So far this year, pedestrian-auto incidents for the first six months of 2015 totaled 17, compared to 20 for the same period in 2014, reports Sergeant Stephanie Egnezzo of the Montclair Police Department’s (MPD) Traffic Department.
For May and June, 2015 there were five pedestrian/vehicle accidents. Police determined two were the pedestrian’s fault. Three of those accidents took place on Bloomfield Avenue. The other two occurred by the intersection of Grove Street and Glenridge Avenue, according to the Pedestrian Safety Committee. The majority of the crashes take place in daylight, in good weather, at intersections, and do not involve alcohol.
“To help ensure their safety, pedestrians should cross only in crosswalks or at a corner and stay off their phones when crossing the street,” said Alex Kent, chair of the Pedestrian Safety Committee and a coordinator at Drive with Care in Montclair. “Drivers should obey the speed limit, stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, and avoid using their cell phone while driving.”
More Pedestrian Safety Initiatives in the Works
Besides educating drivers and pedestrians, other safety measures are being implemented. Last month the township installed a flashing pedestrian crossing light at the corner of Grove/Oxford (near Walnut Street). People who want to cross press a button and lights on both sides of the street flash, similar to the light that operates on the corner of Bloomfield and Midland Avenues. Fourth Ward Councilor, Renee Baskerville, M.D., collaborated with Kim Craft, township engineer to get the light at Grove and Oxford installed.
At the request of the Pedestrian Safety Committee, the MPD is also evaluating whether more intersections should be “no right on red.” The department has surveyed all the intersections and is determining which intersections to flag “no right on red” based on pedestrian and vehicle traffic. That report is expected to be completed in September. Once the report is reviewed, MPD can draft new ordinances and submit them to the Town Council.
The Pedestrian Safety Committee added a public safety line item to the township budget, which is pending approval. Those funds will pay for engineering studies to evaluate reducing some speed limits around town, as well as implementing a pedestrian phase light at Valley Road and Bellevue Avenue in Upper Montclair. This light will have a third phase, where only pedestrians are allowed to cross in both directions; all traffic will be stopped. This scenario takes away the danger of turning cars. The Pedestrian Safety Committee will provide an update on these initiatives when more information becomes available.