Township Seeks to Improve Pedestrian Safety
Solar powered warning signs at crosswalks targeted for multiple locations with high pedestrian traffic.
South Brunswick Township has applied for federal grant funds to install solar power crosswalk warning signs at various locations that experience a high level of pedestrian traffic.
On Tuesday evening for the second time in the last five days, a pedestrian walking across a major roadway was struck by a motorist in South Brunswick. Prior to these incidents, the township had already been working to secure funds that would add an additional layer of protection on roads that are less well lit than the major roadways on which the pedestrians were struck.
Through a Federal Highway Safety Grant, the township is hoping to place signs that offer an enhanced warning to motorists that pedestrians may be crossing the road. The main location where officials said a warning sign would be most needed is at the South Brunswick Public Library on Kingston Lane, but other crosswalks have also been discussed.
"Our prime locations are the bike path crossings at Ridge Road and New Road, Beekman Road by Veterans Park, and we applied for a crosswalk at Ridge and Margaret Drive," said Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz. "What we're looking for are flashing yellow lights that are solar powered to be on both sides of the streets as warning that pedestrians may be crossing. Depending on the style, those signs go between $4,000 and $11,000, which is why we're seeking a grant."
The township has recently moved to improve pedestrian safety on Beekman Road, which has long been an area of concern. The Township Council last year lowered the speed limit on Beekman from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour. The council also approved a plan to install two crosswalks adjacent to the entrances of both Veterans Park and Beech Woods Park on Beekman. An estimated 3,000 cars per day travel on Beekman Road as a connector between Route 1 and Route 27.
With work ongoing to complete the Freedom Trail bikeway, the township also hopes to have improved warning signs to protect cyclists. Last year, the township voted to establish two crosswalks on Ridge Road and New Road in connection with the Freedom Trail.
Once completed, the 10-mile bikeway will run from Ridge Road in Kingston to Route 1, and on the western side of Route 1 the path will run by Stouts Lane, across New Road and then back to Ridge Road.
The Freedom Trail project is expected to cost about $500,000 and will be paid for by a grant from the Department of Transportation.
"Getting these signs are important so the motoring public receives proper warning that there may be a pedestrian crossing, particularly in high traffic areas," Schmalz said.