Citizen justice

I heard this report on NPR the other day detailing how the police department in Naperville, Ill., a suburb about 30 minutes west of Chicago, loans out a radar gun to citizens in one neighborhood, allowing them to track the speed of cars on their streets. They don’t necessarily issue tickets but they do collect information that cops then compile and even send out warnings.
Naperville is substantially bigger than Rahway (Pop. 130,000 v. 27,000), but speeding seems to be an issue in neigborhoods everywhere, particularly in downtowns that aim to attract shoppers/pedestrians. The NPR report reminded me of Rahway’s downtown; Arts District Park would be a perfect spot to set up shop with a radar gun. Making Irving and Main streets two-way likely would slow down traffic some. I remember being at a presentation by Project for Public Spaces several years ago. A fascinating group, they said there are little (read: cheap) things that can be done to slow down traffic, such as making the street appear more narrow to the driver (i.e., painting a shoulder on a wide street). But please, none of those awful “bump-outs,” all they do is eat up parking spaces.
Pedestrian-friendly streets are like parking when it comes to downtowns. Some (Summit, Hoboken) constantly grapple with providing adequate parking because there’s so much traffic. Others that are still rebuilding wish they had that problem, as they try to draw more people and traffic downtown.