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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.”

, 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.

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John Romano October 18, 2012 at 01:15 PM
......simply amazing how quickly the gears start to turn when votes hang in the balance.
AWeisberg October 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Whether the speed limit was 40, 25, or 55, this tragedy could not have been prevented. The driver lost control of her car and drove up on the sidewalk because of her dog. Lowering the speed limit isn't going to prevent that. That being said, maybe now the State DOT will allow the Township to lower it making people who walk/live in that neighborhood feel safer. After last year's accident where 2 pedestrians were struck because they stepped into the road, the Township did studies and tried to lower it, but the State said they couldn't do it because people weren't speeding on the road. Hopefully now the DOT will actually listen. It's not the Town's fault. They did the studies last year, but the data wasn't enough to lower it.
Dan F October 18, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I saw the dog and pony show in action on a recent holiday when police were patrolling several intersections on Ryder's lane.
Christopher October 18, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I agree that the speed limit is not the problem on Dunhams Corner Road, and that this is just a bunch of pandering before an election. I hope they are unsuccessful in getting the speed limit lowered. There are more effective ways to make DCR safer, but lowering the speed limit is not one of them.
Rose October 18, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Maybe it's time to find better ways to properly secure pets in vehicles. Pets and drivers should be safe when driving.
Christopher October 18, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Bingo.
Jean Vitta October 19, 2012 at 09:39 AM
If 85% of cars were driving the legal limit and the other 15% 3 miles over it seems that drivers are obeying the speed limit. Why make the road four lanes instead of two which narrows the road and possibly creating greater risk to pedestrians and drivers? I would also like to know the number of school children crossing the the road who attend after school activities. The pedestrian count was only done one one day.
Patty October 20, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Another road where the speed limit should be 25 mph is the Hammarskjold school area/Rues lane. With over 50 driveways, a school that children walk to and from and a busy intersection where many accidents have occured lets not wait for a fatality to address this. It's more like 75% of drivers speed on this road throughout the day and night. I have been living and driving on it for 35 years and see this everyday. And to all that say lowering the speed limit would not prevent accidents do the research! That driver with the dog might have been able to react more positively at a slower speed. When the speed limit is 25 mph drivers go 30 35 mph, when It's 35 mph drivers do 40 45 mph knowing the police rarely give out a ticket for 5 to 10 miles over the speed limit! All heavily traveled residential roads should be 25 mph. Safety needs to be a # 1 priority.

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