Don’t Walk Here

9 Feb

A new report by the transportation policy watchdog group the Tri-State Transportation Campaign identifies New Jersey’s most pedestrian-UNfriendly roads.

The “winner” is Route 130 in Burlington County. According to their analysis, between 2007 and 2009, 10 pedestrians were killed on that route, with most of the fatalities occurring where the roadway passes through relatively busy suburban areas such as Cinnaminson and Delran. At least three additional pedestrians have been killed on the Burlington Pike in the latter half of 2010. A concrete Jersey barrier bisects much of the route to discourage pedestrians from crossing. But with crosswalks spaced as much as a half-mile apart, even normally cautious pedestrians risk the traffic by crossing mid-block.

Other New Jersey routes topping the list were Blackhorse Pike in Atlantic county, Route 1 in Middlesex County, Route 549 in Ocean County, and Route 1&9 in Union County. Like the Burlington Pike, each of these roads is a wide, high-speed arterial lined with shopping centers and offices.

The analysis found the state’s most dangerous roads for walking over the three-year period were:

Rank Roadway Pedestrian Fatalities (2007-2009)
1 US-130 (Burlington Pike/Bordentown Rd), Burlington County 10
2 US-322/40 (Blackhorse Pike/Albany Ave), Atlantic County 7
2 US-1, Middlesex County 7
2 Route 549, Ocean County 7
2 US-1&9, Union County 7
6 US-30 (White Horse Pike/Absecon Blvd), Atlantic County 6
6 SR-21 (McCarter Hwy), Essex County 6
6 John F Kennedy Blvd, Hudson County 6
6 Route 35, Middlesex County 6
6 Route 28 (North Ave/Front St/Westfield Ave), Union County 6
11 US-9, Monmouth County 5
11 US-9, Ocean County 5

The group hopes that this new analysis will encourage state and local leaders to press for increased funding for pedestrian and bicycling projects. In particular, they are calling on legislators to ensure increased funding for the Local Aid program as proposals for the Transportation Trust Fund reauthorization. Pedestrian safety projects can produce dramatic safety improvements (and create much-needed construction jobs) at a fraction of the cost of a typical road project.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign applauded efforts that are already underway to improve safety in many of these corridors, and noted that New Jersey has made reducing pedestrian fatalities a statewide goal and sets aside significant funding for pedestrian safety projects.  NJDOT’s new Safe Corridors program was established to improve pedestrian safety along especially dangerous roads.  And the state recently revamped its methodology for awarding state and federal safety funds to target places with the greatest need. Furthermore, in 2009, the New Jersey Department of Transportation adopted an internal Complete Streets policy requiring that transportation planners and engineers consider all potential users of a roadway, including pedestrians and bicyclists, in the design of a new or significantly retrofitted road.

The Campaign’s analysis was based on recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The analysis excludes Interstates and other roads where pedestrians are prohibited. Federal data was not available for pedestrian injuries, many of which occur in urban areas like Newark, Trenton, and Camden.

County fact sheets showing the most dangerous routes for walking are also available.  The fact sheets also include an interactive Google Map showing the locations of each pedestrian fatality, with descriptive details for each victim killed on the county’s most dangerous route or routes.

The full report, as well as county fact sheets and Google Maps can be found at www.tstc.org/reports/danger11/


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