CHATHAM, NJ - Mayor Bruce Harris and the Chatham Borough Council negotiated successfully with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for a new overhead pedestrian crossing signal, which has been installed at the intersection of Main Street and Coleman Avenue.
The new signal replaces one installed by the borough in November 2008 because of concerns about the safety of pedestrians--mostly commuters crossing Main Street to get to or from the train station. It became operational Nov. 7, 2013 and includes cross-arms with advisory signs and flashing amber lights to warn motorists that they must stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.
The new signal is one of many pedestrian safety improvements implemented in the borough in the past year.
“Although many of our pedestrian safety improvement projects have been sidewalk projects and ongoing evaluations of crossing-guard arrangements that are focused on making it safer for children to walk to schools, we have been very concerned about the safety of commuters coming to and from the station,” Council member James Collander, who has headed the borough’s Traffic Safety Advisory Committee for several years, said. “The new light will make it safer, especially for commuters returning home from a long day at work.”
The borough also increased the wattage in the street lights at the intersection.
“We had to work very closely with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, which paid half of the cost of the new signal, to make this happen. When we hit some snags in the process, we succeeded in getting them to expedite the project," Harris said.
Police Chief Philip Crosson has assigned officers to assist pedestrians crossing at the intersection, including showing them how to use the new signal.
“Motorists are required to stop when pedestrians are in a crosswalk," Crosson said. "The new signal will make it clear to motorists that they need to stop, and we will be implementing enforcement actions to ticket motorists who fail to stop.
“We hope pedestrians will take the time to push the button to activate the signal. We will also be providing information to pedestrians on safe street-crossing practices and other pedestrian safety tips. The signal will only be effective if both pedestrians and motorists behave in a safe manner.”
The old flashing yellow light signals, which are solar-powered, will be moved to another high traffic location--the crossing of Fairmount Avenue at the train station.
“Addressing traffic and pedestrian safety issues in the borough is a top priority,” Borough Administrator Robert Falzarano said. “My staff receives frequent complaints, but, thanks to the cooperation of our elected officials, our volunteers on the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, and residents, we have been able to make the borough a safer place for pedestrians, and we will continue to do so.”