A Letter to the Editor

Dear Drivers on McKendimen Road in Shamong and Medford,

Please slow down. The speed limit is 25 mph, but since we have little or no police surveillance, and McKendimen Rd. is temptingly wide, motorists are typically speeding here at 50 to 60 mph.

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The problem is, since it is so wide and inviting, it’s a popular road on which Shamong folk walk pets and fitness jog and walk, for children on bikes, skates, skateboards and just playing.

I cringe when I see children enjoying their summertime play and up comes a zooming and swerving SUV with a texting driver. Or a rattling landscaping or lifted 4 x 4 truck, flying next-day delivery vehicles or teenagers speeding in their muscle and sport cars while distracted by myriad temptations.

Summer is here, so it’s especially important that we take it upon ourselves to do the right thing. We shouldn’t have to be threatened with State Police presence, not to mention the troopers have other more important things to do on tight budgets than chasing down speeders. McKendimen Rd. drivers please just slow down or take another route.

We take our lives in our hands just to go to our mailboxes. Which brings up another topic.

There have been several instances of mailbox damage and pilferage that I know of on McKendimen Rd., but I have seen no published police reports about it. With people struggling for financial survival, we really can’t afford to keep replacing our expensive mailboxes.

Parents, this is on you. We can be pretty sure this is something perpetuated by kids. With this in mind, mailbox bashing and stealing mail can no longer be written off as bored country kids with nothing to do.

In this age of identity theft, it is serious business to loot or damage mail. I will press charges if someone is caught. Our mail has been found several times scattered and ripped on the street, and I also have seen it happen to my neighbors. I cringe when I think of what personal mail hasn’t been found. That old chestnut about poor, bored kids won’t do it for me. Just make your kids stop.

As summertime driving postscript, it would be good if local drivers remembered to:

  • Slow down at the intersection of Rt. 70 and Hartford Rd. in Medford. It is probably one of the most dangerous intersections in the state. In fact, slow down at any Route 70 intersection.
  • Don’t tailgate motorcycles. I am a former rider, and I can tell you nothing is scarier than a behemoth SUV riding your back tire while the driver is yapping on a cell phone or texting. Put some car lengths between you and the motorcycle, and don’t cut in front of one to make a turn. Get off your phone and save a life. This includes police who fly at 90 mph without lights or sirens. I’ve seen this with my own eyes, so no use trying to deny it.
  • Slow down in supermarket and strip mall parking lots. Why do you have to do 50 mph in a parking lot? There is plenty of parking. This isn’t Manhattan, where you have to jockey and fight for a spot. Ten mph is an appropriate speed for a parking lot. There are ladies hobbling on canes to get to cars. Could you forgive yourself if you ran over a toddler who sprints from his busy mother’s grasp as she loads groceries?

Thanks in advance and I hope some lives are saved by readers who see themselves in this editorial.

Sadly, though, we will see kids killed, bikers maimed and monumental collateral damage on the roads this summer. It will be caused by drivers doing everything that I have mentioned in this opinion letter. I’ve seen it decade after decade.

Please prove me wrong and slow down.

Noni Bookbinder Bell


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