Congressman Lawler Spearheads Roundtable Discussion to Address Traffic and Crime Issue in Spring Valley

Congressman Lawler Spearheads Roundtable Discussion to Address Traffic and Crime Issue in Spring Valley

By M.C. Millman 

Congressman Mike Lawler arranged a roundtable discussion in Spring Valley this morning to focus on two issues in the Village: a traffic issue and an ongoing crime situation. 

Calling together local elected officials and community leaders to meet at the intersection of Elm Street, Anthony  Drive, and Union Road, the Congressman addressed the safety issue on location, which his office was made aware of after a concentrated letter-writing campaign among dozens of neighbors. 

While Elm Street and Anthony Drive have stop signs, Union Road does not. This had led to a minimum of fifty reported accidents at the intersection over the last five years based on reports the Congressman's office collected from Chaverim, the Sherif's Department, and the Ramapo and Spring Valley Police Departments as parts of the area are under the Spring Valley Police Department's jurisdiction while other parts are under the Ramapo Police Departments.

While there have not been any fatalities, the number of accidents indicates just how dangerous the area is, including the hit-and-run accident on June 5, where an eight-year-old was injured, as reported by  Rockland Daily here. 

During the roundtable discussion, it was agreed that a joint survey between the Village of Spring Valley and the Town of Ramapo would be executed. After the survey comes back with suggestions for alleviating the traffic situation, the two entities will decide how to proceed together. It was also agreed that using federal funds is not an option, as attempting to do so would take years, according to Lawler. 

“We held a roundtable on traffic problems here in the Village of Spring Valley and in Unincorporated Ramapo at the intersection between Elm and Union,” Congressman Lawler tells Rockland Daily. “Obviously we've had a lot of accidents in recent years, and we want to try to mitigate that, especially as the pedestrian population continues to increase as well as the traffic, vehicular traffic. So, that is one important area. We’re going to try to work together, get a traffic study done between the Town and the Village to provide a long-term solution for the intersections at Elm and Union as well as behind me dealing with the drug dealing and trafficking that's been going on and the major arrests just a few weeks ago by the District Attorney's Office. And so, we're going to continue to work between law enforcement local partners and the DA's office to crack down on the scourge of drug dealing that has plagued this community here in Rockland County.”

Attendees at this morning's meeting included Congressman Mike Lawler, Assemblyman John McGowan, Senator Bill Weber, Town of Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht, Ramapo Police Chief Martin Rielly, Chaverim of Rockland Coordinator, Yossi Margaretten, Rockland Legislator Aron Wieder, Highway Superintendent Fred Brinn,  Village of Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Asher Grossman,  Village of Spring Valley Trustees Yisroel Eisenbach and Joseph Gross, and Village of Spring Valley representative Randy Mailia,  Co-founder of OJPAC Yossi Gestetner,  Rockland County Director of Community Relations; Rabbi Yisroel Kahan, the Department of Public Works and the Spring Valley Police Department Chief Richard Oleszcuk. 

“Problem-solving meetings involving residents, government officials, and police are important," Town or Ramapo Chief of Police Martin Reilly shares with Rockland Daily. "I’m confident that community meetings of this nature will have a positive impact on the quality of life of our residents.”


Additionally, there was an update on the infamous 80 Twin Avenue long-time trouble spot, which continues to be a source of constant tzaras for the neighborhood even after a joint narcotics operation took place in June, as reported by Rockland Daily here.  This is also the location where children in January waiting for their bus discovered a handgun they were playing with, as reported by Rockland Daily here.

Continued thefts on the street stem from this one location as criminal justice reform continues to provide a revolving door for criminals to return to their old haunts within days, effectively tying the hands of law enforcement and leaving neighborhoods like Twin Avenue at the mercy of common criminals who harass neighbors and steal bikes, generators, tefillin, cars and more.  

This morning, neighbors were assured that law enforcement would continue to do what it can for the neighborhood as the DA continues to pursue avenues such as through its drug task force working with the officers, detective, and all agencies in the county to bring a sense of safety back to the neighborhood. 

“Thank you to Congressman Lawler's office for coordinating this on-site meeting to discuss the traffic issues at the intersection of Union, Maple, Elm, and Twin, along with potential resolutions,” Senator Bill Weber tells Rockland Daily. “We also discussed the importance of combating the ongoing drug issues that are plaguing the area.”

The meeting, which took place around a round table outside and visible to the street, concluded with a walk around the corner to speak to the neighbors affected by both troubling situations.

One comment that was shared by one of the neighbors is that residents are afraid to come forward when they have information about ongoing crimes because once arrested, the criminals are released too quickly and have threatened neighbors that they will take revenge. The advice given was that anyone with information should call the anonymous tip line at 411. Attendees were cautioned not to mistake the 411 number for 911 since the calls are often not reviewed for days.

"Thank you, Congressman Mike Lawler, for organizing this on-site meeting with Town of Ramapo and Village of Spring Valley officials as well,"  Supervisor Specht tells Rockland Daily, "as Senator Weber, Assemblyman McGowan, Legislator Weider, the District Attorneys office, and our residents and community members, to address the traffic and safety problems in this neighborhood. As the streets involved are divided between Ramapo and Spring Valley, the Town and Village will work together to study the traffic challenges and implement solutions. After the formal meeting ended, Police Chief Reily, Highway Superintendent Brinn, Community Liasion Yossi Margaretten, and I spoke one on one with residents to hear their concerns and come up with ways to improve their quality of life.

“I want to commend Mike Lawler and especially District Director Rafi Silberberg, who went to so much effort to arrange this critical meeting for his constituent.” Village of Spring Valley Trustee Yisroel Eisenbach tells Rockland Daily. “We appreciate that the Congressman is always looking out for the community and understand and appreciate how much effort went into arranging this very beneficial  round table discussion this morning.”

Neighbors were happy to be able to give voice to their concerns as well as thankful to Congressman Lawler for spearheading the meeting and to the elected officials and community leaders who came together to accomplish the goal of the day – to bring safety back to the streets of this Spring Valley area. 

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