For years, pedestrian safety has been one of the most hotly discussed issues in the borough. Ask any Fair Lawn resident what he thinks is the most dangerous intersection in town, and you'll likely get any number of impassioned responses.
River Road at Morlot Avenue. Saddle River Road at Fair Lawn Avenue. Fair Lawn Avenue at Abbott Road.
Pedestrians complain that drivers don't yield to them at crosswalks. Drivers complain that pedestrians cross against the signal without looking. Everyone, it seems, would like to see more police enforcement of traffic issues.
As a result, the department has held traffic stings, hosted pedestrian safety talks and Chief Erik Rose even resurrected the department's traffic safety unit at the outset of this year, assigning two patrol officers an exclusive traffic post while the force's manpower permits. Last summer, the borough employed crossing guards after school let out for the year in an effort to rectify the pedestrian safety problem.
In spite of the town's best efforts, however, the problem seems to be getting worse. Twelve pedestrians — one of whom later died — were struck by motorists during the first three months of this year, putting Fair Lawn on pace to double its pedestrian strikes from the year before.
Since 2010, 85 pedestrians have been injured or killed by car strikes in the borough, according to police department traffic data. Broken down, that comes out to about one pedestrian strike every two weeks on average.
Fair Lawn Avenue, the site of more than one quarter of all pedestrian strikes since 2010, is hands down the "most dangerous" road for pedestrians. All but four of the 22 pedestrian strikes on Fair Lawn Avenue since 2010 have occurred between Plaza Road and River Road, making it the worst stretch to cross in the borough.
More than half of the 13 intersections in town where more than one pedestrian has been hit since 2010 are located along Fair Lawn Avenue. Fair Lawn at Chandler Drive and Fair Lawn at George Street lead the way with three strikes each in the past three-plus years. The only other location in town where more than two pedestrians have been hit since 2010 is the ShopRite parking lot.
To better visualize where the pedestrian strikes are occurring in Fair Lawn, see the embedded interactive map. Use the (+) and (-) buttons to zoom in and out. Each location where a pedestrian strike has taken place since 2010 is marked by a green (1 strike since 2010), yellow (2 strikes since 2010) or red flag (3 strikes since 2010). Clicking on each data point reveals the address/intersection where the strike occurred.