Pedestrian safety has been on the minds of concerned Montclair citizens ever since the June death of an elderly resident crossing Grove street at the Chester Road intersection. More than 40 people recently attended a meeting of the First Ward hosted by Councilman Bill Hurlock. They gathered at the Montclair Public Library Bellevue Avenue Branch to hear what the township intends to do to improve pedestrian safety.
Increased Police Patrols
Law enforcement officers attended the meeting to assure residents that the Montclair police department is taking action to address public concern about the enforcement of speed limits and other laws. The department’s traffic bureau formerly consisted of one member working inside and one out on the streets. An additional officer has now been assigned and motorcycle patrols have been added as well. A grant will make it possible to fund overtime for officers working traffic details from four in the afternoon to eight at night. The department will also use radar to patrol in problematic and dangerous areas.
Pedestrian Safety Education Campaign
For their part, the municipality is developing a pedestrian-safety education campaign that will be delivered through public safety announcements, according to the Assistant Township Manager. The township director of communications and the Traffic Bureau commander will be working together to relay messages about traffic and pedestrian safety that will run on Channel 34 and across social media platforms. The township aims to raise awareness about the issue of keeping those walking about Montclair safe.
Looking for Answers
The Township Council is voting on a resolution that would reduce the Grove Street speed limit to 30 mph from 35 mph. While the Council would like to be able to put flashing lights and more or bigger lights at every crosswalk in Montclair, financially it is not feasible. According to one of the Council members at the meeting, a major problem is that when a car stops at a crosswalk for a pedestrian, a car from behind will pass on the right, endangering anyone still in the crosswalk. In this case, speeding is not always the greatest danger to pedestrians.
Officers reminded citizens at the meeting that police only have authority to stop cars that do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians not in crosswalks are considered to be jaywalking which he said is another problem in Montclair. Crosswalks are only those clearly marked and designated with lines.
The state of New Jersey is considering a bill to be introduced in January titled the Driver and Pedestrian Mutual Responsibility Act which would change the liability for pedestrian accidents. Its sponsors say there should be a balance of responsibility between drivers and pedestrians when people cross a roadway on foot. The New Jersey Bike and Walk coalition opposed the legislation calling it the “Get-out-of-the-way-or-get-hit-act.”
One of the conclusions of the town meeting was that whether behind the wheel or on foot, part of improving safety in Montclair is people being more respectful of each other.
New Jersey Pedestrian Accident Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Advocate for Injured PedestriansIf you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, an experienced New Jersey pedestrian accident lawyer from Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP can answer your legal questions and help you seek compensation for your injuries. Call 732-777-0100 today to schedule a free consultation about your case or contact us online. We have offices in Red Bank, Edison, and Toms River serving clients throughout the state of New Jersey.