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Road Block Keeps Central Park Traffic Off Glenbrook

Temporary barricade the result of resident complaints over the high volume of traffic, chief says.

A barricade was placed on Monday at the mouth of the so-called Glenbrook Road extension, blocking off much of the access to the residential street.

According to Morris Plains Police Chief Scott Thompson, it's there as a result of citizen requests he's heard over the past year.

Thompson said numerous borough residents registered complaints to police over the amount of traffic traveling through Glenbrook Road to get to nearby Central Park and its recreational facilities.

In answer to the complaints, the Morris Plains Police asked the borough's public works department to place a barricade at the mouth of the so-called Glenbrook extension. The obstruction's presence forces drivers to travel around Glenbrook and onto Central Avenue to reach the park or to get to Glenbrook Road homes.

"Glenbrook goes from Speedwell to Watnong and Styles," Thompson explained. "The other side of Styles is narrower and is not really a thru-street. We heard complaints about a lot of traffic and speeding that disturbed residents, so we chose to address it."

The police chief said a counter device was placed at the Glenbrook extension's mount.

"We found that there wasn't as much speeding as we expected, but there was an abnormally high volume of cars," he said. "We found there's an average of 209 vehicles going westbound every day. That's far too high relative to the number of homes."

After meetings of the Morris Plains Traffic Advisory Committee, officials decided to give the barricade idea a try.

"We tried to address it [first] with a sign that said 'Central Park to the left,' but that didn't work," Thompson said. "We're going to try a larger sign, [which will be adjacent to] the barricade, at the entrance of the extension."

The chief said he is aware that the move may be inconvenient for Glenbrook residents.

"I apologize for turning that section into essentially a one-way street," he said, adding that the barricade is intended to be there on a temporary basis. "We're hoping this alleviates the problem. Once [drivers] get used to [going around to Central Avenue rather than cutting through resident Glenbrook Road, they can drive it, no problem."

He said it is possible that the barricade may be employed only during certain sports seasons.

Thompson said complaints about the barricade have not come his way.

"I really want to hear their feedback, positive and negative," he said. "They live there and I would like their opinion."

He said the Morris Plains Police hand-delivered a letter to Glenbrook extension residents last Wednesday to ensure that they were aware of the traffic pattern changes being made.

"I've gotten several phone calls praising it, and so have some council members." he said. "But I would love to get a consensus on whether to make this permanent through curbing or just to put the barricade up during certain seasons."

Thompson added that his department is asking Morris County to put "better directions" on its website.

And he defended the new move to force drivers to use Central Avenue.

"Central was designed to be a through street," he said, adding that he doesn't believe drivers are trying to disturb homes on Glenbrook.

"My best guess—people are listening to [GPS directions]."

Margo D. Beller October 04, 2012 at 05:00 PM
People will follow their GPS off a cliff if it tells them to go that way. But that part of Glenbrook between Watnong/Styles and Central is, in fact, a mapped street and is part of a thoroughfare that has served this town for decades. It was never a problem until the county started clear-cutting trees on its part of the Greystone property and started putting up fields. And now, with even more fields planned - as Patch noted here: http://morris.patch.com/articles/parks-commision-athletic-improvement-project-brings-down-central-park-trees?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001 - expect traffic to increase on Central Ave., where people live and some of us walk. It would also be interesting to learn if residents on that part of Glenbrook who want to get to their houses are driving past the blocked-off part and around the traffic island, coming in through the out door, so to speak. That may be why no one is protesting.

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