(TRENTON) – A legislative package sponsored by Assemblywoman Celeste Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) to help prevent traffic accidents and make roads in residential neighborhoods safer for children and pedestrians was approved Monday by an Assembly panel.
The first measure (A-3947) would require the state Commissioner of Transportation to designate a 15 or 20 miles per hour speed limit on all residential access streets within a community or neighborhood, when such a speed limit is requested by the community’s association or a majority of the residents in the neighborhood, with the approval of the appropriate governing body.
“As much as we might teach our children to be mindful of cars and to look before they cross, they are often blissfully ignorant of just how dangerous roads can be even when you are paying attention,” said Riley. “This bill gives communities the ability to make their neighborhoods safer for children and pedestrians by giving them the option to reduce speed limits on residential streets.”
The bill (A-3947) is limited to communities or neighborhoods in which a majority of the streets do not have sidewalks. The bill also specifies that signs giving notice of the speed limit be erected.
The bill specifies that “residential access street” would have the meaning used in the New Jersey Administrative Code. Under the code, these streets are the lowest order of residential streets, not including rural streets. They provide access without acting as through streets, are designed to carry the least amount of traffic at the lowest speed, and are generally found in residential developments.
The second measure (AR-159) urges the state Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Highway Administration to develop improved design standards for traffic signs used to protect children. The bill contends that the current designs of these devices do not adequately warn unsuspecting drivers and protect the children walking on or alongside public roadways.
The third measure (AR-160) urges the state DOT to notify delivery companies doing business in the state of the importance of safe driving practices while making deliveries in residential neighborhoods. The DOT is further urged to produce and distribute to every delivery company doing business in the state a video for delivery workers to watch demonstrating safe driving practices. It also urges the state Motor Vehicle Commission to amend the New Jersey Driver Manual and Commercial Driver Manual to include information on the importance of safe driving practices in making deliveries.
“Pedestrians constitute a large portion of those individuals who are killed or injured in traffic related accidents every year throughout the county. Children aged 15 and under are especially vulnerable to such dangers. Adequate signage and promoting safe driving practices are just as important in keeping children and pedestrians safe from traffic accidents,” said Riley.
All three measures were released by the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities.