|DELRAN – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa today announced the launch of a multi-jurisdictional enforcement effort in Burlington County termed “Operation 130 Safe Passage” that will entail local and county law enforcement entities working collectively to make the busy Route 130 corridor safer for pedestrians.
The 18-month, $225,000 project is funded by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, and 12 of the municipal and county law enforcement agencies that patrol Route 130 will participate. The participating agencies include: Burlington County Sheriff, Bordentown, Bordentown City, Mansfield, Florence, Burlington, Burlington City, Edgewater Park, Willingboro, Delanco, Delran and Cinnaminson police departments. The agencies signed shared services agreements, which will allow them to cross jurisdictions to enforce traffic laws.
Route 130 cuts a 22.5-mile path through the heart of Burlington County and serves as a major transit artery. The highway has been the scene of 13 pedestrian fatalities from 2007-2011 and more than 40 pedestrians were involved in motor vehicle crashes during that time span.
With Route 130 serving as a backdrop, Attorney General Chiesa made the announcement today just a mile south of the scene of a crash where a 20-year-old female pedestrian was struck and killed by a motorist as she tried to cross the state highway on her way to work.
“The reports and statistics involving this stretch of highway are disturbing and inaction is simply not an option,” Chiesa said. “Working together, our commitment is to have drivers slow down and be more attentive, pedestrians cross the road with as much care as possible and, ultimately, to prevent future tragedies along this important highway corridor.”
The Attorney General was joined by Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky, Senator Diane Allen (7th-Edgewater Park), Assemblyman Troy Singleton (7th-Palmyra), Burlington County Freeholder Director Joseph Donnelly and Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield, whose office will be leading the project.
Chiesa said police will be targeting speeding, distracted and aggressive drivers and those motorists who do not stop for pedestrians at intersections.
Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said the project will allow law enforcement to conduct the patrols during peak rush hour travel times, and will be rotating throughout towns in the corridor.
“We know that the most effective enforcement is done during high-volume, high-visibility times, like rush hours. This targeted enforcement effort lets motorists know that there is a police presence on the road and that consistent presence is what changes motoring behavior,” Poedubicky said.
He noted that the shared services agreements between agencies will ensure police will not be restricted by town borders when enforcing traffic laws. Motorists ticketed for not stopping for pedestrians face a $200 fine, two points on their license and court costs, he said.
“Like all of the best initiatives, the ‘safe passage’ effort we're announcing here today is a genuine partnership involving local, county and state agencies. Our shared goal is to make Route 130 safer not only for pedestrians who need to cross it, but for motorists who drive it as well,” said Poedubicky.
Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield said Operation 130 Safe Passage is an “amazing opportunity for us to make a significant change in the way motorists and pedestrians use the Route 130 corridor, adding “we can't wait to begin this potentially life-saving initiative.”
Attorney General Chiesa’s directed his final comments to pedestrians. He said both pedestrians and drivers shared responsibility for their safety on the roadways. He urged pedestrians to use common sense when crossing the street and offered the following tips to stay safe:
Wear bright-colored, reflective clothing, especially at night.
Walk on sidewalks or paths and always cross at the corner, within marked crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and make eye contact with motorists.
Never cross mid-block (unless within a marked crosswalk), between parked cars or by climbing over median barriers.
Look left, then right and left again before crossing, and always be on the look-out for turning vehicles.
Continue to look for vehicles while crossing, even when in marked crosswalks.
- Do not attempt to cross while talking or texting on a cell phone.