Haddonfield commissioners finalize four-way stop, consider other options for problem intersection

Officials also discussed Kingsway Learning Center property

The Haddonfield Board of Commissioners at its Aug. 20 meeting finalized a plan to install a four-way stop intersection at Prospect and Springfield avenues, and borough officials indicated they might look at other ways to make the troubled intersection safer.

Prospect and Springfield avenues meet about a block from the Little League complex, which includes three baseball fields. High volumes of traffic have made the intersection unsafe, according to borough officials.

“We’ve had a lot of issues over there with folks coming and going to the games and neighbors trying to get in and out of their driveways,” Mayor Neal Rochford said.

The intersection will become the first four-way stop in Haddonfield, but at least one resident believes more could be done.

“The four-way stop sign will help, but I don’t think it’s enough,” said Terrance Egan, who lives close to the intersection and Little League complex.

Egan said he has seen a lot of near accidents since he moved to the neighborhood 10 years ago. One of the problems is that Prospect Avenue near Springfield doesn’t have a sidewalk, he said.

That leads to children walking in the street to get to the fields, added Egan, who said he used to work in the U.S. Air Force on operational risk management.

“I’m trying to prevent something happening,” he said. “I just want to make it safer.”

Egan suggested the borough construct a sidewalk, install speed bumps, limit parking or lower the speed limit to 15 miles per hour.

Commissioner Jeff Kasko said the borough could potentially look at putting sidewalks in the area along with other traffic measures when the road is reconstructed in a year or two as scheduled.

“It’s not the be all and end all,” Kasko said about the four-way stop ordinance. “It’s not the only thing.”

In other news, Commissioner John Moscatelli said he doesn’t believe the borough would be interested in purchasing the Kingsway Learning Center property in response to a question from a resident during the Aug. 20 meeting.

Earlier this month, Wolf Commercial Real Estate said in a news release it has been hired to market and sell the 50,000-square-foot former school building on Kings Highway. The learning center relocated to a campus in Voorhees.

“I personally don’t see a compelling municipal interest to go after that property,” Moscatelli said.

WCRE in its statement said the two-acre property “is ideally positioned to be utilized as another school, office headquarters or redeveloped into alternative uses.” Moscatelli said the site is zoned for residential use and was operated as a school under a preexisting nonconformance. The property’s next owner can continue using it as a school or something similar but would have to get a variance to develop the site into a retail store or another non-residential use, he said.

“We don’t need a building of that type for any sort of community center or anything like that,” Moscatelli added.

The property is assessed at nearly $8 million for tax purposes, according to state records, but the school was tax-exempt. Moscatelli said he does not believe a developer would be able to subdivide the lot.

Rochford said he toured the property not long ago and added the next owner would need to do a lot of work on the inside of the building.