Back in 2017, when a 71-year-old woman was mowed down — then thrown 10 feet in the air, in fact — by a speeding driver on the western position of Seeley Avenue, we at The Observer, in no joking manner, dubbed the street the “Seeley Speedway.” For years, we’ve watched from our office, at building no. 39 Seeley, as driver after driver would often speed up the street, sometimes getting a jump start from as far as Schuyler Avenue, if the light at Elm Street was green, all the way to Kearny Avenue and beyond.
And when that traffic signal at Kearny Avenue turned yellow, it was often as if it triggered drivers to speed up so they could fly past the main thoroughfare in town to continue to the two blocks that remained on Seeley.
You would think the wait for the light at Seeley and Kearny was 20 minutes the way some drivers sped up.
When this woman was hit nearly five years ago, to those of us who spend time on Seeley Avenue, it was hardly a surprise, shocking though it was. But now, thanks to an ordinance adopted by the Mayor and Kearny Town Council Tuesday, Jan. 25, that excessive speeding should finally be tempered.
We repeat, should.
The ordinance, which had the full support of Mayor Alberto G. Santos and all members of the Council, will create four-way stops at the intersection of Seeley and Chestnut Street and a few blocks away at Seeley and Rutherford Place. Chestnut is just two streets from the Elm Street light, and Rutherford is just three blocks from Chestnut and two from Kearny Avenue.
The signs will be installed by the Department of Public Works once Town Clerk Patricia Carpenter publishes a public notice to make the new “law” official.
So speed demons, beware — you’ll no longer be able to treat Seeley Avenue as your personal race course.
Police Chief George King says he’d received complaints from local residents about the speed issue and after discussions about what would best serve the area, he decided the four-way stop would be most prudent, more so than placing a speed hump somewhere along the roadway.
“Seeley Avenue has been a topic for some time with a resident requesting a speed hump right near Kearny Avenue to slow drivers heading west from speeding to (not) catch the light at Kearny Avenue,” King said. “She either wanted the speed hump or the traffic light removed, and neither was practical. We all agreed that the run from Kearny Avenue to Elm Street was long and speed did become an issue, especially after repaving, and that a four-way stop would be a better choice.”
King says he believes the four-way stop will make a difference on Seeley Avenue, but he also cautions they’re not always the best solution for traffic issues. Each case, he says, must be analyzed individually. And he also noted it may not be an easy adjustment for drivers — so be alert if and when you’re driving on Seeley.
“We do analyze speed and accident data when requests are made and we did that on Seeley Avenue, too. They do take some time to get used to,” the chief said.
The four-way stops are just the most recent to be implemented. Others have been placed on Bergen Avenue, Washington Avenue, Hillcrest Road, West Bennett Avenue and elsewhere in recent months and years.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.