Mayor Chris Bollwage announced today that the City of Elizabeth will be conducting a Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety education campaign this month aimed at reducing pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes in the City.
Street Smart NJ is a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations. During the campaign, local police will be enforcing pedestrian laws in Elizabeth and working with several partners – including EZ Ride, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety– to educate people who are driving and walking.
The City kicked off its campaign during the National Night Out event at Carteret Park on August 6. This month, police and various partners will be educating the public about safe driving and walking practices, as well as New Jersey’s pedestrian safety-related laws. The Police Department will also be stepping up enforcement efforts during the campaign in an effort to change the behaviors that contribute to crashes.
“A safe, walkable city for people of all ages is essential and the City of Elizabeth and our police department successfully partner with Jewish Family Services to deliver educational presentations and pedestrian safety vests throughout the community,” Mayor Bollwage said. “This Street Smart campaign will help us build on the great work that we are already doing to make our city safer for everyone.”
Elizabeth also conducted a Street Smart NJ campaign in partnership with the NJTPA in 2016. The city was one of eight communities selected for observations to determine the effectiveness of campaigns that year. The evaluation found the campaign contributed to a 28 percent drop in pedestrians crossing unsafely against a signal or outside of a crosswalk and a 40 percent reduction in drivers failing to stop for pedestrians when turning.
Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, who is chair of the NJTPA Board of Trustees, commended the city on continuing its efforts to improve pedestrian safety.
“The more we educate people about safe driving and walking, the safer we can make our roads for everyone, he said. “Together we can make a difference. Remember to Drive Smart, Walk Smart and Be Street Smart.”
EZ Ride is one of eight transportation management associations in the state that organizes Street Smart campaigns with support from the NJTPA.
“EZ Ride is proud to partner with the City of Elizabeth, Union County, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority to promote safer driver and pedestrian behavior as part of the Street Smart Elizabeth Campaign,” said Krishna Murthy, President & CEO of EZ Ride.
Pedestrian safety is 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 Elizabeth, between 2014 and 2018, there were 424 crashes involving pedestrians. These crashes resulted in 12 pedestrians being killed, 13 seriously injured and 309 suspected or minor injuries.
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 police, volunteers and community groups will be distributing safety information.
The statewide Street Smart NJ campaign is managed by the NJTPA and began in 2013.
Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in helping to promote the Street Smart NJ message in Elizabeth, should contact Lisa Lee at EZRide at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the campaign, visit bestreetsmartnj.org. The campaign is also on Facebook (/StreetSmartNJ) and Twitter (@njstreetsmart)