Often, things don’t happen quickly in the field of transportation demand management. Projects can take years to go from conception to design to implementation. So, I was a little self-satisfied when I saw the new blinking yellow traffic signal and Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk signs on New Brunswick’s Paterson Street near Robert Wood Johnson (RWH) Medical Center.
My colleague drives the route everyday and noticed that the crosswalk traffic light was always green, indicating drivers had the right of way. Yet, pedestrians would cross the street boldly in front of oncoming cars.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” she exclaimed.
Late last year, I investigated. My field observations confirmed her concerns. The light remained green because pedestrians didn’t push the button for the pedestrian crossing signal. They didn’t use the button because it took 30 seconds for the light to change.
Sometimes the motorist would stop; sometimes not. Sometimes a pedestrian would look left-right-left, sometimes the pedestrian would step into the street without a glance. Lacking clear directions, pedestrians and motorists had established an uneasy truce.
My report contained a number of recommendations to improve the conditions. It was presented to various stakeholders. I thought it might end up on the shelf like other reports. But, I was wrong.
Recently, my colleague urged me to return to Paterson Street. I was happily surprised to see that the red and green phases of the traffic light have been replaced with a flashing yellow light. Two pedestrian crossing signs have been placed in the roadway. These economical, simple, quick fixes have reduced confusion and created a safer environment in which pedestrians and motorists can co-exist.
I congratulate the stakeholders who made this happen.
UN Secretary General Ban K-Moon was there. So were NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Leonardo DeCaprio. So was an unnamed baby resting on his Mother’s chest. My wife and I were there, too. We were among the 310,000 marchers who gathered in Central Park on Sunday for the People’s Climate March just 2 days before the UN Climate Conference on September 23.
New York City was not alone. Hundreds of thousands like-minded people came together in cities around the world to support climate change action now.
The purpose of the UN Conference is to catalyze “action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society … for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions …that will help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy.” The Secretary General called for UN members to “innovate, scale-up, cooperate and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap.”
March organizers said it was time to “demand action not words.” Yet, it was through the words in chants and on banners that participants got their message across.
“There is no planet B”
“Don’t nuke the climate”
“Don’t frack with us”
Fracking= Climate change
“Treat your mama (Earth) with respect.”
My wife and I were fascinated that people of all ages, nationalities, religions and political perspectives marched peacefully and energetically united in a common cause. As concerned citizens who worry about the future of our planet for our grandchildren and yours, we were proud to be part of the Climate March and left NYC feeling hopeful about the “day after tomorrow. “
Join hundreds of Middlesex County commuters and millions of commuters everywhere in going Car Free or Car Lite on September 22, 2014. KMM will host a week-long event from September 21st to September 26th where we challenge you to try going Car Free or Car Lite just once during the week-long celebration.
Register and pledge to take the challenge. Everyone who registers is entered to win a host of prizes, such as:
- Travel Mug + $10 Dunkin Donuts Gift Card
- Travel Ear buds and $20 iTunes gift card
- Travel Water Bottle and $20 Amazon Gift Card
- Amazon Kindle reader
What is Car Free?
Car Free Week is a worldwide movement to raise awareness about the negative impacts motor vehicles have on our environment. Car Free Week encourages people to reduce dependence on automobiles by Going Car Free or Car Lite for one day.
When did the Car Free Movement Begin?
The first official Car Free Day occurred in Europe on September 22, 1999. By 2005, over 112 million people worldwide participated in Car Free Day.
Why go Car Free?
Our dependence on the automobile harms our planet, our communities, and our lives. Noise and air pollution, traffic congestion, safety concerns make our cities and towns less attractive and less desirable. Going Car Free or Car Lite saves on gas and reduces wear and tear on your car. Walking or bicycling promotes fitness and health. Car Free Month can reconnect neighbors and neighborhoods.
Can you live without your car for one day?
Not sure you can do it? Here are some easy ways to start!
- Take a train or bus
- Ride a bike
- Walk to lunch
- Bring a brown bag lunch
- Work from home
- Carpool or Vanpool
Are you ready to take the Car Free Challenge?
Register today and make a change!
If you’re thinking about making the switch from solo driving to another mode, mass transit is worth a look. Middlesex County is transit rich. NJ TRANSIT’S Raritan Valley, Northeast Corridor, and North Jersey Coast rail lines provide service to New York. And 76 bus lines traverse Middlesex County.
The newly updated and bi-lingual Middlesex Transit Guide is a must have resource for those contemplating bus or train commuting. The Guide describes all of the routes in Middlesex County and provides information about the points each routes served. And, KMM can supply schedules for buses and trains or the links on where to download them.
Need something more local? Visit KMM’s website and learn about the local buses that traverse the county!
Also, don’t forget to visit NJ TRANSIT . The site provides a wealth of information that will help you get to where you need to go.
There is always more than one way to get to work. Let KMM help you learn which one suits your commute best!