Reacting on a request from Lord & Taylor, town officials have started the process to install a traffic light in front of the North Avenue department store.
Town Administrator Jim Gildea briefed Town Council members Tuesday night that the department store had asked for a light in what has become a pedestrian danger zone in front of their store. The light would be installed near the crosswalk connecting the employee parking lot with the department store.
The light will also govern traffic entering and exiting from the store. The original plan did not call for a full light.
"It was thought of as a pedestrian activated light but Lord & Taylor wants it to control traffic," Councilman Mark Ciarrocca informed his colleagues.
The Council will be voting next week to approve a resolution to ask Union County oficials to help finance the installation of the light. The plan calls for the county to pay for the design and engineering aspects of the light installation. The impacted portion of North Avenue is a county road and county approval is needed before state transportation officials are asked to approve the light.
Gildea said that he expects the county to endorse the plan.
The crosswalk in front of Lord & Taylor has seen a rise in the number of accidents involving pedestrians. In August 2009, a Lord & Taylor employee crossing from the parking lot to the store was hit by a car driven by a suspected drunk driver. The employee, 25-year-old Clark resident Gina Marrotta, received head injuries and broken bones in the accident, which resulted in the arrest of Westfield resident Leslie Boughner. Several years ago, a Lord & Taylor employee was killed while crossing in that crosswalk.
No timeline has been released for the installation of the light.