Borough of Point Pleasant – Mayor Robert Sabosik announced today that Point Pleasant Borough will be conducting a Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety education campaign aimed at reducing pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes in New Jersey beginning this April.
The Street Smart NJ campaign is a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations. Local police will be enforcing pedestrian laws in the borough and working with several partners including Borough Administration and Recreation, Greater Mercer TMA and schools – to educate motorists and pedestrians on their responsibilities to improve pedestrian safety.
Point Pleasant Borough kicked off its Street Smart NJ campaign on April 27th during the Borough’s Earth Day Celebration at Riverfront Park where following the kickoff, residents were encouraged to complete an online survey to gauge their traffic safety knowledge.
The campaign comes at a significant time. New Jersey ranked 17th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The federal government has designated New Jersey a “focus” state – placing an extra emphasis on aiding the state in combating its higher-than-average pedestrian fatality rate and providing funding for this campaign.
During the duration of the campaign you will see throughout the community posters, tip cards and other educational materials sponsored by both Greater Mercer TMA and the Borough of Point Pleasant. Social media and community presentations will be used to help raise awareness about pedestrian safety along with an educational component being administered through the Borough’s Recreation and Police Departments in all of their various programs.
“Pedestrian safety is a priority for the Borough’s Police Department. We’ll be interacting with motorists to make sure they know and obey the law and stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk,” said Chief Larsen. “We’ll also be reminding pedestrians to use crosswalks and cross at intersections.”
Officers will also address speeding and distracted driving and walking, which often contribute to crashes involving pedestrians.
According to Mayor Sabosik, “This is a great initiative. On top of all of the improvements we’ve already done over the last few years, education is probably the most important. Drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists alike need to know the law and follow it.”
Council President Thulen echoed those sentiments saying “Education is key. Whether you are young or old, pedestrian safety education is a vital component to having a safer community. I’m very happy the Borough has officially partnered with Greater Mercer TMA and the statewide Street Smart NJ campaign. We want to make sure everyone driving, walking or biking is aware and alert when they are out in our community.”
Councilwoman Snyder added that “We’ve been working on this for a while now and decided to formally kick off the education campaign this Spring. The best part is that it is not a one-time thing. This education campaign is designed to be year-round and will remain a part of our Recreation and Police Departments for years to come. We’ll be having seminars during Summer Camp for our campers, informational items will be distributed to parents and children alike during Rec Programs. The Greater Mercer TMA will be joining the Mayor and Council at Earth Day, Summerfest and other community events to help educate and encourage everyone to stay safe while driving, walking or biking.”
Councilman Joe Furmato wanted to personally thank Greater Mercer TMA and our Borough Police Department for making this education campaign possible. “For something like this to be a success, it takes all parties working together. Chief Larsen and his officers are committed to helping our Administrative Staff educate our community and heighten everyone’s awareness to pay attention to what’s around them. We live in a complicated world today where there are more distractions than ever. The simplest advice of paying attention to your surroundings often goes unheeded in a world where what’s on your smart phone is more important than what’s in front of you. We want to do our best to change that culture in Point Pleasant.”
Councilwoman DePaola, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, added that “You may have noticed our Police Department already posting various safety messages on their Facebook Page and going around town doing seminars and talking in schools. I want to thank the Mayor and the rest of Council for creating a focus on safety education and thank the Police Department for everything they are doing as well. This campaign is already in addition to a great many physical improvements we’ve done through out town including new sidewalks, increased signage and new crosswalks.”
The statewide Street Smart NJ campaign is managed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and began in 2013. The Street Smart campaign focuses on encouraging five key behaviors. Motorists are told to obey the speed limit and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians are told to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal where applicable. And the fifth message, “Heads Up, Phone Down,” reminds everyone to avoid distractions whether they’re driving, biking or walking.
Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in helping to promote the Street Smart NJ message in other parts of the State should contact Greater Mercer TMA, 609 452-1491 or firstname.lastname@example.org and those that wish to participate in Point Pleasant should contact Borough Administrator Frank Pannucci at email@example.com. To learn more about the campaign, visit bestreetsmartnj.org and the Borough of Point Pleasant’s webpage, www.ptboro.com and Facebook Page. The campaign is also on Facebook (StreetSmartNJ) and Twitter (@njstreetsmart).