Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The holiday season is here, and that means more pedestrians will be strolling downtown Morristown to shop, dine and celebrate the holidays.

With that in mind, the Morristown Pedestrian Project urges all residents, employees and visitors to making safe walking a priority this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

The MPP is a coalition organized by the Alliance for Morris County Parks to promote the benefits of walking and the importance of motorists and pedestrians sharing the road.

“Safety not only involves having the infrastructure to support safe walking such as crosswalks, sidewalks and signals, but an understanding among all of us of the importance of knowing and following the rules of the road,” said Denise Lanza, assistant deputy director of the Morris County Park Commission. “For pedestrians that means using crosswalks and obeying all signs and signals, while motorists must, under state law, stop for pedestrians when they’re in crosswalks, and slow down to accommodate all roadway users.

The MPP and the Morristown Partnership, which represents the town’s businesses, recently provided retailers, restaurants and other establishments palm cards and posters in both English and Spanish that remind their patrons and employees that pedestrian safety is a “Shared Responsibility.” Additionally, red signs reminding motorists who park on the street to use crosswalks instead of crossing mid-block are posted on parking meters in and around The Green courtesy of the Morristown Parking Authority.

The MPP Coalition partners also offer these tips for safe walking:

• Wear bright colored clothing especially at night.
• Walk on sidewalks and always use crosswalks or cross at the corner. Do not cross mid-block or between parked cars.
• Learn the purpose of Walk/Don’t Walk signs.
• Look left, right and left again before crossing and be on the lookout for turning vehicles, particularly at intersections where vehicles can turn right on red.
• Make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of a vehicle.
• Use the buddy system. Walk and cross with others when possible.
• Avoid walking at night and during inclement weather in areas without sidewalks and/or lighting.

“We fully support this important initiative,” said Jennifer Wehring, marketing director of the Morristown Partnership. “Morristown is recognized as a highly walkable community thanks to all of its meaningful amenities and exciting holiday events. But we have to make sure that everyone who visits understands that safety must be a top priority.”