Chief Tim Barlow recently announced that the education, awareness, and enforcement campaign would start this week.
“Due to the COVID19 pandemic, more people have been working from home and families have been participating in more activities together,” says Chief Tim Barlow. “We have seen an increase in pedestrian traffic throughout the Township, and even though there has been a decrease in motor vehicle traffic we have not seen a decrease in speeding and distracted driving,” he adds.
“The safety of all residents and visitors to Tewksbury Township is of utmost importance,” states Barlow. “The historic village of Oldwick with its restaurants, shops, parks, and the library is a draw for many people. As the main road through the township, County Route 517 (Old Turnpike Road) is heavily traveled. We have teamed up with goHunterdon to educate both pedestrians and motorists to make them aware of their roles in ensuring everyone’s safety.”
Street Smart NJ is a collaborative effort between public, private, and non-profit organizations. Street Smart NJ is one of many initiatives in New Jersey working to help the state reach its goal of zero pedestrian fatalities. The campaign reminds people that everyone has a role to play in making our streets safer. Drivers need to obey speed limits and stop for people crossing; people walking need to use crosswalks (marked and unmarked) and cross with the signals; and everyone needs to avoid distractions.
Educational materials will be on display throughout the community, through local businesses, and via social media. Local police will be enforcing pedestrian safety laws. Special emphasis will be on the enforcement of speed limits and educating drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.
Pedestrian safety is a concern nationwide, but it is particularly important in New Jersey, which the federal government has designated a pedestrian safety focus state for its high rate of fatalities and injuries. Pedestrians comprised 30 percent (173 people) of the 564 people killed in crashes in New Jersey in 2018, nearly double the national average of 16 percent, according to the most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). New Jersey ranks 18th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people in 2018. On average, one pedestrian is killed every two days in New Jersey and 12 are injured daily.
The statewide Street Smart NJ campaign is managed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and began in 2013. goHunterdon receives funding from the NJTPA to facilitate Street Smart NJ campaigns in Hunterdon County.
The Tewksbury Township Street Smart NJ campaign is the eleventh (11th) campaign conducted in Hunterdon County. Prior campaigns include Califon Borough, Town of Clinton, Flemington Borough, Frenchtown Borough, High Bridge Borough, and the City of Lambertville.