Crossing Safety System Activated in Elmwood Park
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced the activation of a new crossing signal system at Midland Avenue railroad crossing in Elmwood Park.
In February, Rep. Pascrell urged NJDOT to make safety improvements at the crossing after the New York Times reported it was listed as one of the most dangerous in the nation. Since then, NJDOT has worked closely with NJ Transit, Bergen County, local officials and Congressman Pascrell’s office to improve safety at this crossing.
“Based on what this intersection looked like before the upgrades, this federal investment in Elmwood Park may save lives. This crossing was a major source of trouble,” Rep. Pascrell said. “We have been continuously trying to improve transportation safety and this is just one example of our hard work paying off. I want to thank the New Jersey Department of Transportation and NJ TRANSIT for their efforts."
The project included a new queue cutter traffic signal, a new crossing surface, and a new “DO NOT BLOCK THE BOX” surface treatment. The queue cutter system, which was activated yesterday, uses new signals that are programmed to help prevent cars from stopping on the tracks. The queue cutter system is a first of its kind in the Northeast and the new surface treatment is only the second in the nation. A similar striping pattern was used in Florida that saw incidents reduced by 40 percent.
“The safety of motorists and pedestrians is the Department’s top priority and one that we take very seriously,” Acting NJDOT Commissioner Richard Hammer said. “The completion of this project will significantly improve the safety at Midland Crossing by using innovative techniques that have proven successful at other crossings around the country.”
“We have no greater responsibility as transportation professionals than to ensure the safe travel of those who use our system,” NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim said. “Through the utilization of innovative and effective measures to improve this grade crossing we have been able to make further progress toward protecting the traveling public. It is important to remember that this is a partnership…one that requires motorists and pedestrians adhere to the protective measures in place and to realize they are there for a reason, and that one risk-taking move could be a final one.”
This project cost approximately $800,000, with $300,000 coming from federal funds and $500,000 paid for by the state.