In class a few weeks ago we talked about the Street Smart Program. Street Smart “is a collaborative effort among public, private and nonprofit organizations that aims to change pedestrian and motorist behaviors through education and enforcement.” The program was launched in 2013 in only five locations throughout New Jersey, but now has expanded to include more than 20 communities. One of the towns that implemented the program last year was Harvey Cedars, NJ.
Harvey Cedars is located on Long Beach Island, a small beach town with a year round population of less than 10,000 residents. But in the summer months the town is a prominent vacation spot on the Jersey Shore. From 2009 to 2012, thirteen pedestrians were struck on the Long Beach Boulevard, the main road that runs the length of the island. According to Harvey Cedars Police Chief Robert Burnaford, “Pedestrian safety is a top priority, especially during the summer months when thousands of daily visitors come to enjoy the beaches at Harvey Cedars and all along Long Beach Island.” The Street Smart Program focuses on “non-complaint behavior” such as speeding, jaywalking, failing to stop for pedestrians, talking/texting on cell phones, and failure to obey traffic signals. The program combines law enforcement and education.
During the kickoff event handouts were given to pedestrians to inform them about safety. Officers were told to focus on “motorists who speed and fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, pedestrians who cross unlawfully, and distracted drivers and pedestrians.” In addition all throughout Harvey Cedars signs line the boulevard stating, “Check your vital signs.” Since the program has been enacted, I have seen police enforcing the speed limit much more than in the past, especially during the summer months. I expect the program to be a great success for the community and believe that if people know police are actively looking for violators of the law on both the pedestrian and driver side.