SWEDESBORO — Resident Sandra Lewis asked the Swedesboro Borough Council at their Aug. 22 council meeting if the traffic light at the intersection of Glen Echo and Kings Highway can have an extended green light.
Lewis said that the traffic on Glen Echo to Maybrook Avenue is too heavy, especially between 7:15 and 8:15 in the morning.
The light currently stays green for 45 seconds before turning yellow. Lewis feels this is not enough time and would like to see it be a 60 second green light instead.
Mayor Tom Fromm asked the Woolwich Police Department if this was possible. “Maybe a traffic study can be done before deciding,” Woolwich Police Captain Sheldon Lewis said.
Woolwich Police Department Chief Jaramillo said they would increase their patrol to watch traffic at the intersection. The borough will ask the county engineers if it is possible to make changes to the timing of the green light throughout the day.
Sandra Lewis also asked that a street light be installed on the electrical pole in front of 42 Glen Echo Avenue. Her request was placed originally during the installation of the new electric poles, so no decision was made. Lewis said that the street is too dark to see at night and she feels this is a problem for the neighborhood, “especially for drivers.”
Fromm said this is a county issue because it is a county road. Fromm will contact the county with Lewis’ information regarding the light. From there, Atlantic City Electric will be contacted by the county.
While Chief Jaramillo and Cpt. Lewis were at the meeting, Fromm expressed gratitude for the police department’s involvement in the community, including their active social media page.
That night the officers also reported on an increase of vehicle crashes in the past month, due to “volume, especially with shore traffic.”
Jaramillo informed the council of increased patrol by bicycle and foot throughout Swedesboro. The officers will be actively talking to residents. The goal is to reach out to the community and make themselves approachable.
The police department has begun a new crossing guard plan for the upcoming school year. The current signs on the crosswalks downtown were never designated for crossing guards, and are considered unmanned crosswalks.
Children must push the button to walk with the guard so Cpt. Lewis created a plan that would allow for this process to keep traffic stopped as the guards and children walk back safely. The crossing guard will press the button which will cause traffic to stop, as it does now. Then they will press the button again, allowing the children to walk with 60 more seconds added to their crossing the street.
The last child to cross will press the pedestrian button on the other side of the street to allow the guard to get back safely. This will ensure that the guard is able to walk the students across the street.
The police department initially wanted guards to stop traffic when students crossed but were unable to do so due to the crosswalks being designated for pedestrians only. “They’re unmanned crosswalks, and to change that to a crossing guard system would cost too much money,” Lewis said. “We found a solution that makes sense for us.”
Police will be training all crossing guards this week and next, and will be out with the guards for the first few weeks of school to assist.
In Economic Development, the Harry Potter Event, slated for Oct. 21, has been limited to ages 12 and under. Due to the overwhelming amount of hits on the website, the borough had to reconsider their plans. Originally the event was for all ages, but the demands were too high.
“It was beyond what we can do as a small borough,” Councilmember Diane Hale said. “Our goal is to keep this to our community and our neighboring towns,” she stated.
Children and their families can enjoy the afternoon downtown from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wristbands will act as tickets and will be sold during September.
The Environmental Committee reported of success with the kayaking event, but expressed concerns. “This was for people to get to know the water, the fish, and the greenery,” Councilmember Sam Casella said.
Casella feels that while the Committee has succeeded, the community focus has shifted from environmental to recreational. They are looking for other activities in the future that will teach the Swedesboro Woolwich community about the environment.
The Swedesboro and Woolwich Township Environmental Committees have drafted a letter to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to request financial assistance for the installation of a dock at the Glen Echo property recently acquired by Swedesboro that includes a small creek. The mission is to provide the low impact environment with a small dock for kayaks and canoes, “much like Lake Narraticon,” Casella said.
Resolutions were passed for stages and tents to be provided for the Harry Potter Festival. The borough also signed a renewal of their contract with the county for their Basic Life Support and EMS program. This resolution allows the borough to continue their EMS program.
By Jessica Zappasodi