Safe Streets Essex…a project of the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition
The state of New Jersey vies with New York State for the highest percentage of road deaths in the nation that occur to pedestrians and bike riders, also referred to as “vulnerable road users.” While the national average for these road deaths is usually in the 14-16% range, New Jersey was over 30% for pedestrian deaths in 2016, and hit 33% when combined with bike rider fatalities. What this dismal figure means in simple terms is that 1/3 of the people killed on our roads were not in a vehicle; they were either walking or riding a bicycle. At twice the national average, the state has a serious and tragic problem that should be at the top of the priority list for all elected officials.
Among the state’s 21 counties, Essex County typically ranks at or near the top in pedestrian road fatalities, in raw numbers. Simply said, Essex County is one of the most dangerous counties in the nation for pedestrians. The county is one of the smallest in land area in the state (129.6 square miles), and had a population of 796,914 as of the 2016 Census estimate, resulting in a population density of over 6,100 people per square mile. This makes the county the second most populated county in the state, behind Hudson County.
Safe Streets Essex provides a forum for the county’s municipalities, community partners and other stakeholders to collectively advocate for safer roads in the county. Safe Streets Essex meets each quarter in various venues in the county. To receive an invitation to the next quarterly meeting, click on the “Sign up” button below and choose “Safe Streets Essex” from the list.
Essex County and Complete Streets
When the county passed the Essex County Complete Streets resolution in April 2012, it became only the second county-wide Complete Streets policy in the state. While the county was on the leading edge in adopting this policy, it has almost never been followed. The county later created an implementation plan so that it had a protocol for adherence to the resolution; the Essex County Complete Streets Implementation Plan was intended to be put into action in the Spring of 2015.
Municipal Complete Streets policies
Many of Essex County’s 22 municipalities have passed their own Complete Streets policies, in the form of resolutions. To find out if your municipality has one, click here. If you do not see your town listed, then it does not have a policy. If it is listed, click on the town and the policy will appear.
For the most updated information on pedestrian fatalities in the county, visit the NJ State Police Fatal Accident Investigation Unit Year-to-Date report. For historical data, download this spreadsheet, which contains pedestrian crashes, including fatalities, in Essex County by municipality for the years 2012- 2016. The top tab has the crash data summarized by municipality by year. The Raw Data 5year tab lists the age, location, date and time, municipality and the number of pedestrians killed and injured for each crash.
Our partners at Velo Bloomfield are circulating a petition for a safer Bloomfield Avenue. If you want to see this most dangerous road made safer for pedestrians and bike riders, please add your name to the petition and circulate among your friends.
To receive an invitation to the next quarterly meeting of Safe Streets Essex, click on the “Sign up” button below and choose “Safe Streets Essex” from the list.