Township May Consider Lower Speed Limit on Dunhams
The township is in the process of reviewing Dunhams Corner Road from Crystal Springs to Cranbury Road, and from there on to the East Brunswick High School.
Director of Planning and Engineering Greg Potkulski plans on asking the Township Council to decrease the speed limit on portions of Dunham’s Corner Road.
Potkulski addressed the council on Monday to talk about a study of the road and as part of a bigger update on the tragic accident that occurred at the intersection of Dunhams Corner Road and Hardenburg Lane in September.
“The Monday following the accident, we started to gather whatever data we could,” said. “We’re not just looking at the accident scene, but from Crystal Springs all the way to Cranbury Road and the high school, just so we could get a bigger picture of what’s going on overall.”
On Sept. 15, five pedestrians were walking home from Young Israel of East Brunswick when they were hit by a car driven by Naglaa H. Armanious, 49, of East Brunswick, at the intersection of Dunhams Corner Road and Hardenburg Lane. According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Armanious may have had a pet dog loose in her car at the time of the accident.
Following the accident, Sari F. Horowitz, 51, and her husband, Ari D. Horowitz, also 51, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their son, Amiad, 27, and two others—a 52-year old man and his 50-year-old wife whose names have not been released—were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital to be treated for serious injuries. The accident prompted the township to study the roadway and to step up safety patrols in the area.
According to Potkulski’s report, traffic counts show that 13,000 vehicles pass in front of Young Israel of East Brunswick every day, about twice as many as the number of vehicles passing on the other side of the road, north of Ryders Lane. A manual count of pedestrian traffic showed that 575 people pedestrians walked through the area during a three our period on a Saturday.
Among the recommendations Potkulski expects to make to the Township Council in November are a lowering of the speed limit, changing the road from two large lanes to four narrower lanes to slow traffic, adding a pedestrian camera detection system at the Ryders Lane and Hardenburg Lane lights, and increased lighting at several intersections.
According to Potkulski’s report, 85 percent of drivers travelled 40 mph on Dunhams Corner Road near Young Israel, which is the posted limit, and 43 mph on the other side of the road past Ryders Lane. However, a request to change the speed limit would also include other factors, he said, including residential density, pedestrian usage, surrounding schools and whether or not the road is designed for that type of speed.
“At this point I can say that the report is three quarters of the way done,” he said. “We’re waiting for additional data, but will recommend, hopefully, at the first meeting in November the lowering of the speed limit. To what I can’t tell.”
Mayor David Stahl said the township is constantly evaluating the safety of all its roads with regards to car and pedestrian traffic. He also said he would like to install solar powered speed limit signs along Dunhams Corner Road before the winter. The signs would indicate the posted speed limit while also alerting drivers about what speed they are driving at the time.
William Krause, deputy chief and director of the East Brunswick Police Department, told the council Monday that the department immediately instituted a zero tolerance policy in the area following the accident, a policy that remains in place. Educational opportunities also have been taken, including short videos on pedestrian safety that will be broadcast on EBTV.
“The message we’re sending clearly is that we are not going to tolerate people not driving in a safe manner in the township, and if that means you receive a summons, then so be it,” he said.
At the start of Monday’s meeting, Mayor Stahl read a proclamation commending the rescue workers who responded to the accident.
Austin Kosik, manager of the office of emergency management, also was able to provide a snapshot of what happened in the moments that followed the accident. He said the township received 31 9-11 calls in a little over two minutes, 24 from cell phones. Of those calls, only six had to go to an alternate location because of the flood of calls. Responding within 15 minutes were five ambulances, two paramedics, two fire engines, police, and the utilities workers.
All three fire districts, the East Brunswick Police Department, East Brunswick Rescue Squad, Spotswood First Aid Squad, Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics and the Department of Parks and Recreatino all responded to the emergency.