Sickles Park Traffic Debate Continues
Shrewsbury continues to seek ways to fix traffic and safety concerns tied to overuse of Sickles Park.
Shrewsbury Council and borough residents continue to discuss possible remedies to help keep traffic under control and children safe on neighborhood roads leading to the town’s most widely used park.
At a recent council meeting, ideas for how to slow drivers down when approaching and leaving Sickles Park ranged from erecting temporary signs to installing speed bumps along Sickles Place, the short road and cul-de-sac that leads to the popular park.
Officials and residents are worried that the small street presents a safety risk for children, especially during the weekends when multiple youth sports activities are held at the park. According to public comments from residents, drivers go well in excess of the posted 25-mph speed limit, speed around curves, park in front of driveways, and generally rush around in the same area where children walk and cross the street. Though there have been no reported incidents, some worry there’s potential for disaster.
“I’m gonna tell you,” Sickles Place resident Marty Bruno said. “You need a speed bump. You’re going to get somebody hurt there if you don’t put speed bumps there.”
The issue first arose following a weekend in which is was reported that more than a dozen youth sports games were scheduled back-to-back, creating a traffic nightmare in the neighborhood area off of White Street. The borough responded by installing a digital speed limit sign to inform drivers how fast they are going. The problem is the sign is located just before the cul-de-sac; drivers who have sped up to get down the street have already slowed down by that point, probably.
It’s not the solution Shrewsbury is looking for, Bruno said.
“The speed limit thing, kids only use that to see how fast they can go on their skate boards,” the retired Eatontown cop said.
Shrewsbury Councilman Jeff DeSalvo, also a Sickles Place resident, said he’s seen drivers speed down the road, too. People come around the corner from White and just gun it to get to the park, he said.
While speed bumps, or speed humps, could be a solution, there are concerns that they would make it more difficult to plow during the winter. There are also worries that speed bumps would slow down emergency response, though it’s unlikely that it would cause more than a second or two delay. The borough has also looked into temporary speed humps but has mostly ruled them out as they need to be drilled into the street and can cause significant damage to the roadway.
Other ideas floated include painting new crosswalks and putting up pedestrian walkway signs.
In the mean time, Councilman Tom Menapace said the borough’s police department has expressed a willingness to patrol the area and be on the look out for speeders and other unsafe driving during heavy park use.