SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — When it comes to pedestrian safety city officials in Summit, New Jersey are going beyond a tradition street campaign.
They’re not just warning people to “look up, not down” when crossing the road, they’re changing the designs of the streets.
Most people can say that they’re guilty of texting and walking every now and then.
“Of course, who doesn’t?” asked Summit resident Christine Magnotta.
Magnotta still admits she knows it could be dangerous to pay closer attention to whats on her screen than what’s on the road. That’s why she’s supportive of new safety measures in the city of Summit.
“Well, I guess safety first,” said Magnotta. “Go for it.”
The city’s engineering and police departments are trying to make it’s streets safer for pedestrians, including those who are texting or talking on their phones. They’ve narrowed several busy roads and widened certain sidewalks, adding bump outs at corners to enhance what they call “traffic calming.”
“Some people are looking down at their phones all the time,” said resident Pete Cummins. “Maybe have a little wiggle room on the sidewalks isn’t a bad idea.”
“I think it’s a really smart thing that they’re doing,” added Rebecca Iacovitti.
Nora Radest is the city’s mayor.
“Unfortunately, the amount of pedestrian accidents and fatalities are going up nationwide and a part of the reason, very clearly is that people are not paying attention when they’re crossing the streets,” said Radest.
She believes the city is attracting more people who are looking to walk rather than drive and with that, it’s their duty to make the streets safer, if not slower.
“There is such an increase in a desire for a walkable town,” said Radest. “The millennials, they don’t really want to be driving around.”
The city has also installed several pedestrian beacons at crosswalks that come with light up signs, but not everyone supports these additional measures.
“To me, it’s an unnecessary expense,” said John Roder, Summit resident.
“I think you still need room for the cars, they have a lot of cars here,” said another Summit resident, Judy Farmakis. “I think we just need to stop texting.”
And start focusing on what’s in front of you not what’s in your hands.