WESTFIELD, NJ — Crashes in this town injured 72 pedestrians and 33 bicyclists between 2013 and 2017, the most recent state data show. Vehicular accidents killed two people and incapacitated five in that time, the figures show. Then there are the spots that stoke public fear.
Residents expressed concerns about these at a workshop last July, during which they discussed dangerous turns, signal equipment failure, poor provisions for bicyclists and a myriad of other issues. It was a workshop organized by the town expressly for the purpose of gathering that feedback.
Following an analysis of the data and the gathering of public feedback, including from the July workshop, traffic experts are set to present preliminary recommendations for traffic safety improvements that would make local streets safer for all users, officials said. The study is funded by a state grant.
The workshop will be held 7 – 9 p.m. Thursday in the community room of the municipal building, 425 East Broad St., officials announced.
While the workshop for the development of a town wide bicycle and pedestrian plan focuses on long term changes, it comes as Westfield’s crossing program transitions to new management by a national company, All City Management Services. The Town Council hired the security firm in June to ease the burden on police officers filling in for crossing guards.
Police Chief Chris Battiloro previously said that during the transition police officers would continue filling in for the guards in some places as newly recruited guards are trained for the program. On Wednesday morning, he offered a brief update during a live stream from Mayor Shelley Brindle’s Facebook page.
“Things are looking pretty good. They’re getting better and better every day,” said Battiloro during the driving tour of crossing guard posts. “They’re learning to change their behavior a bit. ... Starting probably tomorrow, we should be at or near 100% staff.”
Officials promised a more robust update by the end of the week.
Brindle has asked the public to voice any concerns about the crossing guard program by calling All City Management Services at 908-848-7664 or 908-848-7666 and to contact Westfield Police Department at 908-789-4000 for concerns that require immediate attention.
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh
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