For immediate release:
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a regional transportation policy watchdog group, joined AARP and area residents and elected officials today to issue a call for action on the dangerous Black Horse Pike in Atlantic County and offer a plan to transform the road into a prosperous regional boulevard.
A Tri-State Transportation Campaign report released in February found that, between 2007 and 2009, 7 pedestrians were killed on Black Horse Pike (US-322/40) in Atlantic County, making it the second-deadliest road for walking in the state of New Jersey. In June, the Campaign released a five-point plan for transforming the road.
"Black Horse Pike is an important road, but in too many places it is also an unpleasant, dangerous, and even deadly one," said Kate Slevin, Tri-State Transportation Campaign's executive director.
Today, the Campaign and AARP held a series of events, bringing in internationally known pedestrian safety expert Dan Burden to perform a survey of intersections along the road and lead a workshop to brainstorm solutions. Burden was joined by leaders from the Campaign and AARP, representatives from the NJ Department of Transportation, and area residents and volunteers. The day concluded with a stakeholder meeting including Egg Harbor Township Mayor James McCullough, Atlantic County Freeholder Jim Schroeder, State Assemblymen John F. Amodeo and Vincent J. Polistina, State Senator Jim Whelan, and local police and community leaders. Both the workshop and stakeholder meeting were held at Atlantic Cape Community College.
Some problems identified by the survey include:
At the workshop, Burden showed illustrations demonstrating how changes such as better sidewalks, street trees, bicycle lanes and other traffic calming measures could eventually transform Black Horse Pike into a pleasant and economically successful boulevard lined with shops and pedestrian traffic.
"Black Horse Pike is a road that, frankly, makes you want to leave it as soon as you can," said Matthew Norris, South Jersey Advocate for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "Transforming it into a boulevard where people want to be would be good for business and residents' quality of life."
AARP and the Campaign also called on Congressman Frank LoBiondo to support federal "Complete Streets" legislation that would ensure that road projects receiving federal funds are designed for everyone who uses them, including pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
"A federal 'Complete Streets' law means better-designed, safer roads," Norris said. "Given how dangerous it can be to walk in parts of Atlantic County, it's a law that makes sense for Rep. LoBiondo and other elected leaders to get behind."
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.