Beach Haven Joins Other ‘Street Smart’ Communities

Aug 01, 2018
Courtesy of: North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority

With the summer season in full swing, police departments all along the Jersey Shore are reminding motorists and pedestrians to be safe this season.

Street Smart NJ had that in mind when it kicked off its summer pedestrian safety campaign with a news conference on July 25 in Beach Haven, the latest Long Beach Island community to join the program. Other LBI communities that have partnered with Street Smart and held similar events are Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township and Surf City.

“We hope that this campaign will help raise awareness about pedestrian safety during the busy summer months,” Beach Haven Police Chief James Markoski said at the pocket park across from the Fantasy Island Amusement Park. “Our officers will be reminding drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to be safe by avoiding distractions and following the law.”

Markoski said that during the summer tourist season, Beach Haven’s year-round population swells from approximately 1,000 to more than 20,000.

“As a young officer, I saw a pedestrian get struck by car,” he said. “I never forgot that, and it reinforces to me the importance of safety.”

Beach Haven Sgt. Lisa Schweid said bicycle lanes are located on Atlantic and Beach avenues, as well as along Bay Avenue from Liberty to Nelson Avenue.

“If you are under age 17, you are required to wear a bicycle helmet,” she said.

The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority launched Street Smart NJ in 2013, with various appearances throughout the state during the summer months, focusing on non-compliant behavior for drivers and pedestrians, such as speeding, jaywalking, failing to stop for pedestrians, talking/texting on cell phones and failure to obey traffic signals.

“Part of the program involves positive enforcement,” said David Behrend, NJTPA communications and government affairs director. “That’s when officers notice pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers obeying the rules, and the officers will go up to the person and recognize them for that,” he said.

In Beach Haven, officers handed out coupons for free 7-Eleven Slurpees and free small ice cream cones from Fantasy Island.

Harvey Cedars hosted a Street Smart event in 2016.

“Since partnering with them, we continue to get brochures and education materials,” said Police Chief Robert Burnaford. “Officers can hand them out during the summer. We can also post on our electronic message board.”

Behrend said the Street Smart program was created after New Jersey was designated as a “focus state” by the Federal Highway Administration due to a high incidence of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. In 2001, 184 pedestrians died as a result of pedestrian-vehicle crashes in New Jersey. From 2013 to 2017, 824 pedestrians were killed and more than 22,000 injured on New Jersey’s roadways, which translates to one death every 2.2 days and 12 injuries daily.

“We have more than 70 communities partnering with us,” he said. “Our goal is to get to 100. We encourage all towns to join us in making the roads safer.”

— Eric Englund

 

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