Traffic Signal Study Underway in South Toms River
In the days following last month's fatal hit and run in South Toms River, Ocean County engineers began work on a traffic signal study.
It was something Borough Mayor Joseph Champagne had suggested two years earlier as a precaution for a dangerous stretch of road. That road is Dover Road at the intersection of Chamberlain Street.
The study is currently underway but county officials warn it's not that simple and you "can't just stick a light" wherever you want without an in-depth analysis first.
Ocean County Engineer Frank Scarantino is part of the team working to assess the situation. The death of 84 year old William Gaughan in December set off an alarm bell. It was the second serious accident in two months. There had been a non-fatal crash in November of 2013. The traffic study must take into account local, state and even federal guidelines and requirements.
Scarantino tells Townsquare Media "it can be a lengthy process. There are a lot of factors to consider. One important thing to underscore. Traffic signals introduce human error. They introduce a decision process by motorists and pedestrians.
As a result, statistically, traffic signals have a certain number of predictable accidents that can and will occur. Therefore, conditions have to be such that there's a problem that the traffic signal will solve. It's no different from a doctor recommending surgery. Probability."
The first phase found that existing signs in the area may be causing blind spots. Scarantino said they were not put up by the county and it's a borough issue that they will bring up to them.
Another concern is the existing light nearby on Dover Road. The State Department of Transportation requires 1,250 feet of spacing between lights. At this point, they are examining all possible options.
Other ideas being looked at include signs, radar speed advisories and extra police patrols.
The next phase will begin once the snow melts. They will have to place equipment out at the site and they don't want to have interruptions in the area.