In mid-April, the Village of South Orange installed several new push-button pedestrian crossing signs at crosswalks along South Orange Avenue.
The signs are highly reflective, brightly colored (neon yellow/green — chartreuse, perhaps?) and are solar powered. When pedestrians hit the push button, LED lights flash, alerting motorists that someone is about to step into the crosswalk.
The three prototypes — at Reservoir Restaurant, Spiotta Park and the Flag Pole — are being tested for effectiveness and to see “if there are any issues,” said South Orange Trustee Howard Levison.
“If you’ve ever tried to cross South Orange Avenue, as I do each and every day, you know how difficult it can be to get drivers to stop for you, which is, of course, the law in New Jersey,” wrote South Orange Village Center Alliance Director Bob Zuckerman in a Village Vibe post on April 21 . “With these new signs, you just push the button when you want to cross, and then the sign lights up, alerting the drivers that they need to stop for pedestrians.”
Zuckerman reported that South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll has instructed offers to strictly enforce pedestrian safety laws, including the crosswalk laws.
Levison said that the Village has received feedback from a community working group with a recommendation to install an additional 5-10 pairs of the crosswalk signs at key locations.
Each crossing has a pair of single-sided signs (a pole on each side of the street) with push-button activators powered by solar panels that cost $5,400 per pair plus poles and installation, said Levison.
Levison said that some observation from the last six weeks of the prototypes show that (1) more public information needs to be circulated about the signs to alert pedestrians to the fact that they need to push the button, (2) the town may need to procure two-sided signs at certain locations for greater visibility, and (3) the timing of the flashers may need to be adjusted.
Despite any issues, Zuckerman finds that the signs provide a big benefit to South Orange Avenue: “I applaud everyone at Village Hall for procuring these new signs, and I want to encourage all drivers to follow the law so that everyone, including our many pedestrians, can be safe here in our downtown.”
Similar signs were installed along Maplewood’s Springfield Avenue last year.