Monday, October 16th, 2017
Emphasizes Better Habits for Downtown Motorists and Pedestrians
The Town of Boonton is the latest Morris County municipality to join the Street Smart campaign and is currently hosting a month-long pedestrian safety effort that will run through October.
At a press conference earlier this month in Boonton, town officials and the Boonton Police Department, TransOptions, Morris County Board of Freeholders, state representatives, and other advocates launched the campaign, which is an effort that combines grassroots public awareness, educational outreach and high-visibility law enforcement to change behaviors as they relate to pedestrian safety.
“Boonton’s walkability is one of its greatest assets. With the all the distractions facing pedestrians and drivers, the Street Smart Boonton program will help educate the public and enforce the rules that will keep Boonton’s greatest asset, its people, safe,” said Boonton Mayor Matthew DiLauri.
“Morris County and the NJTPA (North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority) have a long-standing commitment to make safety our number one transportation priority,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo. “Since Boonton has a vibrant downtown that draws many pedestrians every day, it’s vitally important to make sure our streets and pedestrian areas are well marked and that drivers and pedestrians both are reminded of safe behavior on our streets.”
From 2013 to 2015, there have been 16 pedestrian-related crashes in Boonton, including one fatal crash. Thirty-eight percent of these crashes were a result of pedestrians or motorists failing to yield, while 31 percent of these crashes were a result of distracted driving according to the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation.
Street Smart’s “check your vital signs” slogan emphasizes safe travel roles and responsibilities to both pedestrians and motorists alike. The vital signs are displayed on tip cards, posters, banners and street signs throughout the community and in local businesses as a visual reminder for drivers and pedestrians.
TransOptions, a non-profit transportation organization, is leading the Street Smart effort in Boonton, after successfully completing similar campaigns across northwestern New Jersey, including Dover and Morristown.
“As we have done in several other towns, we are handling the education portion of the campaign, and pairing that outreach with surveys and observational analysis of pedestrian behavior in Boonton,”said Laura Cerutti, TransOptions’ Street Smart program manager.
The Street Smart NJ program was piloted in five communities in New Jersey in 2013 and 2014. The pilot programs were conducted in Newark, Jersey City, Woodbridge, Hackettstown, and Long Beach Island. The five communities were selected in order to incorporate the state’s diverse landscape of urban, suburban, rural, and shore regions.
The program comes as a response to New Jersey being designated a pedestrian “focus” state by the Federal Highway Administration. In 2015, New Jersey ranked 15th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities, according to a recent report from The Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Since the pilot programs, Street Smart has grown significantly and has been active in over 40 municipalities throughout the state.
Boonton was awarded a grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety (NJDHTS) for campaign materials and enforcement efforts.
To learn more, visit www.TransOptions.org/street-smart