MILLTOWN – Officials gathered in Milltown on Dec. 5 to announce a new variation of an existing pedestrian safety campaign being undertaken by the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA) in cooperation with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety (NJDHTS).
The Slow Down in Our Town pedestrian safety program began 15 years ago through an initiative of the Middlesex County Board of Freeholders and the Middlesex County Comprehensive Traffic Safety Program (CTSP). The program is currently targeting Kuhlthau Avenue in Milltown and Raritan Avenue in South Amboy, according to information provided by the Middlesex County Office of Communication.
“Working together with residents and law enforcement creates a unified effort where the community is given an opportunity to participate in the safety of their own neighborhood,” Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said in the statement.
“A key element of the program is the placement of speed warning lawn signs throughout the neighborhood, this new and unique initiative will add the familiar blue recycling containers as ‘mobile billboards’ for the awareness effort. NJDHTS commends Middlesex County for their creativity and effective use of partnerships with multiple agencies in their ongoing effort to make the roads of the county safer for pedestrians,” Edward O’Connor, central region supervisor for NJDHTS, said in the statement.
Slow Down In Our Town is a speed reduction campaign resulting from a partnership between neighborhood residents and local law enforcement. The campaign consists of lawn signs placed at the curb by residents in conjunction with selective enforcement and proactive measures such as radar speed notification signs implemented by the local police department. Training is also provided to local residents to become more engaged in the enforcement effort by reporting speeding vehicles with accurate vehicle descriptions and time of day to local police, according to the statement.
“Working with local law enforcement we seek to identify an area where speeding or motor vehicle accidents are problematic. The next step is to engage the residents to participate by displaying eye-catching lawn signs that motorists will see and respond to,” CTSP Coordinator David Gregor said in the statement.
The program sign graphics and message were created through a Design a Sign contest, where K-12 students submitted design and message ideas which were incorporated into the final design. This year, the MCIA joined the program as a new partner to the safety program by providing Slow Down decals to be placed on recycling bins in targeted areas, according to the statement.
MCIA Chairman James Nolan noted that Executive Director H. James Polos was the freeholder who created the Middlesex County Slow Down in Our Town Campaign in 2004.
“His knowledge and awareness of this pedestrian safety effort led to the MCIA’s participation to further raise visual awareness. Our innovative approach is to have Slow Down in Our Town decals affixed to the blue recycling bins in the targeted campaign neighborhoods. When placed at the curb, they will be a highly visual reminder to drivers to slow down. The MCIA currently provides countywide curbside recycling services to more than 100,000 homes,” Nolan said in the statement.
Also in attendance at the program kickoff were Edward O’Connor, regional Representative, NJDHTS; and from Milltown, Councilwoman/Mayor-Elect Trina Mehr, Councilman/Public Safety Chairman Nick Ligotte, Councilman Rich Revolinski, Councilwoman Doriann Kerber and Police Chief Brian Knelle. From South Amboy, Police Chief Darren Lavigne attended.