Burlington County to seek grants to improve safety on Route 130

By Danielle Camilli Staff writer Burlington County Times

| Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 11:00 am

MOUNT HOLLY — With the Route 130 corridor through Burlington County ranking as the most dangerous to pedestrians in the state, the county wants to focus enforcement and education grant dollars there to improve safety.

Sheriff Jean Stanfield told the county Board of Freeholders at its conference meeting Wednesday that she would apply for about $258,000 in grants from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety for programs this year and next on the deadly stretch of Route 130.

About $75,000 of the funds, if awarded, would be used to augment the existing Comprehensive Traffic Safety grant that runs through Sept. 30, she said. The additional grant money would continue the program into the next funding year with about $150,000 allocated to the Route 130 effort. The remainder of the grant would be used for defensive driving, crossing guard training and bike and pedestrian programs.

“We want to join with the local police departments along the Route 130 corridor and do proactive enforcements. They will be coordinated and widely publicized,” she said. “Part of this is enforcement, but there is also education.”

This will be the first time the county and the local departments work together to address the dangers of Route 130.

Fifteen pedestrians were killed on the county’s 23-mile stretch of the state highway since 2009, according to New Jersey State Police statistics, including three last year and one last month in Delran.

The pedestrian deaths have prompted the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which advocates for transportation improvements in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, to name Route 130 as New Jersey’s most dangerous highway for pedestrians the last five years.

A man was hit Monday night on the road in Delran and is in critical condition, according to police.

Stanfield said the grant money, which would help pay for overtime for officers, would address traffic enforcement of factors that lead to fatal crashes, including speed and distracted driving.

Authorities also will work to educate the public since “pedestrian error” has been a contributing cause in some of the accidents, the sheriff said.

Stanfield said she is “fairly optimistic” the county will be successful in getting the grants as it has worked with the state previously. She said the county could hear as soon as next month on the continuing grants.

In addition to the Route 130-focused grants, the sheriff’s department also is seeking about $30,000 from the state’s Pedestrian Safety Program with the intention of using those funds for countywide enforcement projects beginning July 1.

“This project will use a three-prong approach of education, enforcement and engineering,” Stanfield said.

Sheriff’s officers, trained by the state, will conduct pedestrian decoy operations and will partner with local police to do 30 enforcement operations. Under state law, vehicles are not allowed in crosswalks once pedestrians enter.

In addition, county and municipal engineers will be asked for recommendations to enhance safety, including the addition of signage, markings and other modifications, officials said.

Finally, the sheriff will seek additional funds for the county’s popular child passenger safety program. In total, Stanfield told the freeholder board she was seeking more than $320,000 in grant dollars for the various initiatives.