Letters to the editor, Feb. 15
Findings: 42 pedestrians injured by vehicles in 2017
Forty-two pedestrians were hit and injured by vehicles in Montclair in 2017, including a fatality on Grove Street. Despite quite a few safety improvements, like Rapid Flashing Beacons at many more crosswalks, that number is in line with previous years. In 2016 there were 49 pedestrian crashes.
Traditionally, Bloomfield Avenue has the most pedestrian crashes. In 2017, Valley Road had the most, 8, followed by Grove and Walnut, each with 6, and 5 crashes on Bloomfield Avenue. The rest were spread around the Township.
Drivers were responsible for more of the crashes: 19 percent were the pedestrians’ fault last year compared to 25% over previous years. It is good news that pedestrians are taking more precautions, but this means that drivers’ behavior is worsening.
Police enforcement increased dramatically in 2017, due to a boost in traffic officers to a total of 3. Speeding tickets went from 428 in 2016 to 956 in 2017. DWI remained the same at 48. Other moving violations such as not stopping at a stop sign or for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, increased from 5,328 to 6,180. Parking summonses were also way up. Parking illegally can make it difficult for drivers and pedestrians to see each other. Overall, drivers received 1,380 more tickets in 2017 than 2016. Unfortunately, that did not translate into a reduction in pedestrian crashes.
The Montclair Pedestrian Safety Committee spent much of the year working to get the Township to lower the speed limit on Grove Street from 35 MPH to 30 MPH, which was eventually approved. The Council also voted to widen the painted median on Grove Street, a traffic calming method that typically results in slower speeds. Both measures need to be approved by the County, which has not done so as of now.
We look forward to continuing to work with concerned citizens to make Montclair a safer place for pedestrians to enjoy the benefits of Montclair’s many shopping districts and beautiful neighborhoods.
The author is the chair of the Montclair Pedestrian Safety Committee and the coordinator of the group “Drive With Care in Montclair.”
Everyone deserves healthy relationships
You deserve a respectful, loving relationship free from physical and emotional violence. This assertion may seem obvious to some, but considering recent national headlines and a lack of empathy from those in power, it bears repeating. Physical aggression, emotional abuse, financial manipulation, and sexual and reproductive coercion have no place in a healthy relationship. And no matter who you are or where you are from, you deserve better, much better.
Locally, Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (supportsofia.org) can help connect those in crisis with resources. Free workshops and programs are available to create community, bolster self-confidence, and empower those recovering from abusive situations. Other organizations, like the Family Justice Center and Rachel Coalition, also work right here in Essex County. When they are ready, those affected by domestic violence have support and options. You are not alone.
Concerned for yourself or someone you know right now? The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233. Get more information here: thehotline.org.
The author is a board member of Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.).
Still hiding, Rodney? Or a stand-up Rodney?
Now that our 11th District Congressman, Rodney Freylinghuysen, has announced his retirement, he has nothing to fear from Paul Ryan and Republican leaders. I do not understand why he still does not come out of hiding. Why does he not stand up and speak out against the outrages coming out of the White House and the Congress?
He will have no committee chairmanship to lose, so why not be honest about the terrible deal the tax cuts are for most of his constituents in New Jersey?
Why not be a strong voice speaking out against domestic violence and harboring offenders in the White House in the most sensitive national security positions? Why not address the potential consequences of the massive looming deficit, and what secret Republican plans are to attack Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, using deficits as an excuse?
It would be a real redemption for him to step up, stand up and speak out.
But, most important, it is time for us to elect someone in his place who will be willing to fight for us and stand up for us all the time.
The police chief: The professional voice of law enforcement
As a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police since 1993, I receive a monthly publication with the latest policies, procedures and operations relative to law enforcement. The January issue included a number of resolutions that were adopted by the IACP at its 124th annual conference in 2017.
One that interested me due to the fact that I have submitted a series of letters on the subject was “Opposition of Legalization of Recreational Marijuana.” IACP is gravely concerned with the damages of continued legislation of marijuana and strongly encourages greater awareness regarding the harm and danger of recreational marijuana.
Research suggests marijuana use is likely to prelude use of other elicit drugs or substances and that marijuana use is also linked to substance use disorders, including addiction to alcohol and nicotine.
IACP actively supports anti-drug coalitions to raise public awareness of the impact of recreational marijuana drug use on individuals, families and communities. IACP opposes legalization, which if implemented, would overextend and divert law enforcement resources, jeopardizing law enforcement’s ability to protect the public and threatening the safety of law officers, first responders and America.
In addition the IACP has serious concerns that legalization will increase drug trafficking and entice crime as addicts pursue cash to finance their habit. This will result in compromised police safety, which will require additional law enforcement resources. These are not my words, but the words of professional career chiefs of police across the United States of America. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said that even though more states were moving to legalize marijuana, there was insufficient evidence about how it worked.
The American Medical Association considers cannabis a dangerous drug and as such a serious public health concern. My advice to the legislators crafting various bills is absent greater study, evaluations and input from law enforcement authorities, think this over very carefully before sending a bill to the governor legalizing recreational marijuana. Remember at what cost are we wiling to sacrifice our great state of New Jersey for the sack of money generated by legalizing recreational marijuana.
Thomas J. Russo
Not taking moral high ground?
I question the particular religious right leaders that chose to come out strong in support of Donald Trump’s presidency. I include Vice President Mike Pence. This veep has said more than once that God comes first, his family second and his political party comes third. Really — third?
Anyway, please, please ask yourselves if you were to be so blessed as to be visited by Jesus Christ in the flesh and you asked him how he felt about President Donald J. Trump, what do you honestly believe Jesus would say to you? The keyword is “honestly.”