Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


New Jersey Future Implores State and Municipalities to Make it Safer and Easier to Choose Alternatives to Driving

Better community planning and street design are necessary to encourage safer passage for pedestrians, cyclists, and others to reduce fatalities and to encourage fewer car trips among New Jerseyans.

TRENTON, July 12, 2022 — Smart Growth America has released its Dangerous By Design Report for 2022, which paints a stark picture of our lack of progress on street safety nationwide as well as here in New Jersey. The pandemic has taught us that even with less car travel overall, fatalities are increasing, revealing the need to focus on the development of safe streets in our broader efforts to help people drive less.

Pedestrian fatalities, of which there were 220 in New Jersey in 2021 (accounting for 31% of all roadway deaths), directly relate to street design that prioritizes automobile speeds and places pedestrians and cyclists in conflict with larger, faster, deadly vehicles. Conditions that pose the greatest risks to pedestrian safety include places without sidewalks, crosswalks, street lighting (as is common in areas of South Jersey), or urban areas where pedestrians and cyclists must compete with an array of motorized vehicles along busy city streets (common in North Jersey). As the report states, “Lower-income neighborhoods are much more likely to contain major arterial roads built for high speeds and higher traffic volumes at intersections, exacerbating dangerous conditions for people walking.” In New Jersey, as throughout the United States, these lower-income neighborhoods are predominantly communities of color who face economic hardship and historic disinvestment. Smart Growth America’s report ranks New Jersey as number 19 of the Top 20 Most Dangerous States in 2021.

“While New Jersey’s listing as a state dangerous to pedestrians is troubling, we need not look far to find places with exemplary results in protecting pedestrians from fatalities. The City of Hoboken, through a concerted effort to transform its streets during standard repaving efforts into complete streets, has managed four years without a pedestrian fatality. This is a remarkable achievement that many cities and towns in New Jersey can learn from. New Jersey Future believes that safe street redesign and embracing vision zero principles will facilitate lower fatalities, vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Tim Evans, research director with New Jersey Future.

“At the end of the day, this all boils down to lives on the line. We have an imperative to reduce fatalities on our streets with safe design, just as we have a duty to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by reducing car trips and vehicle miles traveled. If we want people to drive less, we need to make safe places for people to travel without a car. Fostering safer street design will encourage people to consider multi-modal and low-emission transportation options by making walking, biking, and scooter trips more inviting to New Jerseyans,” stated New Jersey Future’s executive director, Peter Kasabach.

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

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