The City of Elizabeth has been selected as one of six sites for the next round of a pedestrian safety education campaign aimed at promoting safe travel behavior through education and enforcement.
The selection of Elizabeth and other communities for the Street Smart NJ campaign was announced at the Nov. 9 meeting of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees in Newark. The NJTPA coordinates the campaign, a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations that urges motorists and pedestrians to obey New Jersey’s pedestrian safety laws.
“Safety on our streets is a vital concern in Elizabeth because of the high number of pedestrian crashes,” said Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, second vice-chairman of the NJTPA Board. “This campaign will raise awareness and encourage drivers and pedestrians alike to make smarter, safer decisions on the road.”
The six pilot areas – Elizabeth, Franklin Borough (Sussex County), Metuchen, Passaic, Red Bank and a joint campaign in Toms River and Lakewood – will undergo pedestrian safety evaluations prior to the campaign launches in March. Following the campaigns, which use advertising, grassroots public awareness efforts and targeted law enforcement, there will be a second evaluation to determine whether drivers, cyclists and pedestrians changed their behaviors.
“We are excited that the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority selected us to participate in this important effort,” said Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “The city is committed to keeping everyone who travels our streets safe, and this campaign will help us meet that goal.”
Street Smart NJ conducted first phase pilot programs in Newark, Hackettstown, Jersey City and Woodbridge in 2013. The program was also implemented in Long Beach Island during summer 2014. Motorists and pedestrians were urged to “check your vital signs” – speed limit and stop signs for drivers, and walk/don’t walk signals and crosswalks for pedestrians. Evaluations completed as part of those efforts show that the Street Smart NJ campaign improves pedestrian and motorist behaviors, reducing the risk of pedestrian crashes. The program is funded by the Federal Highway Administration.
Pedestrian safety continues to be an important issue in New Jersey. New Jersey is ranked 10th in the nation in per capita pedestrian fatalities. The state has been designated a “focus” state by the Federal Highway Administration for the high incidence of injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians. From 2011-2014, 591 pedestrians were killed and more than 17,000 injured on New Jersey’s roadways, which translates to one death every 2.5 days and 11 injuries daily.
To learn more about the campaign, visit bestreetsmartnj.org.
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(posted on behalf of NJTPA)