Newark may be New Jersey's most populous city, but the state's most dangerous road for pedestrians is in the opposite end of the state, in Burlington County.
Route 130, also known as Burlington Pike, had the largest number of pedestrian fatalities in the three-year period ending in 2012, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's annual “Most Dangerous Roads for Walking” report. Twelve people were killed along the stretch of the highway in Burlington County, with two more killed in the Middlesex County stretch and one in Camden.
Two intersections each had two fatal accidents during the three-year period: Route 130 and Manor Road in Delran and Route 130 at Pennypacker Drive in Willingboro.
This was the second year in a row that Route 130 topped the TSTC's ranking of the most dangerous roads for pedestrians in New Jersey. Route 30 in Camden County came in second, with nine fatalities, and Route 1 in Middlesex was third with seven.
Each year, the organization releases its report on the most dangerous roads in an effort to spur officials to take action. In the case of Route 130, a major artery covering 22.5 miles in Burlington, the effort has paid off.
The state Division of Highway Traffic Safety last May announced an 18-month, $225,000 project involving 12 municipal and county law-enforcement agencies along the Route 130 corridor seeking to make the road safer for pedestrians.
Through Operation 130 Safe Passage, 11 local police departments and the Burlington County sheriff's office signed agreements allowing them to cross jurisdictional lines to enforce traffic laws. Police are targeting speeding, distracted and aggressive drivers, and drivers who do not stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
“We know that the most effective enforcement is done during high-volume, high-visibility times, like rush hours.This targeted enforcement effort lets motorists know that there is a police presence on the road and that consistent presence is what changes motoring behavior,” Gary Poedubicky, the acting director of the division, said when the initiative was announced.
The one-dozen pedestrian fatalities along Route 130 accounted for more than half of the total of 21 in that county over the three years, according to data provided by the TSTC. Essex County had the most pedestrian deaths during that period, with 57 fatalities, while Warren County had the least, with only two.
Over the three years, 442 pedestrians were killed on New Jersey's roads -- and fatalities increased each year during that time, climbing from 139 in 2010 to 161 in 2012. The campaign found that arterial roads, which are multi-lane and have speed limits of 40 miles per hour or higher but little infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians, were the most dangerous.
The group made a number of recommendations for improving safety, including prioritizing investment in projects that make streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, and funding the construction of regional trails and safe-walking corridors.