A crossing guard was leading Nick LaBate’s 6-year-old daughter and her mom across a busy Mahwah street to the youngster’s school bus stop when an SUV came roaring by – not slowing or stopping, just missing them all by a whisker, as the terrified mother yanked the little girl back.
LaBate’s ex-wife “was so upset by what might have happened but for a matter of inches that she was in tears,” LaBate said.
For those who live nearby, the street doesn’t have to be named: They know the perils of the stretch of Ramapo Valley Road (aka Route 202) near Island Road all too well.
Although the number of incidents that frightening have been few and far between, township Police Chief James N. Batelli said Wednesday that he’s assigned random patrols and radar units to monitor traffic patterns and snag violators.
An officer also interviewed the crossing guard, who didn’t want to sign a complaint but got the license plate number of the SUV. Police intend to talk with the owner, the chief said.
By next Wednesday, Batelli added, new speed limit signs will also be posted in the area.
Mayor John Roth said township officials were discussing possibly adding a traffic signal, as well.
“I believe several years ago the intersection was considered for a traffic signal but it did not meet the required warrants -- although certainly the factors may have changed since then and warrant another review,’ Batelli said.
He warned residents not to get too excited just yet.
“There are many entities involved in the consideration of a traffic signal and I wouldn’t want to mislead you in thinking that it is a quick process,” the chief added. “Certainly the township will review the matter, but I believe increased enforcement will address many of the issues that we are concerned with.”
A light would satisfy LaBate, for one.
“Traffic on RT 202 / Ramapo Valley Road heading northbound from Route 17 travels at a high rate of speed for a residential area,” he said.
“And with a curve in front of the Mahwah Bar & Grill, as well as a slight rise in the road, visibility is less than ideal and making turns onto Island Road traveling south on Ramapo Valley Road can be a tricky proposition.
“School children should not have to fear for their lives,” LaBate added. “And neither should the crossing guards who see to the safety of our kids every day.”
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