Members of the Ridgewood-Wilton Neighborhood Association (RWNA) plan to meet with Councilmember David Ryu, engineers with the city Dept. of Transportation, plus representatives from the city attorney’s office, the police department and other city agencies to find a way to restore a traffic system that worked successfully in the past.
The group is requesting the installation of flashing red lights at the five-way intersection of Wilton Place, Wilton Drive, First and Second Street between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
In 1986, the city installed a “Rest in Red” system. A year later, when a DOT employee was almost hit by a car speeding to make the light, the system was removed and switched to flashing red, said Ginny Kazor, a member of the RWNA board.
During the next 23 years, there were significantly fewer accidents and almost no complaints about traffic noise. Long-time residents said that the flashing red light was the single most dramatic improvement in traffic control that has happened in the neighborhood.
Then in 2011, the flashing red signals were removed, because a redevelopment project suggested replacing the system, and another “Rest in Red” system was installed by DOT. Neighborhood complaints regarding the noise created by accelerating engines, screeching brakes, and the all-too-frequent crashes have greatly increased. Incidents continue to multiply, and, in July, at least three significant accidents occurred on the Wilton Place curve between First and Second streets.
Residents have taken surveys and videos during the evening hours to document the problem. Kazor said a recent video shows almost one car per minute runs the red lights.