On April 10th at 9:30PM 25-year-old Jacob D. Williams was struck by two vehicles on Route 130 at Pennypacker Dr. on the border of Edgewater Park and Willingboro New Jersey. The official Edgewater Park Police Press release quickly assigned fault to the victim as he was “crossing on the red”.
Since 2011 four people have lost their lives crossing here on foot, making it one of the most dangerous intersections on what is considered the most dangerous road for pedestrians in New Jersey. There are no crosswalks, no pedestrian refuge island, no pedestrian signals and very poor street lighting. The speed limit is 50 mph and the open straight road encourages people to travel even faster, especially at night.
Yes, Mr. Williams crossed against the light, but the penalty for making a mistake should not be death. There are many Route 130 traffic victims who did everything right and still died violently like 20-year-old Christal Smith who died at a pedestrian-only crossing in Delran walking to work. Activating the beg button and crossing on the walk signal, Smith made it 3/4 of the way across through a cutout in the jersey barrier and was struck by the driver who was charged with failing to obey a signal. The outrage from the incident generated a petition to build a pedestrian bridge that gathered nearly 2000 signatures.
Officials have been responded to the ongoing crisis with enforcement campaigns, but no campaign can come close to the effectiveness of good road design. There is plenty of right way on Route 130 to make engineering changes that can make the road safer for all road users. We need a comprehensive redesign of Route 130 so no one else dies trying to cross the street.
Our deepest sympathies go out to the Williams Family. Rest in Power Jacob.