Ridge Traffic Options Ranging from Free to $1.1M in Online Report
Meeting next Monday to answer questions, accept public input.
A specially appointed Ridge Traffic task force has posted 13 options for alleviating morning traffic jam-ups at the entrance to Ridge High School on the Bernards Township website, including costs and pros and cons attached to each option.
Questions will be answered on the report, and additional public input accepted, at a public meeting of the task force scheduled for 7 p.m. next Monday at the Bernards Township municipal building, 1 Collyer Lane, in Basking Ridge, according to Bernards Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian.
The report is the work of several months of discussion, and a previous public input session, in which the task force looked at options presented by school officials, a consultant and members of the public — "basically, everything," said Bernards Township Mayor Carolyn Gaziano, one of the task force members.
The report does not select one option as that which should be implemented, although Gaziano said last week that the task force was leading in one direction.
The options range from leaving the status quo drop-off of Ridge school buses by the Cedar Hill Elementary School, requiring students to walk to the rear entry of the high school. That option, which has been used since February 2012, segregates buses and other vehicles, costs zero and is credited with providing some reduction in traffic entering the high school through the entrance at the South Finley Avenue and Lake Road intersection, the report points out.
However, the report acknowledges a major "con" with that plan as putting all the Ridge bus traffic on the roads through Homestead Village, a source of complaints for residents since the bus route was changed last year.
Taking traffic out of Homestead Village was cited as a "pro" in outlining the task force view of the other options.
The most expensive option outlined in the report was a $1,126,400 plan for the installation of another driveway, either one-way or two, by breaking through the stone wall off Collyer Lane, and leading that paved access to Ridge parking lots. That option was presented with multiple "cons," including adding traffic to Collyer Lane, destruction of aesthetics along with the wall, drainage and Master Plan issues, and more.
The option of having a one-way drive from town hall, either paved or gravel, was estimated at a cost of about $200,000, give or take depending on the drive's surface. But that too, was seen as having a negative impact on the municipal complex and possibly on Astor Field.
One option discussed was the creation of a new driveway with access to the back of parking lots C and D that would be installed on municipal property north of the Bernards Township health department building with an estimated cost of about $170,000.
The driveway would allow right turns only coming in for the morning, and also right turns only exiting onto South Finley in the afternoon. That option was seen as a way to completely segregate parent dropoff traffic from buses, although cons listed included change pattern of bus traffic through the Lake Road signal and additional use of municipal property.
Some of the 12 maps listed online were labeled with writing, while others indicated the proposed change in traffic management through drawings and arrows.
The report also included links to the Dolan & Dean traffic consultant reports from 2006 and 2012.