Why are pedestrian fatalities on the rise in NJ?
Over the past several weeks there have been a string of pedestrian fatalities and injuries in the Garden State.
A 2-year-old child in a wagon and an 18-year-old were killed in Southampton. A middle school teacher who was still mourning the loss of one of her students in a car crash died after being struck in Burlington County. Another pedestrian died along Route 30 in Galloway Township and a mom and her two kids were injured after being struck along Route 9 in Ocean County.
Janna Chernetz, the senior New Jersey policy analyst for Tri State Transportation Campaign says a number of factors are causing an uptick in pedestrian facilities in the Garden State, including basic road infrastructure.
“We need to make sure we have enough sidewalks in good condition and there are frequent cross-walks where pedestrians might want to get from one side of the road to the other, especially on our busy arterial roadways,” she said. “We need to make sure those roads are safer for all users.”
Chernetz said “New Jersey is a densely populated state so there are going to be more people out and about in cars, there’s going to be more people out on the roadways.”
She said pedestrian fatalities are up this year compared to last year and 2013.
“As of Sept. 1, there have been 98 pedestrian fatalities on New Jersey roadways, in 2014 there were 96 and in 2013 there were 84,” she said. “This indicates that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of engineering our roadways, motorist education, in terms of pedestrian education and in terms of enforcement.”
Last year in there were a total of 170 pedestrian fatalities, in 2013 there were 132 and in 2012 there were 163. Most pedestrian deaths happened in Bergen County, followed by Camden and Essex Counties.
Chernetz says people are on the road walking for many different reasons.
“They’re there because they’re choosing to walk and not take a vehicle, there are people who don’t have a car because they can’t afford it or younger people who don’t have a drivers license. We need to make sure sidewalks are in good repair so everyone can use them, instead of going into the street.”
Every year, Tri State Transportation Campaign analyses the most dangerous roads for pedestrians. Route 130 in Burlington County has come in first for the past several years, followed by U.S. 30, Whitehorse Pike in Camden County. Also Route 9 in Middlesex County and Route 30 in Atlantic County are very dangerous for pedestrians, the report says.