Sunday, September 29, 2019

Linden Kicks Off Month-Long Pedestrian Safety Campaign

Mayor Derek Armstead and Police Chief David Hart today announced that the City of Linden is conducting a month-long Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety education campaign aimed at making City streets safer for everyone.

Street Smart NJ is a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations. More than 100 communities across the state have participated in the campaign, including seven in Union County.

Linden’s campaign coincides with National Walk & Bike to School Day, on October 2, an event that promotes health and safer routes for students to walk and bike to school. During the campaign, Linden Police Department will be increasing its enforcement of pedestrian laws and working with several partners – including EZ Ride, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety (NJDHTS) – to educate people who are driving and walking. Linden received a $41,000 grant from NJDHTS to support its campaign.

“Here in Linden we care about our residents and those that visit our City,” Mayor Derek Armstead said. “With daylight hours becoming shorter in the next few months, we want to make sure that drivers, pedestrians and those riding bikes are using the common sense safety tips that the Street Smart NJ campaign promotes.”

Police Chief David Hart said officers will be reminding everyone to keep safety in mind and obey New Jersey’s laws.

“Simply writing tickets will not solve this problem,” Chief Hart said. “Drivers need to stop for pedestrians, obey speed limits and avoid distractions. People out walking need to use crosswalks, cross at intersections and wait for the walk signal or green light. Each of us has to do our part for us to realize truly safer streets in our community.”

Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, who is chair of the NJTPA Board of Trustees, commended the city for promoting pedestrian safety. He noted that evaluations of past campaigns show the program does improve safety.

“We’re excited to have the City of Linden join this important initiative” Freeholder Estrada said. “The more communities that join this effort, the more people we can educate about safe driving and walking. That helps make our county and state a safer place to live, work and visit.”

EZ Ride is one of eight transportation management associations in the state that organizes Street Smart campaigns with support from the NJTPA.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Linden to educate residents and students about pedestrian safety,” said Krishna Murthy, President & CEO of EZ Ride. “This campaign will be a great compliment to National Walk & Bike to School Day, which emphasizes the importance of making streets safer for some of the most vulnerable community members, children.”

Pedestrian safety is a concern nationwide, but it is particularly important in New Jersey, which the federal government has designated a pedestrian safety focus state for its high rate of fatalities

and injuries. Pedestrians comprised 29 percent (183 people) of the 624 people killed in crashes in New Jersey in 2017, nearly double the national average of 16 percent, according to the most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). New Jersey ranks 13th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people, based on the 2017 NHTSA data. On average, one pedestrian is killed every two days in New Jersey and 12 are injured daily.

In Linden, there were 125 crashes involving pedestrians in 2018, including two that resulted in fatalities.

Street Smart NJ is one of many initiatives in New Jersey working to help the state reach its goal of zero pedestrian fatalities. The campaign reminds people that everyone has a role to play in making our streets safer. Drivers need to obey speed limits and stop for people crossing; people walking need to use crosswalks (marked and unmarked) and cross with the signals; and everyone needs to avoid distractions.

During the campaign educational materials will be on display throughout the community and safety information will be distributed.

The statewide Street Smart NJ campaign is managed by the NJTPA and began in 2013.