Union County News

Street Smart NJ Launches Latest Round of Pedestrian Safety Campaign


ELIZABETH, NJ  – Continuing its push to lower New Jersey’s pedestrian fatality rate, the Street Smart NJ campaign kicked off its latest effort Tuesday, introducing additional partners and unveiling a new message to combat distracted driving and walking during an event at Union County College.

Street Smart NJ – coordinated by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) – is a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations that aims to change pedestrian and motorist behaviors through education and enforcement. The program, which began in 2013 with five pilot sites, has expanded to include 12 community partners this year, including the City of Elizabeth. Three additional Street Smart NJ campaigns are being conducted by two transportation management associations (TMAs) that receive funding from the NJTPA.

The Street Smart NJ campaign works. Evaluations in each campaign municipality in 2013 found that non-compliant behavior – such as jaywalking or failing to stop for pedestrians – dropped 53 percent overall. The campaign urges motorists and pedestrians to “Check Your Vital Signs,” because pedestrian safety is vital to the wellbeing of everyone in the community. The signs for motorists are “Stop for Pedestrians” and “Obey the Speed Limit” and the signs for pedestrians are “Wait for the Walk” and “Use Crosswalks.” This year a fifth message – targeting both drivers and pedestrians – was added, “Heads Up, Phones Down.”

Sign Up for E-News

“Whether you’re walking, driving or cycling, it’s important for everyone to heed these critical signs – doing so could prevent crashes and save lives,” said Somerset County Freeholder Peter S. Palmer, Chair of the NJTPA Board of Trustees.

“Participating in the Street Smart NJ campaign this year will allow us to build on existing efforts to improve pedestrian safety throughout the City of Elizabeth,” Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said. “We look forward to sharing these vital messages with everyone who comes to Elizabeth – whether they are living, working or visiting here.”

“We are excited the City of Elizabeth has been selected as one of the sites for this safety education campaign, which will help promote safe travel behavior through education and enforcement,” said Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski. “We’re hoping this campaign will raise awareness and encourage drivers and pedestrians alike to make smarter, safer decisions on the road.”

Crash data shows that distraction is playing a part in vehicle-pedestrian crashes, whether it was a texting motorist who didn’t see a pedestrian or a walker who stepped into traffic while on the phone.

“Five seconds is the average time a person’s eyes are off the road while texting,” said Mary K. Murphy, Executive Director of the NJTPA. “That’s enough time for a car going 55 mph to cover more than 100 yards – the equivalent of traveling a football field blindfolded.”

Sulisnet Jimenez, Principal of Public School No. 28 in Elizabeth, spoke about her school’s efforts to teach students the importance of pedestrian safety following a vehicle crash that injured a second-grader last year.

“Anything we can do to save lives and prevent injuries – especially for our youngest and most vulnerable pedestrians – is critical,” Principal Jimenez said.

The event also included a video presentation of vehicle stopping time and distance to demonstrate the importance of maintain the speed limit. At 25 mph, the vehicle stops in time and does not hit the crash dummy. At 35 mph, the car slams into the dummy with devastating force.

“Speed is a significant factor in the severity of injuries a pedestrian sustains in a crash,” said Dr. John D’Angelo, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Trinitas Regional Medical Center. “At speeds above 35 mph, the impact of the vehicle is likely to be fatal.”

New Jersey has been designated a “focus” state and Newark a “focus” city by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the high incidence of injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians. During the five-year period from 2010-2014, 736 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes and another 22,006 were injured, according to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. Pedestrians accounted for 25.6 percent of people killed in vehicle crashes during those years, nearly double the national pedestrian fatality rate.

During the month of March, Street Smart NJ will be partnering with local officials to run campaigns in Elizabeth, Franklin (Sussex County), Hackettstown, Jersey City, Lakewood, Metuchen, Newark, Passaic, Red Bank, Toms River and Woodbridge. There will be another summer campaign on Long Beach Island and during the month of April, TransOptions TMA will run a campaign in Morristown and HART Commuter Information Services TMA will have campaigns in Flemington and Clinton.

Local police will join the campaign’s street teams and community volunteers to distribute tip cards, which highlight the state’s pedestrian laws and include the five “vital sign” messages. They will also use enforcement to help change con-compliant behaviors.

“Police will be enforcing the laws for the safety of motorists and pedestrians,” Elizabeth Police Officer Brian Clancy said. “We will focus on motorists who speed and fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, as well as pedestrians who cross unlawfully.”

For additional information on Street Smart NJ visit bestreetsmartnj.org.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


REMINDER: Celebrate Women's History Month at the Union Public Library

February 21, 2018

Someone Must Wash the Dishes: An Anti-Suffrage Satire on Monday, March 12 at 6:30 pm at the Union Public Library. Join us to celebrate Women's History Month with this live first person interpretation about the  sociological, historical, and political context of the time period.

For decades, countless American women fought for the right to vote. But many others—like the ...

Easter Egg Hunt and Magic Show at the Golden Rule Lodge

UNION, NJ - The first annual "Kids Just Want to be Kids" Easter Egg Hunt and Magic Show is scheduled for March 31 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  The egg hunt will run from 10:30 - 11:30 and the magic show from 11:30 - 12:15.

This free community event will be held at the Golden Rule Lodge, 221 Oswald Place in Vauxhall.  Parents are asked to bring an Easter basket for ...

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 2/19

President’s Day - Municipal Building Closed

•Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 9:00 a.m., Senior Center

Tuesday, 2/20

•SID Meeting, 8:30 a.m., Town Hall

•Senior Citizens Tuesday Club, 10:00 a.m., Senior Center

•Pre-K Interactive Learning Time: “Puzzles, Coloring, Memory & ...

Union High School's January Female Athlete of the Month: Kiara Powell

February 13, 2018

UNION, NJ – Union High School senior Kiara Powell has been selected January’s Female Athlete of the Month, sponsored by Service Professionals.

Powell is a member of the co-ed bowling team.  She is the Union County Individual Girls Champion, achieving first place for Group 4 North 2 Sectional Tournament.  Powell rolled a 267, a high game in that tournament.

What’s ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, February 23, 10:30 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Toddler Time

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, February 23, 3:30 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Teen Advisory Board (TAB) Meeting

Arts & Entertainment Education


Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Sat, February 24, 9:00 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Citizenship Exam Preparation


Reuben A. Montilus Named to the Fall 2017-2018 Dean's List at Western New England University

February 20, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, MA - Reuben Montilus, of Union has been named to the Dean's List at Western New England University for the Fall Semester of 2017. Montilus is working toward a degree in Criminal Justice.

Students are named to the Dean's List for achieving a semester grade point average of 3.30 or higher.

Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational ...

Twenty-Eight Union Students Named to Seton Hall Dean's List

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - News from Seton Hall University:  

The following Union students have been named to the Fall 2017 Dean's List at Seton Hall University:

Radjanie Antoine

Hamza Ashraf

Jonathan Barcelos

Christopher Arnold Blaza

Meaghan Caulfield

Lauren Colandro

Kevin Cordova

Kristine Demagajes

Lianne Joseph

Monique Krakowski

Austin ...

Kayla Douberley Inducted into the Iota Iota Iota National Honor Society

ELMIRA, NY - Kayla Douberley of Union was one of nine Elmira College students inducted into the Iota Iota Iota (or Triota) National Honor Society for Women's Studies during a ceremony recently held in Cowles Hall, Elmira College.

The induction ceremony recognized students who have excelled academically in gender and women's studies, and fostered feminist scholarship, promoted personal ...

Union County Democratic Committee Vote: And the Winner is....

February 22, 2018

CLARK, NJ – The vote for the Union County Democratic Committee (UCDC) chairmanship came to a conclusion Wednesday night when 748 committee members from the county’s 21 municipalities descended on the Gran Centurions in Clark to vote for their new party leader.

State Senator Nick Scutari came away with a 412-341 victory over Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr in a battle that had become ...

Rahway's Rayford Charged with Distributing Fentanyl-laced Crack Cocaine that Killed 3 Rahway Residents

RAHWAY, NJ - George Rayford, 38 of Rahway, has been arrested and charged with distributing crack cocaine that led to the death of three people and sent others to the hospital, it was announced Friday by Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan.

“Considering the high levels of purity found in illegal drugs being sold throughout Union County and New Jersey, as well as the potential ...

2018 LGBTQ Roundtable Comes to Hamilton Stage in Rahway

February 23, 2018

RAHWAY, NJ - Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados and Freeholders Bruce H. Bergen and Alexander Mirabella welcomed Christian Fuscarino of Garden State Equality to the 2018 LGBTQ Roundtable meeting hosted by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders at the Hamilton Stage in Rahway.

They were joined by Union County Department of Human Services Director Debbie-Ann Anderson, ...

Ultimate Pizza Tasting Contest

The second annual Ultimate Pizza Tasting contest will be held on March 16 from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. at Jefferson School, 155 Hilton Avenue, Vauxhall.  Doors will close at 6:30.  Come taste a variety of pizzas and vote for your favorite. The evening also includes music and face painting for children. 

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12 and children up to age 3 are ...

Grab the Family and Head to a Very Special Read Across America Event

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Children and parents won’t want to miss this special event. The Union County Education Association ( UCEA)  is hosting a Read Across America Pride event open to all.   Read Across America is a national event to promote reading to every child in every community.   It is celebrated in conjunction with the famous children’s ...

Reminder: Free Wellness Program for Union County Military Women

All Union County women with military service – veterans, active duty and reserve – are invited to join “Boots 2 Heels,” a free event designed to foster wellness and connect women with resources and guidance for empowerment. Boots 2 Heels will be held on Saturday, February 24 at the Westfield Armory, located at 500 Rahway Avenue in Westfield.

The event is free but ...



AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

What Union is Reading: January 2018

February 13, 2018

It is said that you can tell a lot about a person by what they read but can you tell as much about a community by what they read? Take a look and see what you think.

The top five circulated fiction and non-fiction books at the Union Public Library for January 2018 were:

Adult Fiction

1.     Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben 

2.     End Game ...

Let's Talk Teeth

Let’s TALK about TEETH!

Since February is Children’s dental health month we thought we’d share a few tips on how to make sure your little ones keep their teeth healthy and strong!

The Basics – Brushing two times a day for two minutes is one of the most important ways to keep teeth free of plaque. Brushing after breakfast is recommended because most children’s ...

Millburn Volleyball Coach Arrested on Charges of Sexual Contact with a Minor

February 13, 2018

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, N.J. — Peter Nguyen, Millburn High School's head volleyball coach and a bookkeeper for the Millburn Township Board of Education, was arrested today and charged with one count of sexual contact with a 14-year old female who was a member of the Impact Volleyball Club. Nguyen also faces two second degree counts of endangering the welfare of a ...

Smithereens Bandmates Reunite and Play Show Honoring Scotch Plains Music Legend Pat DiNizio

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Two of the founding members of the Smithereens reunited at New Brunswick's Court Tavern on Saturday, Feb. 3, to pay tribute to the late Pat DiNizio, the band’s lead singer, who died in December.

The concert, titled “Blood & Roses: The Court Tavern Memorial Tribute to Pat DiNizio,” featured 15 of the alternative band’s hits from over the ...

Letters to the Editor

ICUC Dr. Wail Rasheed Reacting to Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

If we were to count the number of lives lost to violence, crime, mass shootings or terror attacks in the US this past year alone, clearly the sacredness of life has no value to the ruthless perpetrators, for all of them are doing the same thing; taking away a God given right from people, the right to exist.

The diverse religious communities in the US must stand strong in denouncing ...