Feds Focus on New Jersey to Improve Pedestrian Safety

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) chose New Jersey as one of 13 states which “experienced pedestrian fatalities above 150 per year and above the national rate of 2.5 per 100,000 population.” These states receive extra attention in the effort to reduce pedestrian fatalities on our roadways. According to the article “Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety” in the current issue of Public Roads, “FHWA’s aggressive approach to reducing the fatality rate in 13 States and 5 municipalities is showing promising results.

The multi-year focus on pedestrian safety produced a plan called “Pedestrian Safety Management In New Jersey: A Strategic Assessment,” which “examines the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches and recommends improvements that would provide for a more systematic approach.”

So what specific recommendations will best improve pedestrian safety? The New Jersey report covers over 100 recommendations, but 3 have been chosen as the top priorities for improving pedestrian safety, according to a recent memorandum, “Promoting the Implementation of Proven Safety Countermeasures“:

  1. Medians and Pedestrian Crossing Islands in Urban and Suburban Areas
  2. Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK light, a pedestrian-activated traffic signal that stops traffic)
  3. “Road Diet” (Roadway Reconfiguration)

How can these proven safety features help West Windsor? The WWBPA recommends medians and/or pedestrian crossing islands for the new CR 571 design, along with a lower design speed and other measures, like a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK signal) at Sherbrooke Drive and 571.

A Rapid Flash Beacon, another type of pedestrian-activated signal, is planned for Sherbrooke and 571 – we hope it will greatly improve the safety of that crossing. Examples are at the trail crossing on South Mill and near the train station at Scott and Wallace. Studies of the Rapid Flash Beacon are promising, but of  the 22 roadways in one study, only 1 had a posted speed limit as high as CR571’s 40mph, and only 2 had about the same volume (17K-18K average daily traffic), and only 1 had more volume. So we’ll hope for the best.

A Road Diet is when the road is reconfigured from 4 lanes down to 3, one travel lane in  each direction and a center turn lane, plus bike lanes on each side. The WWBPA has long recommended road diets for Canal Pointe Boulevard and Alexander Road between Rt 1 and Vaughn Drive, and believes the treatment would be appropriate for Roszel Road and Carnegie Center Drive as well.

Why is the WWBPA for road diets in these areas but recommends medians and/or pedestrian crossing refuges for CR 571? The difference is in the  number and density of driveways – our Rt 571 downtown area has too many compared to office park settings like Canal Pointe and Carnegie Center.

 

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3 Responses to “Feds Focus on New Jersey to Improve Pedestrian Safety”

  1. brian says:

    finally alexander rd. does need to be repaved also, it has the same problem as canal pointe with people getting in the left lane because of the potholes. much of the problem is just rotting infrastructure. if you solve that problem i guarantee a much better traffic flow and consequently pedestrian safety.

  2. brian says:

    efficient road design means you get high speed, wide roads where there is a lot of traffic to move it efficiently, and pedestrian safe smaller roads where there is less traffic to allow biking/walking more safely. you cant really have a road that has that much traffic getting a road diet. its just going to snarl things up more. up here in lawrenceville, we dont have a problem with 206 because its not that trafficky in my area, but go down a few miles and it gets really bad which could be alleviated in multiple ways.

  3. brian says:

    i don’t know if canal pointe could do as a 3 lane road. it gets really congested during rush hour. the right lane is so poorly paved with potholes though that its a hazard to motorists and indirectly pedestrians; ive nearly blown out a tire going only 35 when i suddenly hit one and people were passing. most people just drive in the left lane automatically especially going towards alexander rd….even when the right lane is free. simply repaving it and putting a 3 ft shoulder on that side (or both) would solve a lot of problems actually. it would also be far more efficient and cheap, and probably more likely to get funding.

    giving a road like 571 a diet when it has that much traffic is a mistake. if anything, it needs to both be widened and get more pedestrian friendly features. should reduce the amount of aggressive driving and traffic jams. im sure youve seen the area around 5 PM and its a complete mess.

    why not just use harris rd for biking and whatnot? its pretty quiet, really close to 571 and you could easily put a cut thru trail in the middle which would be only around 300 feet long.

    i just think its a mistake to try to calm really high traffic areas, especially ones that are primarily business not residential. lowering the posted limit isnt going to solve any problems either as you know, in fact if they repaved canal point, with a small shoulder, i dont see what would be wrong with putting a 40 or 45 limit on it. and get rid of the 25 at the end going towards market fair up to the stop sign, its unfair because its still a thruway, not a side street. they pull people over for doing 35 when 35 is totally fine

    its my opinion however that 571 does need some small median at least, and bigger shoulders in some areas. its almost a highway past south mill rd. and it has no shoulder in many places. as for south mill rd, they need to scrap the 35, its utterly unfair for a straight road with good distance, but a pedestrian signal would be fine there because its not that high traffic

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