CRANFORD - The Township of Cranford will kick off another month-long Street Smart NJ campaign in November to raise awareness of pedestrian safety ahead of daylight saving time ending, as the potential for pedestrian-involved crashes increases and darkness falls earlier.
According to the release, the campaign is a collaborative effort between the Township of Cranford, EZ Ride Transportation Management Association, and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), which coordinates the Street Smart NJ program. The Cranford Police Department will be enforcing pedestrian-related laws and working with Township officials and the school district to educate everyone about safe driving and walking practices.
“We rarely are more vulnerable than when walking in suburban areas, crossing busy streets, and negotiating traffic. And we all are pedestrians from time to time, so it's important to pay attention to what is going on around us,” said Cranford Police Chief Ryan Greco. “We can’t stress enough that we need drivers to obey speed limits and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. If we follow the campaign’s simple safety reminders — stopping for pedestrians, using crosswalks, putting down the phone, and obeying traffic laws — we can save lives and prevent crashes.”
Pedestrian safety is an ongoing challenge in New Jersey. In 2017, 184 pedestrians died as a result of pedestrian-vehicle crashes, according to the most recent data available from the New Jersey State Police. From 2013 through 2017, 825 pedestrians were killed on New Jersey’s roads (NJSP). During that time, more than 22,000 people were injured. This translates into one death every two days and 12 injuries daily.
“I commend the Cranford Police Department and Township on implementing our Street Smart NJ initiative,” said Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, who also serves as Chair of the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “The more communities that join our pedestrian safety program, the more we can educate people about safe driving and walking practices. Campaigns like Cranford’s are helping to make Union County a safer place to live, work and visit.”
More than 80 communities have participated in Street Smart NJ since the campaign’s inception in 2013, and the campaigns have had a positive impact. An analysis of campaigns conducted by the NJTPA in 2016 found a 40 percent reduction in drivers failing to stop for pedestrians and a 28 percent reduction in pedestrians crossing mid-block or against the signal.
“This campaign is about changing behaviors and saving lives and we’ve seen some great successes,” said NJTPA Executive Director Mary Ameen. “Working together on these campaigns we can make a difference and help reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries in our state.”
The intersection of Walnut Avenue and Chestnut Street will be a focus of the campaign. The Cranford Police Department Traffic Bureau will conduct pre-campaign observations at the intersection and will return to the intersection for post-campaign observations after the Police Department concludes its education and enforcement activities. Throughout the campaign, street signs, posters, safety tip cards, coasters, and cup sleeves will be on display in the township.
“Cranford is excited to participate in Street Smart NJ to help make our streets safer for everyone,” said Cranford Mayor Patrick Giblin. “Pedestrian safety is also good for our local economy. When people feel safe, they are more likely to walk around our business district, visiting our restaurants and local shops.”
To learn more about the initiative, please contact the Cranford Police Traffic Bureau at (908) 709-7335.