WEST ORANGE, NJ -  Bar Crawls, Zebra Stripes and Roundabouts were presented as some of means to increase pedestrian safety at the multi-town pedestrian safety meeting held at Turtle Back Zoo Wednesday. The meeting was was attended by elected and appointed officials, township representatives and citizens activists from Montclair, Bloomfield, West Orange, Verona, Millburn and Nutley.

Cyndi Steiner, NJ Bike & Walk Coalition, the meeting organizer, shared that one of the objectives of the meeting was to form an ad hoc ‘working committee’ with one representative for each municipality to ‘identify issues common to the participating municipalities and come up with a strategy to have Essex County effectively address these issues.’

Speaker Andy Anderson, of the Essex County Police Academy shared statistics, current realities and possible initiatives relating to pedestrian safety issues in NJ. He stated that “64% of (traffic) fatalities so far this year in Essex County have been pedestrians." Anderson advised the group that ‘Safe Streets’ educational literature and marketing materials were available for free to all municipalities.

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Anderson is planning to work with towns in the fall to bring together local police officers and citizens to participate in ‘Diner and Bar Crawls’. During the crawls, local establishments are visited by volunteers to promote pedestrian safety awareness and distribute ‘coasters’ and information cards.

He also shared information on the ‘European Zebra Stripes’ traffic calming measure that is being considered for NJ and explained the difference between ‘traffic circles’ and ‘round-a-bouts’. 

Anderson said: “A round-a-bout is an effective replacement for a 4-way intersection versus a circle which is larger and moves traffic around a central island.”

Kathleen Smith, Program Director of ‘Partners for Health’ provided information on grant opportunities for pedestrian safety work.

Smith shared that one representative for each town would be able to attend the America Walks conference in September. Chosen attendees will gather information and bring educational and other opportunities back to their towns.

Also available are NJ Healthy Communities Network grants. Letters of Intent must be received by September 13, 2017. Municipalities were encouraged to look into funding available from foundations and insurance companies. Important to consider were resources available for technical assistance and evaluation of initiatives for measurable impacts.

During the discussion about the creation of a Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee in each town, it was suggested that the towns’ committees work together to share data and create PSAs to be aired on local cable channels. Anderson applauded the idea to use high school students enrolled in media classes to create the educational videos and social media campaigns.

He gave a shout out to Nutley High. The students of Mr. Kelly’s Radio/TV Production III class received the top award for Champion Schools Best Media Campaign in the State for their Raiders Ride Safe Campaign.

Steiner requested that each town select a member to serve on the multi-town initiative “working committee.” She also informed attendees she would be emailing Bi-Laws for existing Safety Advisory Committees that could be used by municipalities in setting up their committees.

Update reports were given from each participating town and included traffic calming initiatives, street light installations, street painting projects, work completed with consultant Charles Brown, and walkability audits.

Attending from Nutley were Mayor Dr. Joseph Scarpelli and Township employees Meredith Bank who reported on Nutley’s federal Safe Route to Schools grant, the Farmer’s Market Walk & Talk series and the Nutley Pace Car initiative.

NJ Bike and Walk Coalition - http://njbwc.org/

Partners for Health - http://partnersfdn.org/  Partners for Health Foundation’s vision is focused on making our 15 communities healthier, better places to live. Our mission is to invest in programs and policies through collaborations that will lead to healthy communities and healthy lifestyles.

Nutley High School 2017 “U Got Brains Champion Schools Project” https://www.nutleyschools.org/1/News/2374