Lavallette officials are thinking of creative ways to prevent drivers from turning the wrong way onto Route 35 after a rash of local incidents occurred amidst a number of unrelated traffic accidents in town.
“I’ve had no less than 25 reports of people going the wrong way and the season really hasn’t started yet,” said Councilwoman Joanne Filippone.
This season, Lavallette has begun expanding the number of attention-getting markers it puts out to deter wrong-way drivers on Route 35 north – the most common location for such incidents to occur. Lavallette officials on their own cannot place any permanent signage or traffic control devices on Route 35 since it is a state highway under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation. To bridge the immediate signage gap, the borough has started utilizing its “caution barrels” near pedestrian crosswalk markings to serve as “wrong way” signs to drivers considering making a dangerous turn.
The barrels have “Do Not Enter” signs attached to them and are placed strategically in the view of a driver who would be looking in the wrong direction to turn.
“I said, ‘put as many as you can and see if we can stop this,'” said Filippone, with all of her council colleagues in agreement.
Mayor Walter LaCicero said Police Chief Colin M. Grant is reviewing additional plans that would help curb wrong-way drivers, and will also look to expand the signage on the barrels around town. Permanent signage, such as formal “Wrong Way” signs placed by the state, could be effective as well, but such requests are now granted rapidly.
“I’m hoping it’s improved,” Filippone said of the signage on the barrels. “I don’t think it’s solved. I heard one story where a guy was going the wrong way and just drove around the barrel.”
“The chief will have some recommendations,” said LaCicero. “I thought the ‘wrong way’ on the back of the barrels was very effective.”