Recently, West Windsor residents have expressed growing concerns with speeding, distracted driving, aggressive driving, rush hour congestion and other issues dealing with the safety of the township’s roadways.
Addressing these concerns demands a multifaceted approach combining governmental and community efforts. These concerns are not unique to West Windsor, and other municipalities have addressed these issues through a combination of law enforcement, education and awareness.
One program that has demonstrated success in “calming” traffic in the U.S. and Canada is the Pace Car Program. Its goal is to make neighborhoods safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
Resident Pace Car drivers agree to drive courteously, at or below the speed limit, and follow other traffic laws. These programs involve having interested residents register as a Pace Car driver, agree to a pledge to abide by the rules and display a colorful Pace Car magnet on their vehicle.
At the mayor’s request, I was honored to work with West Windsor Township, the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance and the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association to establish the West Windsor Pace Car Program. We were pleased to inaugurate this community-based awareness and education program during National Night Out on Aug. 6.
The program is simple. West Windsor residents are now able to take a pledge to not exceed the speed limit, to obey all stop signs and red lights, and to follow the other traffic laws within the township.
Those taking the pledge will receive a small magnetic sign that identifies them as a motorist who has agreed to become a West Windsor Pace Car driver.
By proudly displaying the sign on the rear of their vehicle, our residents are taking charge of our neighborhoods, impressing on our friends and neighbors the importance of observing the speed limits, and obeying the traffic laws on our streets.
Taking the pledge is easy to do. The pledge form can be downloaded from the West Windsor Township website or that of the WWBPA. Alternatively, the pledge forms can also be picked up at the township municipal offices, the West Windsor Branch of the Mercer County Library or the West Windsor Farmers’ Market.
You can also request a pledge form by emailing your request to email@example.com or by calling the township offices at (609) 799-2400. Once completed, the forms can be returned to any of the three sites listed above to pick up the Pace Car magnet.
Acknowledged by the Federal Highway Administration as an educational tool for building safer communities, the Pace Car program has been successfully employed across the U.S. in cities such as Baltimore, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City, and Boulder, Colorado.
West Windsor is now the fourth New Jersey community to do so. Through the generosity of the GMTMA, this program is being introduced without the expenditure of any township funds.
I hope everyone will join with us to make our West Windsor streets safer for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Stevens is the fire police captain at West Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.