Will an increase in crosswalks on Route 35’s southbound lanes make conditions safer for pedestrians or create more havoc on the highway?
Council President Anita Zalom said some residents have requested additional crosswalks be painted over the southbound lanes of the highway, but others feel they could ultimately produce more dangerous conditions.
“The Chief of Police is not strongly in favor of crosswalks without [traffic] lights,” said Councilwoman Joanne Filippone, echoing the opinion of many residents that crosswalks provide “a false sense of security” and lead to people walking out into traffic without looking and drivers stopping when they shouldn’t.
New Jersey’s crosswalk law has been controversial in Shore communities since it was passed in 2010. Previously, motorists were required to yield, but the law was updated to require a full stop. Since the law was passed, it has long been the opinion of many area officials that neither drivers nor walkers understand its requirements, leading to a dangerous mix.
Shorebeat is currently planning a wider report detailing accident statistics before and after the law was put into place. But the Lavallette council briefly took up the issue at its meeting Monday.
Zalom said she spoke with representatives from the state Department of Transportation, and said officials there would be willing to paint more crosswalks if requested by the mayor and borough council.
Filippone said while the issue is being debated, the council has requested the police department assign two crossing guards: one at Bryn Mawr Avenue and Route 35 north, and another at New York Avenue and Route 35 south.
“I’ve seen a marked difference in the traffic pattern this summer,” said resident Mark Speaker. “People are going much faster. You wait for a parade of cars to go by.”
While crosswalks – and traffic lights – are plentiful in the northbound lanes of the highway, they are scarce in the southbound lanes.
Council members said they will consult with the police department and consider whether more crosswalks are appropriate for the southbound lanes of the highway.