HOPEWELL BOROUGH: Council taking steps to ensure safety of pedestrians
Pedestrian safety is probably the top concern voiced in Hopewell Borough, according to Mayor Paul Anzano.
Six accidents involving vehicles striking pedestrians or bicyclists have occurred over the past two years in town. Back in August of 2013, a 76-year-old Princeton woman was hit by a car while on foot and died as a result of her injuries. (http://www.centraljersey.com/news/the_princeton_packet/hopewell-princeton-woman-dies-after-hit-by-car/article_08e49f39-372a-5a76-b6b3-6d219ce7f59a.html) Three of the six accidents took place at the corner of Broad Street and Greenwood Avenue.
During the most recent Borough Council meeting on July 6, several residents expressed their gratitude for the steps already taken by officials over the last few years to help protect them as they walk and cross the streets in town. But they also asked for more to be done, especially after some residents have experienced their own close calls while on foot barely avoiding being hit by vehicles.
At the same meeting, council members approved spending $4,000 on a new radar speed sign and other traffic control equipment.
Two similar electronic signs, installed last year at either end of Broad Street and paid for by Mercer County, alert motorists of the posted speed limit as well as the speed at which they are traveling as they enter Hopewell Borough.
Unlike the permanent radar speed signs on Broad Street that can’t be moved, the new radar sign, which is powered by solar energy, is portable and can be transported around.
“It should be up and operational before the school year starts,” Mayor Anzano said in a July 10 phone interview.
Speaking at the July 6 Council meeting, Ryan Kennedy, a borough resident and Planning Board member, thanked council members for their work with Mercer County officials on safety improvements already in place.
“You have always been receptive to the residents’ concerns,” Mr. Kennedy said.
Some of the other existing improvements include a decrease in the posted speed limit along portions of East and West Broad streets from 35 mph to 25 mph, and the installation of crosswalks where there were no crosswalks before, Mayor Anzano said on July 10.
“We were also able to install electronic crossing pedestrian signs,” he said.
Pedestrians, he said, can push a button to activate flashing lights that alert motorists to stop as people on foot cross the street.
“Police are enforcing the speed limit and the flashing stop signs,” the mayor said. A violation for not stopping for pedestrians, he said, comes with a hefty fine.
Borough resident Katja Lewis told the council on July 6 that reducing the speed limit down to 25 mph where she lives on West Broad Street has made a noticeable difference, making it easier to exit her driveway.
“I really appreciate the steps that have been taken,” Ms. Lewis told council members.
But she also described two places in town where she said pedestrians should be especially alert for moving vehicles when crossing the street. One problem area, Ms. Lewis said, is on Mercer Street near the corner with West Broad Street. Another is the intersection of Broad Street and Greenwood Avenue.
Resident Vicki Margulies described some of own her difficulties as a pedestrian avoiding fast-moving vehicles while crossing East Broad Street at North Greenwood Avenue, from the northwest corner to the southeast corner of that intersection.
“We recognize that that intersection causes challenges,” Mayor Anzano said on July 6. How the traffic lights at that intersection are synchronized, he said, “is under review.”
During the July 10 phone interview, the mayor said that Hopewell Borough is reliant on Mercer County when it comes to safety improvements on Broad Street, which is a county road.
The county, he said, has the authority to change speed limits on the roads they own. County officials, according to Mayor Anzano, do not want traffic-calming devices like curb bump outs or speed bumps installed on their roads. They also don’t allow diagonal street parking.
“Local police and fire have told us to also stay away from speed bumps because it impedes their ability to get around,” the mayor said.
“It’s not a prefect world, regardless of what we do — more crosswalks, speed limit signs and flashing lights — someone is going to exceed the speed limit,” Mayor Anzano said.
Courtesy : Frank Mustac