Thanks to the hard work, dedication and tenacity of our neighbors, we have presented a detailed response to the plans to both Monmouth County, and Tinton Falls .
What you will find below is not our opinion or our feelings about this plan- this is a factual rebuttal to the flawed plans that Monmouth County presented to the Tinton Falls Council.
It should also be stated as Sycamore Avenue and Hance Avenues are County roads (and the County can do as they wish), the Northern part of Hope Road (between Sycamore and Tinton Avenue) is currently not a County Road.
The word currently is italicized because in the County's future plan, they identify Hope Road (between Sycamore and Tinton Ave) as a road they want to take over from Tinton Falls. Monmouth County does control Hope Road between Tinton Avenue and Rt 36, which is incidentally, a four lane road with a center turning lane.
It wont be long after the Sycamore Avenue "improvement", that Hope Road will become a four lane road all the way from Rt 36 to Sycamore Avenue, a highway to move commercial vehicles on the North/South corridor. They won't tell us this at meetings, and they certainly won't tell our council members, but its what this entire discussion is hinged upon. Once the first domino falls, there will be no stopping it.
SOME MORE FACTS FROM OUR RESEARCH WITH PROVEN DATA
MONMOUTH COUNTY WILL NOT ANSWER
1. There are 2 signs along Sycamore, one just before the curve traveling east indicating a curve 25mph, and the other just before intersection at Hance traveling west indicating intersection 35mph, are just warning signs - not enforceable speed reduction signs. So the entirety of Sycamore in TF is 40mph. This info comes from the Manual on Uniform Control Traffic Devices (MUCTD)- this is one of the resources relied upon by the County.
2. The MUCTD states that before a traffic signal is installed, implementation of mitigation methods should be tried and analyzed for effectiveness. We know of only one mitigation improvement performed in the past 6 years and that was the re-marking at Sycamore/Hance that seems to have significantly reduced the frequency of cars passing along the shoulder of the vehicle attempting to make a left onto Hance. Note that the crash data has decreased significantly for 2017.
Thus, the County should continue to employ mitigation efforts and assess effectiveness in lowering the crash rate. If the average speed along Sycamore is within acceptable range of the 40mph and the crash data remains above acceptable levels, then lowering the speed limit is a very practical step to take by the County in an effort to assess the effectiveness on the crash rate. (MUCTD)
The County could also adjust the signal timing at the Sycamore/Hope light to create a delay of movement for all traffic by a few seconds to allow a clearing out of vehicles at the Sycamore/Hance intersection.
Note- this is “guidance” not a mandate but it is practical and low cost, and if safety is the issue, these mitigation methods are “no-brainers”. Analysis would occur over a period of 3 years.
3. At the presentation meeting in May, the County said they intended to signalize the 2 lights to ensure a “continuance flow of vehicles at 40mph”. They had not considered the ingress/egress safety issues this would place on the homeowners with driveways located in that zone. The placement of the turning lane in the middle of Sycamore is 2 lanes away from the effected driveways. According to MUCTD, it provides guidance that says you should NOT install traffic lights with this signalization unless they are a minimum of 1000 feet apart. Our intersections are 500 feet apart. This is a safety risk for all- the homeowners and the vehicles traversing through this segment.
4. Use of crash data....the County collected annual historical crash data and put it on a chart with the statement that “crashes increased as traffic volume increased” but they did not provide the corresponding annual traffic volume counts. We located official NJDOT traffic counts for 2012 and 2015 that indicated an 18% reduction along Sycamore and a 9% reduction along Hope; Hance had no change in volume.
According to the Highway Safety Manual, the other resource relied upon by the County, there is an entire statistical analysis that should be performed using the empirical data in the County’s possession. The County should not only tell us what the crash rate IS but also what it PREDICTS it would be if implement speed reduction, or signaling change at Hope light. AND, it should also be able to PREDICT what it will be by installing a traffic light. IN ADDITION, the formulas are so sophisticated that they could also account for the driveways along the segment. We didn’t see any evidence of this being performed.
The research continues to support, unfortunately, that safety is NOT a concern of the County - but it should be our Council’s concern.