Going door-to-door over the past six months, Kathleen Miller Prunty and I have heard a number of concerns about speeding. Too often in town, drivers disregard posted speed limits, fail to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, or try to drive around cars that are stopped for pedestrians. Apps like Waze can bring even more drivers through town who don’t know the streets or where children are often present.
We propose a comprehensive approach to speeding in Cranford focused on education, enforcement, signage, and design.
Education: A number of individuals and Facebook groups have been raising awareness of speeding and the benefits of a pedestrian-friendly community. The Cranford Police Department has radar speed signs deployed on Walnut Avenue north and south of the school. We propose the town invest in mobile radar signs which can be moved around neighborhoods. These signs have been proven to reduce driver speeds. We would want to establish a process for residents to suggest where the signs should be placed. Based on the findings, the town could install permanent radar signs, as Westfield and Garwood have done on problem streets.
Enforcement: Education and awareness are only effective if backed up by enforcement. If elected, we would meet with the Cranford Police Department to discuss how to build on their current efforts to combat speeding and enforce crosswalk safety.
Signage: It is important that traffic signs and crosswalks be clearly visible and maintained. Unfortunately, several crosswalks on state and county roads are in poor condition. The Pedestrian Safety Committee is exploring options to work with the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Union county engineer on repairs. We must also make sure traffic signs are not obscured by foliage or other obstructions.
Design: As streets in town are repaired and paved, we should explore design options that calm traffic in problem areas. Narrowing of the streets, bumping out areas near crosswalks, and other design elements can help to encourage drivers to slow down.