(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Carol Murphy, Herb Conaway and Daniel Benson sponsored to make roadways safer for children who must cross a busy section of Rt. 130 going to and from school was released Thursday by the Assembly Transportation Committee.
The bill (A-3576), to be known as “Antwan’s Law,” would reduce the speed limit on Route 130 near Burlington City High School and Wilbur Watts Intermediate School. The measure follows the death of 17-year-old Antwan Timbers, Jr., who was struck and killed by a vehicle in May 2016 as he walked along Route 130.
The portion of Route 130 in Burlington City, Burlington County is particularly dangerous because its northbound and southbound lanes are separated by a block of commercial properties that contains several popular businesses, including a prominent convenience store, two fast food restaurants, two pizza places, a pharmacy and an ice cream parlor.
“In the wake of this tragic incident, this bill is a commonsense measure to protect pedestrians and students who regularly cross Rt. 130 to utilize everyday amenities,” said Murphy (D-Burlington).
“I applaud the efforts of Antwan’s former classmates and the Burlington City High School administration for championing this legislation and enacting positive change in our community.”
Route 130 is one of the most dangerous roadways in the State for pedestrians, evidenced by the fact that it was adjudged the most dangerous roadway in New Jersey by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign for five consecutive years from 2011 to 2015. Since 2009, Route 130 has never ranked lower than second on the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s list of most dangerous roadways for pedestrians.
“No student should feel like his or her life in danger while walking to and from school during the week or going to the convenience store on the weekend, but that’s the reality for many Burlington students,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “In honor of Antwan and all those who have tragically lost their lives on Route 130, this legislation would make this portion of Route 130 safer for pedestrians.”
“This section of Route 130 is an active business section frequented by students going about their daily routine,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Reducing the speed limit will caution drivers to be vigilant and to slow down whether school is in session or not.”
Currently, DOT sets speed limits for state roads, with designated exceptions for school zones. Along Route 130, for example, the speed limit is 25 mph when the presence of children is clearly visible from the roadway during recess, or while children are going to or leaving school during opening or closing hours in the area around Burlington City High School and the Wilbur Watts Intermediate School, but is otherwise 40 mph in that area.
The bill reduces the speed limit on Route 130 near Burlington City High School and the Wilbur Watts Intermediate School in Burlington City. The speed limit would be reduced to 25 miles per hour on the portions of Route 130 that are directly adjacent to the schools. The speed limit would also be reduced to 35 miles per hour on the portions of Route 130 approaching the newly reduced speed limit zone. The fine for speeding on the portions of Route 130, designated under the bill, is set at triple the typical fine for speeding.