In a joint prepared statement, Madison Borough Council members and candidates for re-election in 2014, Carmela Vitale and Bob Landrigan propose new initiatives to make our sidewalks and key street intersections safer for Madison’s senior citizens.

The candidates pointed to a recent Newark Star Ledger article that stated that seniors in New Jersey are 28 percent more likely than other older Americans to be killed while crossing an intersection, They are also more likely to be killed than younger people. The article concludes that “We need to make our roads safer for them (seniors).”  The candidates said, “We agree.”

Vitale, who serves as Chairperson of the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee, recounted an April 10th meeting that members of the committee had with representatives of the Madison Police Department.  “The discussion focused on specific intersections in town and the need to maintain our sidewalks,” she said.  “Sidewalks in need of repair can be just as dangerous for our seniors as our streets, particularly during the winter months.  Bob Landrigan has often pointed out that while on duty with the Ambulance Corps, he has responded to a fair share of accidents where residents have fallen on sidewalks in need of repair as well as to automobile accidents at key borough intersections.”

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“It was a good meeting,” Vitale continued.  “And we identified a number of bad intersections that needed attention.  As an immediate result, the borough will designate a parking place on Cook Ave in front of the Robert T. Burroughs Senior Apartments at 44 Cook Ave and the Barbara Valk Firehouse Apartments for easy access to the senior van for transportation.  The borough will also create a crosswalk across Prospect Street at Lincoln Street after the repaving is completed later this year.  It will also look at the location of the parking places on the street to give better access to Lincoln Place from Prospect.” 

The April 10 meeting was followed by a subsequent meeting with the borough’s Complete Streets Committee Chairwoman, Astri Bailie, on April 22.  In attendance were Baillie, Vitale, Madison Traffic Safety Officers and other borough department heads.  “It was suggested that the borough remind homeowners that they are entitled to $15 per foot compensation if they have the sidewalks along their property reconstructed.  This reminder was recently put up on Rosenet by the borough engineering department,” stated Vitale. 

“The seniors are willing to do their part,” added Landrigan.  “They have offered to perform a survey and compile a list of dangerous sidewalks and intersections.  A previous survey was conducted in 2007 and over 70 volunteers of all ages participated in the surveys. Unfortunately, not much came of it.  This time, we need a plan to ensure that the work gets scheduled, funded, and completed.  Sidewalk reconstruction must be made a component of the capital program.” 

“Intersection improvements can be complex, as were the changes at Kings Rd and Green Ave a few years ago.  However, many can often be as simple as changing traffic signal timing or just a little paint to create visible cross walks,” both candidates observed.

“We have only begun the process by identifying the need to make improvements to our streets, roads and intersections,” stated Vitale and Landrigan.  “The next step is to work with Council, the Borough Engineer and Administrators in crafting a plan to address them that is prudent from an engineering and financial standpoint.”