Berkeley continues fighting for safety improvements to dangerous Route 9 intersection
Berkeley Township officials are hoping the death of a woman earlier this month at the intersection of Route 9 and Frederick Drive will strengthen the municipality's request to the New Jersey Department of Transportation to install a pedestrian crossing light.
Two days after the fatality, the Township Council approved a resolution on Dec. 14, 2015, urging the NJDOT to take action and to implement additional safety measures at the dangerous intersection, where in the past 3 years there have been at least 18 accidents, three involving pedestrians, according to the measure.
Mayor Carmen Amato said he also reached out to Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who contacted him personally to pledge to assist the Township with the NJDOT. The state's 9th District Delegation, Senator Christopher J. Connors (R), and Assembly members Brian E. Rumph (R) and DiAnne C. Gove also pledged assistance, according to Amato.
The intersection of Route 9 and Frederick Drive sits between two existing traffic signals.
"Unfortunately, the Frederick Drive/Route 9 intersection has always been a very busy intersection because there's two very large apartment complexes that are on Frederick Drive and a lot of the people who live in those apartment complexes get around by walking and pedestrian traffic across Route 9 and that area has always been busy over the years, and that's why the Council began the process in 2013, to get some assistance or approval from the DOT to get a pedestrian crossing signal there to help pedestrians cross Route 9 to get to and from the Berkeley Plaza," said Amato.
Amato said the Township has had numerous discussions with the DOT about improving the intersection.
"But, unfortunately they're not progressing as quickly as we like, and that's why I reached out to the Lt. Governor's Office and also our Senator Chris Connors to try to get a little bit more attention from the DOT so we could get his moving, in light of the tragedy that recently occurred there. We really need to be proactive and since this is a state road, we need to have the state's cooperation and permission to move forward to make that a safer intersection for our residents," Amato said.
In addition to installing a light where the pedestrian could activate a button to stop traffic, Berkeley is requesting more lighting at the intersection of Route 9 and Frederick Drive, a "NO LEFT TURN," sign out of Frederick Drive onto Route 9, and as additional painting, according to the resolution.
"It's definitely a situation that needs to be addressed, and we're going to work with the state to address it as quickly as possible, so we don't have any additional injuries in the future," added Amato.