Friday, July 04, 2008

Busy Intersection Going High-Tech

Improvements at one of the city’s busiest intersections are harbingers of safety and traffic flow initiatives that will most likely be standard statewide in decades to come.

The crossroads at Park Avenue and Seventh Street was one of 22 investigated by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority for safety improvement, according to a biennial report on how the authority’s “Access and Mobility 2030” plan was being implemented. In 2005 and 2006, there were 12 crashes at the intersection, the report said, making it a priority for improvement.

The intersection joins the three Plainfields in Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties as a major north-south route and also sees heavy traffic east and west. Predictions of future traffic volume indicated the intersection as currently set up would eventually fail, a Union County report said.

The county won a $215,000 Local Safety Program grant from the state agency to fund the improvements. Fai-Gon Electrical Contractors is in charge of the project.

Among the improvements: Power outages will no longer require officers to manually direct traffic, because lights will have battery backup. The lights themselves will be energy-saving LED models that last for years without maintenance. Cameras will monitor traffic flow and signals can be changed to accommodate circumstances including passage of emergency vehicles.

Pedestrians will see a visual count-down of how many seconds longer they have to cross the street safely. A “Spread Spectrum” radio communications system will provide secure data to state traffic coordinators. The project also includes high visibility crosswalks and marked bays where motorists can safely wait to turn left.

A county document noted the need for pedestrian safety of Plainfield High School students, Plainfield Public Library patrons and others in the neighborhood. The state agency agreed.

“The overall effect will be improved safety and traffic flow for all travelers along the Park Avenue corridor,” the NJTPA report said.
--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bernice for bringing out the importance of the work getting done at this intersection.

Next intersection, I have been told, is Park and E. 9th. With the same high tech lights and an improved peninsula!

Thanks again.


9:16 AM  
Anonymous Bill Garrett said...

Let us not forget that one of our Plainfield fire fighters was killed at this intersection in 1949. There was a collision between a police car and a fire engine. Both had their sirens going, and they crossed paths. Perhaps this will never happen again with the proposd improvements.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's great to see Plainfield moving forward and getting into high tech. Those things that happened in the past should serve as our stepping stones to propel us into the future.

11:20 AM  

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