Stop signs go up on Glenridge Avenue at North Willow Street … then come down
By JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
When two stop signs were installed last week on Glenridge Avenue at the corner of North Willow Street in Montclair, some residents and shop owners rejoiced.
La Fontaine Cafe owner Pinar Favlioglu said she has witnessed two accidents at the corner since she moved into the business on North Willow Street last October. Glenridge Avenue resident Nat Testa said he has been asking the township to make the intersection a four-way stop for three years, calling Glenridge Avenue a “jetway” for motorists who want to avoid Bloomfield Avenue. There had already been stop signs at the intersection for drivers on North Willow Street.
Then on Tuesday, Feb. 23, the new stop signs on Glenridge Avenue were suddenly bagged, and on Wednesday they completely disappeared. However, the stop signs on North Willow Street had also been updated, marking the intersection as an all-way stop — and that updated signage remained.
Favlioglu said she was only told by township employees who bagged the signs that they were not permitted.
Testa said he had been “thrilled” to finally see the signs erected, but disappointed that they were bagged.
Township Communications Director Katya Wowk told Montclair Local this week the developer of the Seymour Street housing, office and retail redevelopment project, near the Wellmont Theater, had erected the signs — the four-way stop was required as part of the approval of the project. But the Township Council hadn't yet passed an ordinance allowing for the four-way stop, she said. That's expected to get a vote March 15.
Wowk said she's not sure who took them down entirely, but that it didn't seem to be a township department.
The signage for a four-way stop was required as part of the approval of the Seymour Street housing, office and retail redevelopment project, near the Wellmont Theater. The developers also expanded the Midtown Parking Deck on Glenridge Avenue.
The intersection is dangerous, Testa said. The stop sign on the eastern side of North Willow Street, where construction has been ongoing for three years, is located a few feet behind the front of the building under construction, and motorists have a hard time seeing around the corner, he said.
According to Lt. Stephanie Egnezzo, the Montclair Police Department’s traffic bureau commander, there have been 11 accidents at the intersection over the last four years. There were six in 2019, four in 2020, one last year and none so far this year.
Typically, there must be five crashes each year for three consecutive years at an intersection for an all-way stop to be considered, Egnezzo has previously said, citing guidance in the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. And there are currently no stop signs on the stretch of Glenridge Avenue from Grove Street to Bloomfield Avenue.
But with more pedestrian traffic expected with parking opening up at the Midtown Garage this month, the signs were erected last week.
Montclair Township Business Improvement District Executive Director Jason Gleason said that he is happy that the “township is finally addressing” the need for stop signs on the street, which is lined with restaurants, cafes and boutiques.
This story has been corrected to properly cite Montclair Township Communications Director Katya Wowk saying a developer, not the township, erected the stop sign.