Pedestrian Who Was Struck Speaks Out

struck by car turning right from Wallace to CR 571I have a suggestion for improving the safety of pedestrians attempting to cross Hightstown Road in Princeton Junction. It is based on the experience of my children, one of whom is special needs, and both of whom walked to High School South by crossing Hightstown Road.

It is also based on my own experience. Two weeks ago, I was struck while crossing Hightstown Road at the Wallace-Cranbury and Hightstown intersection. I was returning from work from the train station about 6:00. I was crossing in the crosswalk (on the Acme side of the road), at the proper time, and although it was dark, I was wearing a reflector vest. The driver that struck me just wasn’t looking to see if anyone was in the crosswalk. I assume that the driver was looking either straight ahead to see if someone was making a left turn from Cranbury on to Hightstown, or looking left to see if anyone was running the red light on Hightstown, as sometimes happens.

There is only one way to make crossing the street safe for pedestrians. There must be some segment of time in which no cars are allowed to drive through the crosswalk. And the only way to create that time is with colored arrows. In other words, we need arrows that control turns. The system should be set up so that you can turn left (right) if and only if the left (right) turn arrow changes from red to green.

A system of colored turn arrows would also reduce the number of car crashes, many of which I am sure are caused by the game of chicken that is played when someone is trying to make a left turn, say from Hightstown Road on to Wallace Road. And I think it is possible that with the use of sensors the system could improve the flow of traffic by allowing long queues of cars waiting to make left turns to empty.

Hugh Rockoff
Princeton Junction
Department of Economics, Rutgers University

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