Public safety is one of the key functions of local government. Residents need to feel safe when walking, bicycling, and driving in Summit. While the statistics show that we have fewer incidents involving pedestrians and cars, often it doesn’t feel that way.
First, traffic enforcement is important. Last year, Council re-established the Summit Police Traffic Unit. The Police Traffic Unit and City Engineer should continue to study measures to calm traffic and to ensure pedestrian safety. I commend the City for installing four-way stop signs at Blackburn Road and Pine Grove Avenue. The Traffic Unit should continue to identify additional intersections that would benefit from this strategy. In addition, there are places in Summit where adding a crosswalk could increase pedestrian safety. Two that come to mind are at the corner of High Street and Springfield Avenue and at the corner of Springfield Avenue and Glenwood Place.
The City should improve traffic engineering to make streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. This will benefit Summit by reducing traffic congestion around our schools and downtown.
We need to be seeking out grant funding for projects like the Springfield Avenue project, in which the Engineering Department realigned the roadway to make it safer for vehicles and carved out space to install a sidewalk under the railroad trestle near the intersection with Broad Street. We need to be looking for, and seeking out grant funding, for similar projects throughout Summit.
Council should complete a plan to implement a full sidewalk network that allows residents to walk safely to the schools and downtown.
To encourage bicycling, Summit should pursue grants for a bicycle depot near the train station for safe storage of bicycles for commuters. The City should also provide additional bicycle racks throughout the downtown.
As a member of Council, I will look for ideas from our traffic experts, ask tough questions, and make sure that the resources needed to ensure traffic safety are in place.
Marjorie Fox is the Democratic candidate for Summit Common Council, Ward 2.