According to the latest report by the Montclair Pedestrian Safety Committee, pedestrian crashes in 2015 were down 16 percent. The number of pedestrians hit is still high though — 36 were hit and injured by a vehicle in 2015.
The Pedestrian Safety Committee was formed in 2013 to call attention to the increasing number of pedestrian and bicyclist accidents involving motor vehicles and to develop strategies to reduce those numbers. The committee comprises representatives from the Montclair Safe Routes to School and Health and Wellness Partnership, Montclair Township Police and Engineering Departments, Partners for Health Foundation, Bike&Walk Montclair, Essex County Community Traffic Safety Program and individuals from the community at-large.
Below is the Committee’s full report, shared by member Alex Kent, who is also a coordinator at Drive with Care in Montclair and a community liaison for Montclair Health and Wellness Partnership:
According to the Montclair Police Department, 36 pedestrians were hit and injured by a vehicle in 2015 in Montclair, including one that was fatal. This compares favorably to the year before, when there were 43 pedestrian crashes, and 2013, when there were 42.
Bloomfield Avenue remains the most dangerous street, with 13 pedestrian crashes there, followed by Valley Road with 5, Grove with 3, and 2 each for Bellevue, Walnut, and Church. Out of the 36 crashes overall, 9 were deemed to be the pedestrians’ fault.
There is still a long way to go, and the Montclair Pedestrian Safety Committee is moving forward with its work. At the end of 2015, we met with government officials from the surrounding towns of West Orange, Nutley, and Bloomfield so that we can work together. Essex County Freeholder and Montclair resident Brendan Gill joined us at that meeting. We are continuing to hold these joint meetings.
The Committee also met with a representative of the DeCamp Bus Company to look for ways to spread safety information to bus riders who often walk in the dark to and from the bus stops. There are plans to provide bus riders with reflective gear, and to have messaging within the buses to remind riders to cross at the intersection, wait until the bus has pulled away before attempting to cross, and to make themselves visible.
Thanks to Township funding, engineering studies are currently being conducted to assess speed limits, and to look for ways to improve the busy intersection in Upper Montclair at Bellevue and Valley.
The Township has also paid for a new supply of “Drive with Care in Montclair” car magnets, which are available at the Municipal Building at 205 Claremont Avenue, and the Public Works building at 219 North Fullerton Avenue.
New Jersey is notoriously dangerous for pedestrians, ranking 16th out of 50 states for the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents in 2015. Within New Jersey, Essex County had the most pedestrian deaths.
Unfortunately, Governor Christie recently vetoed a bill that would have created a state wide Pedestrian Safety Study Commission.
We look forward to continuing to work with concerned citizens to make Montclair a safer place for pedestrians to enjoy the benefits of Montclair’s many shopping districts and beautiful neighborhoods.