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Pedestrian Struck in Crosswalk Outside Lord & Taylor

Accident occurred on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Westfield Police Capt. Scott Rodger confirmed a 36-year-old woman from Parlin, NJ was hit by a car in the crosswalk on North Avenue West in front of Lord & Taylor at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15. She was transported to the hospital by the Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad.

The driver, a 21-year-old Cranford woman, was issued a summons for failure to yield to a pedestrian in crosswalk. 

The crosswalk, which allows employees access to the off-site parking lot, has been the scene of several 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 earlier, a Lord & Taylor employee was killed while crossing in that crosswalk.

In April of 2012, the Westfield Town Council passed a resolution supporting the efforts of Lord & Taylor’s property management company, National Realty and Development Corp., to install a High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) pedestrian-activated signal at the location. From design to construction and maintenance, the cost of the light will be borne by Lord & Taylor.  

Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan, chair of the public safety, transportation and parking committee introduced the resolution and said that the committee had been working with the county, as that portion of North Avenue is a county road, and Lord & Taylor since 2010 to improve safety in that area.

Neylan cited a traffic report prepared by Gordon Meth on March 3, 2012 that concluded that a HAWK signal is recommended at that location. The County of Union engaged the firm of Pennoni Associates Inc. to review the report prepared by Meth and concurred with his findings. 

Westfield residents have asked Patch why, eight months later, the light has yet to be installed. Councilman Keith Loughlin, vice chair of the public safety, transportation and parking committee, explained that while the Town of Westfield has signed off on everything, the light's installation requires final approval from the County.

"The ball is rolling," Loughlin said. "We are optimistic that we'll see that light installed in the early months of 2013. It's much-needed and we hope it will make it much safer." 

In the Oct. 11, 2012 edition of The Westfield Leader it was reported that the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders considered a resolution to support the installation of the HAWK signal at the Lord & Taylor crosswalk at its Oct. 4 agenda-setting meeting. At the time, Jerry Bermingham, a representative of National Realty and Development Corp., told The Leader the corporation hoped to have the pedestrian light installed by Thanksgiving, although he noted that it would require an “aggressive construction schedule.” 

At the Town Council meeting held on Tuesday, Dec. 11, Westfield resident Pamela Orbach spoke of the need for public safety improvements. She suggested that the police department target offenses such as failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, if only to issue warnings in an effort to increase awareness.

L&T December 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Hmmmm, town officials kept this one quiet as long as the could.
Time For Change December 21, 2012 at 01:41 PM
It is a wonder more pedestrians aren't hit at crosswalks theses days. Ever see them walking with their cellphones in their hand, their head down looking at their inane tweets and NOT paying any attention to traffic? I see it regularly and am amazed these dunces manage to make it to the other side. If it were ME against a CAR, I'd be very, very careful crossing. I weight 175 and the car weighs 3000+, guess who wins in that contest?
slk2003 December 21, 2012 at 01:47 PM
A policeman has been stationed there to cross people since that accident. We regularly cross there and we asked him why he was there. He had no problem sharing the reason with us. But there had been no publicity about it.
victoria down December 21, 2012 at 01:53 PM
There's been a police officer at that crosswalk for weeks - but I'm not surprised someone was hit. I enjoy being able to leave my car at home and walk around our downtown however drivers in and around Westfield are some of the biggest @$$h#les in NJ. I do not understand the apparent sense of drivers' entitlement to a right of way. It's like stopping for a pedestrian in a crosswalk doesn't even cross their minds.
Jeff B December 21, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I had read somewhere a while ago that a HAWK signal at L&T expense was planned there. Why haven't we have heard anything about improvements at a long time trouble spot, Tuttle Parkway and North, where a woman was killed in January?
NR9 December 21, 2012 at 02:45 PM
@Jeff B: “Why haven't we heard anything about improvements at a long time trouble spot, Tuttle Parkway and North, where a woman was killed in January?” I’ve wondered the same thing. It’s probably a combination of (1) the mayor giving us what he calls “more with less” and (2) maybe he’s waiting for what his administration considers to be more “compelling” data (as if one totally unnecessary death wasn’t enough). I also don’t understand the actions/in-actions of our mayor with regards to traffic safety. When an area has been identified and researched by companies specializing in traffic safety and corresponding recommendations given, I really don’t understand why such recommendations would not have been implemented almost immediately, in a matter of days or, if not, weeks. But when months and years go by, that’s really troublesome.
c December 21, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Pretty expensive to keep an officer there. How about a nice pedestrian bridge instead of the HAWK light which has its own set of problems and can cause accidents (rear ending)?
Taxed Up The Wazoo December 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Skibitsky is right on the money! Taxpayers are getting taxed MORE with LESS services. Keep up the good work mayor
Ricky L. December 21, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Don't blame the Mayor and council - it's sad that the same old group always uses the tired argument of pointing blame in that direction. This one rests with the County. It is a 35 mph zone in front of the Lord & Taylor, as well as down the street at the Tuttle Parkway school crosswalk, where people have died as well. That speed is ridicuolous. The speed limit should be lowered past the school crossing crosswalk at Tuttle (not just 25 mph "when children are present"). The police department could do a much better job in radaring and ticketing speeders and set up stings at these two crosswalks to slow down traffic and create awareness.
Concerned Resident December 21, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Or perhaps a school crossing guard would like some extra work?
John Doe December 21, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Most people are so self absorbed they fail to see there are two sides to this. A person must walk into the crosswalk with a car coming towards them and two, the car must not see the person in order to hit them. It is obvious that either would do what they could to avoid these tragic situations. This stems from an overall lack of awareness. The penalty as well as weight on your conscience is too great to think hitting someone is worthwhile.
Well December 21, 2012 at 05:42 PM
@Ricky L Don't blame the Mayor? Why not? Central Ave is a county road as well and he stuck his nose into that HAWK light the county was supposed to put up at the corner. Why can't he do something about Lord and Taylor safety?
Ricky L. December 21, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Uh, @Well, didn't bother to read the article, did you? The Council did a review with the assistance of the traffic planning firm, and signed off on the system months ago. They addressed the issue in a relatively timely fashion for a governmental entity. It is sad these things do not move faster, but it is also the reality of any government, Town, County, State, Federal. The Town is waiting on the County. This article is not about Central Ave, which is the only issue several people (together with the usual mayoral conspiracists), who frequently comment on Patch, are really concerned about, and are usually irrelevant to the conversation.
Well December 21, 2012 at 07:30 PM
For the most part the mayor does a decent job. But this is another case of political red tape feet dragging.

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