Police Launch Pedestrian Safety Program

Fort Lee Police are going out into the community to stress pedestrian safety, with the support of the Mayor and Council.

Chief of Police Keith Bendul recently spoke to the Main Street Club at the Fort Lee Senior Center about pedestrian safety.

Bendul, noting the continued problem with accidents involving pedestrians over the course of the past year, talked to the seniors about the need for awareness and crossing the street safely.

Bendul has discussed initiatives to help raise awareness on pedestrian safety, such as distributing reusable bags and other items outfitted with reflective tape that will help make pedestrians visible to drivers at night.

Mayor Mark Sokolich mentioned some of these initiatives during last week's Mayor and Council work session. He said that he would even help to hand out these items in an effort to raise awareness among pedestrians.

"I'll go to bus stops and hand them (these items) out," Sokolich said when talking about raising awareness about pedestrian safety. 

Sokolich also said that given the rise in pedestrian motor vehicle accidents, he is prepared to start another ticket writing campaign. "People seem to listen and pay attention to that," he said.

In getting the message out to the community, Bendul will also be speaking to the residents at Century Tower on Parker Avenue Tuesday evening at 8:30 pm. The focus of the discussion will be on the dangerous crosswalks in and around the building.


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BJ February 12, 2013 at 02:03 PM
No matter how prudent you are it is impossible to walk safely in Fort Lee. During the last year, I've nearly been KILLED by speeding motorists - 3 times! My life was spared only because I'm aware of the severity of this situation. Twice I WAS IN THE CROSSWALK and the motorist came speeding around the turn - I heard the roar of the engine and stopped anticipating exactly what happened. The third time the motorist (also speeding) went through a stop sign on Abbott and a came inches away from colliding with another car which would've then hit me. I WAS ON THE SIDEWALK! As long as Fort Lee continues to focus all it's resources on the pedestrians rather than the motorists this problem will continue to escalate as already proven by this years statistics. As of 1/31, four weeks into 2013, 8 pedestrians have been hit and 1 is dead. Last year it was slightly more than 1 pedestrian/week. It is BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS this program is a COLOSSAL FAILURE and further waste of taxpayer money! The figures have INCREASED not decreased. Why does Fort Lee vehemently refuse to enforce traffic laws and speed limits? No other town in Bergen County has 14,000 people/square mile. Blaming the victim rather than the criminals (motorists) only exacerbates the problem - giving them yet another excuse. Not my fault. The fact that so many of these pedestrians were hit in crosswalks and or abiding by the law is further testament the problem lies in REFUSING TO ENFORCE THE TRAFFIC LAWS!
Howard L. Pearl February 12, 2013 at 02:53 PM
It is a two way street. Pedestrians crossing the street while texting on cell phones or listening to music on I-pods, paying no attention to vehicles are just as guilty as the negligent drivers. That being said, on a daily basis, there are vehicles making illegal turns on Lemoine Ave. daily and driving carelessly. Note: enforcing traffic laws does not necessarily solve the problem. However, it does increase town revenues from traffic tickets.
Rona February 12, 2013 at 04:03 PM
Rather get town revenue from tickets than property taxes, and it will give the cops something to do.
BJ February 12, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Howard I say this with all due respect as I'd the exact same conversation with the new Chief of Police. For the record, a very nice man. Aside from releasing wild packs of attack dogs on the streets (throughout the entire Country) you're never, ever going to get people to pay attention. Sit anywhere and watch people's behavior. You're now competing with an industry that has kidnapped society. Travel anywhere in the world and all you see are people with electronic gadgets in their hands. Governments in poorest nations now hand out cell phones to stay in touch with their citizens. During the hurricane it's all people worried about. It's called the dumbing down of America - no one is paying attention to anything!! You've no other alternative but to educate motorits. It's no different than driving through an area with a notorioulsy high crime rate - you damn well pay attention. The fact of the matter is not merely distracted drivers in Fort Lee. There's a certain arrogance that has emerged also that needs to be eradicated. Cars don't just speed on Abbott completely ignoring stop signs they go after the pedestrians. I've a friend who was hit in the face by the mirror of a truck because the driver refused to yield. As long as they continue to blame the pedestrians this problem will never cease and only worsen. In closing this program is by far more profitable than issuing tickets. They just purchased 5000 lights they plan to hand out to ... school children!?!
Steve Goldstein February 13, 2013 at 12:19 AM
We need more speed humps and bumps. We have too many ill-placed cross-walks which give a false sense of security. We nee better crosswalks, like in Cliffside Park. Outreach to various comunity ethnic groups is an excellent idea.
BJ February 13, 2013 at 03:14 AM
As I did my usual 2 hour dog walk today throughout the town I was laughing thinking about this article. The vast majority of crosswalks were all completely blocked with snow! You couldn't access them. Is this too now the fault of the pedestrians? Are we supposed to bring shovels to cross safely? Although, Metuchen has implemented a flag waving program to help it's pedestrians. http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2013/02/metuchen_pedestrian_flags.html
Fort Lee Truth February 13, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Bendul means well, but if the driver is not paying attention or speeding, that reflective tape is not going to help. Just last week, I witnessed a speeding SUV run a red light by the Community Center, jumping over Anderson Ave to reach Center Avenue. Why would you be in a hurry at 10:00 p.m.? @Steve- I don't think speedbumps are the answer. Ask Cliffside Park residents if they love having those things around on every other block. However, I'd love to see one placed just as you exit the Recreation Center parking lot, as there is a sharp curve there and the teenagers just speed in and out of there with little regard that there are kids playing in the area. @BJ- How sad is it that a town like Metuchen has folks waving red flags? Very sad that this has become an epidemic.
BJ February 13, 2013 at 05:06 AM
I wonder if the SUV may've been one of the unmarked police vehicles. They've several and come speeding out of that intersection all - the - time. This too is yet another tragedy simply waiting to happen. Speeding police vehicles departing from the headquarters on 16th. Often in tandem. 1) You can't see them as you back out of the angled spots by the Community Center Parking lot. 2) So many of those folks are elderly and can't hear the sirens inside their car. It is only a matter of time before someone backs out and the police car veers on to the sidewalk. 3) What's most alarming is when they race down the street as school is letting out. I watch these kids playfully chasing each other - constantly running right out into traffic. As well as the smaller kids chasing balls. They need to make emergency lanes on Edsall and Inwood and go out that way. The road is wide enough to accommodate these lanes and there are no blind spots. People also know to pull to the right when they see a police vehicle. Speed Bumps: Go to Walker Street (?) in Fairview? Greek To Me - make a right heading west towards Bergen Blvd. Quiet and they work! FLAGS: The only thing that will ever get and keep motorists attention is an officer standing in the road flagging them down for speeding.
The Thorn February 13, 2013 at 02:31 PM
It's a double edge sword....if the police crack down on motorists, then they would complain and if the police crack down on pedestrians, they also would complain that they nothing better to do. Then if speed humps are added, the residents would start complaining about the noise coming from vehicles bottoming out at all hours. I still can't figure out how society years ago was able to function compared to today's society that needs their hand held.
BJ February 13, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Re: Double Edge Sword That's what Chief Bendul said, they don't want the residents disliking the PD. I disagree. The analogy he used was a detective knocking on a residents door and the witness refusing to help. Sooah, let me see if I've this correct?!? You witness a crime and refuse to help because ......... you got a lousy speeding ticket? That's not what this is about. It's pure blatant politics. Lets not agitate the residents and rock this gorgeous luxury liner we're sailing on. This endless flow of money. 2 + million dollars on another park when there's already ten? Skateboard parks ------- for who's children? How many more people need to die and or be injured because they placed their political careers and aspirations above their fiduciary duties. It's their sworn job to serve and protect. No one is asking to turn the town into a police state and merely enforce the laws that are already on the books, period. The statistics and figures PROVE the Pedestrian Safety Program does NOTHING to stop this epidemic. NOTHING! The incidents have escalated. Cont ....
BJ February 13, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Public Notice: Accreditation Team Invites Public Comment (posted 11/14/12) The Fort Lee Police Department is scheduled for an on-site assessment as part of the accreditation process through the New Jersey Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, which is administered by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. The accreditation program requires AGENCIES TO COMPLY WITH STANDARDS that represent the best practices in Law Enforcement. The accreditation process is rigorous and includes a close examination of the agency’s written directive system, operation, and facility. Here is just one highlight regarding the failure to comply with the accreditation standards. section 3.6.2 Clarification Statement: The agency should establish traffic enforcement guidelines to aid officers in exercising discretion. While the short-term goal of traffic enforcement is to deter the potential violator, consistent traffic enforcement policies aid in achieving the long-term goal of traffic enforcement, which is to gain voluntary compliance with the law. Complaints of differential treatment can be mitigated with such consistent policies.
Quint February 13, 2013 at 03:53 PM
There are people in the world whose job it is is to plan streets and traffic flow for safety, perhaps we should spend some money on them to do a study? I would imagine we might have some streets that should only be one way or places where we need a light or two that could help our situation.
BJ February 13, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Quint: Chief Bendul said they did a traffic survey on Abbott and there were no speeders. I assume this was back in the days of the horse and buggy because it sure as hell wasn't this century. All one has to do is park, walk or drive down Abbott between 4:30-6:30pm to witness cars racing down that road. FLYING! Do the same thing on Anderson and Center. Yesterday 2/12 at approximately 5:30pm there were seven cars backed up on Abbott Boulevard southbound at the intersection of Route 5. To say motorists don't use Abbott as an alternate route AND speed, is simply an outright lie. During rush hour is when they are the most reckless. Cars are traveling between 30-45 mph, easily. Warwick is the worst intersection, they don't even stop. On the rare occasion a police car IS present the difference is profound. Sadly it will take some heartbreaking story where a child is killed or injured for this to finally be resolved. It's inevitable it will happen. Thus far, this year the numbers are higher than any other year previously. The figures are in - the Pedestrian Safety Program FAILED! Jan 1-31 eight people struck one dead. Contrary to what you've been falsely lead to believe it is not the vast majority of the pedestrians - the most recent fatality was in fact the fault of the driver. The town is over populated which was fundamental in creating all of this. Stack em and tax em!
Dana Doan September 11, 2013 at 01:45 AM
I live in Century tower and nearly hit by cars about 80% of the time when I try to cross the intersection in front of Its Greek To Me (palisade ave and angioletti pl). Every time I cross the streets, I wait for the traffic lights to turn red and the walk signal to be on and I never jaywalk. And still 80% of the time, I almost get hit by cars. I have a 2-year-old kid and sometimes push him in the stroller, still we almost got hit 3 times walking inside the walkway with the walk signal on. This problem is getting out of hand. This is a residential area and there are a lot of kids playing in the park. The part that infuriates me is that the drivers roll down the windows and proceed to lecture me on how they have waited for me (for about 100th of a sec) before they continue to drive and that I should pay more attention. Something needs to be done bc I don't feel safe walking around the neighborhood.
BJ September 11, 2013 at 08:23 AM
Dana: Have you contacted the Mayor directly? Don't email him - he won't answer. Call his office directly and explain exactly and in detail what you've said. Then call Chief Bendel and say the same. Ask Bendel what he's doing about all his broken promises. Zero people getting hit. They continually blame the pedestrians and do nothing, I repeat NOTHING about the motorists which is pricisely how this became an epidemic. Every 5 days someone gets hit by a car in Fort Lee. This has been going on for YEARS. Instead, they hand out ice scrapers and whistles to the residents in Horizon House. Perhaps you're child would've received one of the coloring books they also included. To tell you just how much they dislike the dislike the Mayor, I spoke to a person this past weekend who knows Mark Sokolich since childhood. The persons exact words were "He's unfit to be Mayor". This is someone who was a close personal friend and has known him his entire life. As I've said repeatedly they are FURIOUS with the Mayor, Council and the Police Chief. It's inevitable a child will be hit and or GOD FORBID killed before something is done. Look what's happening to you. IT IS NOT SAFE TO LIVE IN FORT LEE!
Dana Doan September 11, 2013 at 12:46 PM
BJ: please give me the direct numbers to the mayor and police chief if you have them. I've been experiencing this problem for awhile and keep looking passed it. Yesterday was the last draw for me. I was trying to cross angioletti pl at that intersection to get to the park and I was holding my son with my right arm. The walk signal was on and I looked to make sure there was not any car coming before I stepped onto the street. Next thing I know a car stopped right to our right and the woman wad yelling at me for not looking.
BJ September 11, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Dana: I would make appointments with both and speak to them IN PERSON so they can't pacify you. Bendel is very nice but Mark is a true blooded politician. If possible, bring your husband and son and DEMAND answers not more excuses. Marks speciality. More importantly however is NEVER EVER EVER assume the drivers in Fort Lee will STOP and or IF they even see you. Do not take chances. Wait until they come to a full and complete stop. They've become even more arrogant and reckless since they started issuing tickets to the pedestrians. It exacerbated the situation ten fold. You see how they YELL AT YOU! No one in Fort Lee is safer than I am because I'm so aware of the severity of this situation and yet - I've almost been KILLIED 5 times. Not just struck mind you, but KILLED. STOP SIGNS are mere suggestions. One Way signs are only applicable to idiots. Why go all the way around a street when your house is so close? I walk my dog every day for 2 hours throughout the entire town and it is no longer safe. I now take him to the park instead. It's just not worth the risks. You can't walk anywhere safely. You saw the young woman who got hit exiting her car? Was she supposed to climb out her moon roof instead? Drive through any town - they have radar and strictly enforce traffic laws. Fort Lee refuses to. It's about buying VOTES rather then earning them - they mustn't anger the residents. Mayor Mark Sokolich: 201 592 3500 ex 1003 Cell 201 424 5014 Police 201 592 3700


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