EPS Joins Statewide Pedestrian Safety Campaign
Elizabeth Public Schools
Joins Statewide Pedestrian Safety Campaign
Street Smart NJ works to change behaviors that contribute to pedestrian-vehicle crashes
Elizabeth, N.J., November 28, 2023 – Superintendent of Schools Olga Hugelmeyer announced today that Elizabeth Public Schools will be taking part in a Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety education campaign aimed at changing unsafe behavior and reducing pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes at the intersections of Magie Avenue & Keats Avenue and Magie Avenue & Monmouth Road.
“Public safety is a top priority for the district,” Superintendent Hugelmeyer said. “We work closely with the experts at the Elizabeth Police Department on pedestrian traffic safety instruction and look forward to enhancing that work with Street Smart NJ.
"In our schools now, students are taught to use crosswalks at intersections to "cross at the green, not in between" and similar safety lessons. Parents are encouraged to reinforce these lessons and to be the first line of safety instruction at home.”
The Street Smart NJ campaign will help to educate drivers and pedestrians alike about the safe use of our roadways and is part of the broader set of initiatives to make our community safer.
Street Smart NJ, initiated in 2013 and managed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), is a statewide collaborative effort between public, private, and non-profit organizations. The campaign reminds people that everyone has a role in making our streets safer. Drivers must obey speed limits and stop for people crossing; people walking or biking must use crosswalks (marked and unmarked) and cross with the signals; and everyone must avoid distractions. Street Smart NJ is one of many initiatives working to reach zero pedestrian fatalities.
EZ Ride, the Transportation Management Association that serves Union County, will manage the local campaign and will work with the municipality, county, schools, and community partners to educate and distribute safety information. Large educational signs will be displayed at the intersections, and local and County police will enforce traffic and pedestrian laws as part of the campaign.
The campaign will kick off on Tuesday, November 28, at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Magie Avenue & Keats Avenue at the Muslim Community Center of Union County at 964-984 Magie Avenue in Elizabeth. Speakers will include Lisa Lee, Director, EZ Ride; Union County Commissioner and NJTPA Trustee, Bette Jane Kowalski; Chief Giacomo Sacca, Elizabeth Police; Mayor Manuel Figueiredo, Union Township; Superintendent Gerry Benaquista, Union Twp. Public Schools; Mike Rizol, Director, NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety, Matt Glackin, Director of Security, Elizabeth Public Schools, Christina Moreira, Elizabeth Parents & Students Care, Steve Dunn, Union County Connects; and Steve Schnipper; Congregation Beis Hillel, Elmora Hills Minyan.
Pedestrian safety is a concern nationwide, but it is particularly important in New Jersey. On average, one pedestrian is killed every two days in New Jersey, and 12 are injured daily. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, New Jersey ranked 18th in the US in pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people, and pedestrians comprised 30 percent of the 699 traffic fatalities in New Jersey in 2021, far more than the national average of 17 percent. The two focus intersections for this campaign were selected due to eight motor vehicle crashes between October 2020 and September 2022, at Magie Ave. & Monmouth Rd., and a member of the Beis Hillel congregation was fatally struck by a motor vehicle as he crossed the intersection of Magie Ave. & Keats Ave. in March 2022.
Drivers must avoid distractions, stop for people crossing, and slow down for safety. Pedestrians should use crosswalks or cross at intersections and wait for the walk signal or green light before stepping onto the road. These simple actions will save lives. Anyone interested in helping to promote the Street Smart NJ message in Union County should contact Lisa Lee at 201-939-4242 ext. 123 or LLee@ezride.org. Learn more at bestreetsmartnj.org. The campaign is also on Facebook and X (@njstreetsmart).