation and he said the legislation lacked the specific engineering information that was needed.

“Where are we now? We are looking at that issue,” the mayor said. “How can we hold people accountable more than just by passing an ordinance?”

Cannon said the council’s policy of banning trucks on local roads “has to be backed up with engineering data. We know what we want, but the council will have to make some decisions.”