Where Are NJ’s Most Dangerous Roads? [AUDIO]
There's been a slight increase in the number of pedestrians killed on roads in New Jersey.
A new report from Tri-State Transportation Campaign found 440 people died on the state's roads from 2009 to 2011, up from 436 pedestrians killed from 2008 through 2010.
The report finds US-130 (Burlington Pike) in Burlington County is one of the deadliest roads in New Jersey for pedestrians, with nine killed from 2009 through 2011. US-322 (Blackhorse Pike) in Atlantic County and Route 1 in Middlesex County also had nine pedestrian fatalities over the same period.
"Year in and year out, the pedestrian-unfriendly US-130 continues to threaten the lives of Burlington residents. It's time to make this road safer," said Matthew Norris, the Campaign's South Jersey advocate.
The report also found that arterial roads, which have two or more lanes in each direction and are designed to accommodate vehicle speeds of 40 mph or higher, are the most dangerous for pedestrians. Almost 60 percent of pedestrian deaths in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York occur on this type of road.
"Arterials were traditionally designed to move vehicles from one destination to the next without regard for other road users like pedestrians and bicyclists. We continue to see that designing roads like this results in needless loss of life," said Renata Silberblatt, report author and staff analyst with the Campaign.
Most Dangerous Roads for Pedestrians
The most dangerous roads for walking also include US-30 (White Horse Pike) in Camden County and Route 9 in Middlesex County. Both had eight pedestrian fatalities over the three year period.
Route 1&9 in Union County, US-46 in Morris County, Route 9 in Ocean County and Route 501 (JFK Blvd) in Hudson County had six fatalities each from 2009 through 2011. Rounding out the top ten most dangerous roads was Route 35 in Middlesex County, SR-21 (McCarter Highway) in Essex County and US 1&9 (Tonnelle Avenue) in Hudson County.
The Campaign is applauding municipal, county and state governments along with state agencies for taking significant steps in recent years to improve the roads and make them safer. Last year, the State Department of Transportation launched a complete streets website and held informative workshops. Three counties and 43 municipalities have passed complete streets policies, 22 of which passed in 2012 alone.
"Municipalities and counties across New Jersey are making pedestrian safety a priority by passing complete streets policies. NJDOT, which passed a policy in 2009, is both leading and encouraging these actions through its extensive complete streets outreach and training. Now, it's time for local and state agencies to move towards implementation of tangible, capital improvements to the most dangerous roads and intersections," said Janna Chernetz, New Jersey advocate with the Campaign. "It's the implementation of these complete streets policies that will have the biggest impact on safety. The implementation needs to start now."
"Installing crosswalks would be a good start along with pedestrian islands on roadways that are especially wide," said Chernetz. "We need to make sure that if pedestrians don't have enough time to cross a particularly wide street, that they have somewhere to stop safely along the way. Pedestrian countdowns also help people to make the decision whether or not they're going to step onto the street in the first place."
The Campaign is also calling on elected leaders to pass a vulnerable users bill, which would increase penalties for careless drivers who injure or kill pedestrians, cyclists, police officers and others who use the roads who are at risk. The group also wants to see complete streets implementation plans for each municipality and county that has enacted a policy. The Campaign also wants to see funding for regional trails, with pedestrian and bicyclist safety improvements on roads that lead to the trails.
The full report can be found here.