Hackensack Joins State Safety Campaign to Reduce Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Crashes

October 26, 2017

Street Smart NJ targets speed, distractedness and safety awareness

Hackensack today kicked off a month-long safety campaign aimed at making travel safer for pedestrians in the city.

The Hackensack Police Department is partnering with EZ Ride Transportation Management Association to conduct the campaign over the next four weeks. Street Smart NJ is a statewide public education, awareness and behavior change campaign developed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA).

“Street Smart NJ is a common sense campaign that helps make our roads safer for everyone,” said Bergen County Executive James Tedesco III, who represents the county on the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “Safety is a top priority in Bergen County, and we need drivers and motorists to do their part by making smarter and safer decisions on the road.”

Hackensack is the Bergen County seat and home to the county’s administrative offices. County Executive Tedesco helped kickoff the campaign during a news conference at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center Wednesday morning.

“Hackensack University Medical Center is proud to join the Hackensack Street Smart initiative, which aims to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president, Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center. “For more than 20 years, Hackensack University Medical Center has been providing trauma care for Northern New Jersey, the New York metropolitan area and beyond.  Our dedicated trauma experts deliver a superior level of treatment that can only be found at a designated trauma center.  As a human-centric, innovative and quality oriented organization, our trauma team provides injury prevention education on a routine basis to the public to help keep our communities safe.”

“Pedestrians are one and a half times more likely to be killed than occupants of a motor vehicle crash,” said Sanjeev Kaul, M.D., chief, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center. “New Jersey, with a pedestrian fatality rate of 1.8 per 100,000 residents, is higher than 19 other states in the U.S. Pedestrian trauma is preventable through injury prevention education. At Hackensack University Medical Center, a state designated trauma center, we have a robust injury prevention program and are excited to support the Hackensack Street Smart initiative to help become a safer state for pedestrians.”

The intersection of Thompson Street and Prospect Avenue, near Hackensack University Medical Center, will be a focus of the campaign. EZ Ride conducted pre-campaign observations at the intersection earlier this month and will return to the intersection for post-campaign observations after the Hackensack Police Department concludes its education and enforcement activities.

There were 273 pedestrian-involved crashes in Hackensack from 2012 through 2016, resulting in 264 injuries and nine fatalities.

“Hackensack is excited to participate in Street Smart NJ to help make our streets safer for everyone,” said Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse. “Pedestrian safety is also good for our local economy. When people feel safe they are more likely to walk around our business district, visiting our restaurants and local shops.”

Street Smart NJ, a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations, urges motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to obey New Jersey’s pedestrian safety laws. The campaign’s slogan is “Check Your Vital Signs,” because pedestrian safety is vital to everyone’s well-being. The key “vital signs” are speed limit and stop signs for drivers, and walk/don’t walk signals and crosswalks for pedestrians. A fifth message, “Heads Up, Phones Down,” encourages both motorists and pedestrians to avoid distractions.

Pedestrian safety continues to be an important issue in New Jersey. The Federal Highway Administration designated New Jersey a “focus” state for the high incidence of injury and fatal motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians. From 2011 to 2015, 765 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes and more than 22,000 were injured, according to the state data.

Throughout the campaign, street signs, posters, safety tip cards, coasters and cup sleeves will be on display in the city. The Hackensack Police Department will distribute safety tip cards and conduct enforcement activities.

“Our officers will be interacting with motorists to make sure they know and obey the law, stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks and avoiding distractions,” Hackensack Police Lt. Tina Cappadonna said. “We will also be reminding pedestrians to use crosswalks and to cross at intersections.”

The Street Smart NJ campaign works. Evaluations of campaigns in 2016 found a 40 percent reduction in drivers failing to yield to crossing pedestrians or cyclists and a 28 percent reduction in pedestrians jaywalking or crossing against the signal.

NJTPA Executive Director Mary K. Murphy commended Bergen County and Hackensack for partnering with Street Smart to make New Jersey’s streets safer for everyone. The NJTPA has set a goal of securing 100 campaign partners and Hackensack marks Street Smart’s 65th partner.

“Any community can run a Street Smart NJ campaign,” Executive Director Murphy said. “We have everything you need — from posters to tip cards to a ‘how to’ guide and a digital toolkit — online. I urge you to join us in our efforts to shift New Jersey from a pedestrian focus state to a pedestrian friendly state.”

For additional information on Street Smart NJ visit www.bestreetsmartnj.org.

On October 25, the City of Hackensack, along with the County of Bergen and Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center kicked off the Hackensack Street Smart NJ pedestrian safety campaign, developed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), which aims to reduce pedestrian-vehicle crashes. From left to right:  Lt. Tina Cappadonna, Hackensack Police; Avnish Gupta, assistant executive director, EZ Ride Transportation Management Association; Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president, Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center; James Tedesco III, Bergen County Executive; John Labrosse, mayor of Hackensack; Zenobia Fields, director Department of Planning, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority; and Sanjeev Kaul, M.D., chief, Division of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care and Injury Prevention at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center.

About the NJTPA
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects. The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Newark and Jersey City. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT, the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 775-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 28,000 team members and more than 6,000 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospital rankings – maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2017. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 23 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit www.HackensackUMC.org.