Police chief pens letter addressing traffic safety in Cranbury

BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | Jun 18, 2018 | MonroeNow

CRANBURY – Responding to recent concerns from community members, the police chief issued a lengthy letter on Friday outlining steps the department has undertaken to improve traffic and pedestrian safety.

“It has been brought to our attention that there have been some questions with regards to traffic safety within the township,” Cranbury Police Chief Rickey Varga wrote.

His letter came after the Township Committee meeting on June 11 where a write-in candidate in the Democratic Primary, Andrew Huang, said he ran for office because of public safety issues.

In May 2017, Huang’s 13-year-old daughter was struck in a hit-and-run accident while walking the family dog near the intersection of South Main Street and Evans Drive. The suspected drive was never found. Though she survived her injuries, the family dog was killed.

According to reports, Huang felt that since the hit-and-run accident, the township police have not done enough to implement improved safety measures, particularly in the downtown area that has seen an increased volume of traffic because of more commuters traveling through the community to access the New Jersey Turnpike and a growing warehouse district that includes an Amazon facility, multiple officials said in recent interviews.

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“Over the years, we have implemented numerous programs … to address the many different traffic safety issues we face,” Varga wrote. “… Can we fully eliminate traffic violations/offenders? Of course we can’t but we also are not and will not be defeatists. We will continue to work hard and through enforcement along with progressive programs we will strive to make our community one of the safest in the state.”

Varga outlined several initiatives he said the department has undertaken such as a traffic safety plan for enforcement at problematic areas and times; grant funded selective traffic enforcement campaign; township-wide pedestrian crosswalk signs; grant-funded directed speed patrols; crosswalk decoy programs; distracted driver enforcement; traffic complaint system, message/advisory board for traffic safety compliance; traffic enforcement “ghost” car; and children’s bicycle and pedestrian safety education program, among others.

“The reality is we have been working on traffic issues for the last few years,” said Committeeman Daniel Mulligan. “Unfortunately, government doesn’t move as fast as I, or others, would like.”

After a multi-year hiatus because of budget cuts, the Township Committee this year was able to include funding to hire two police officers dedicated to traffic safety and enforcement. Officials believe this will help mitigate some of the problems and further bolster initiatives underway.

“We have always worked together with our residents for the betterment of our community and we look forward to that continued relationship,” Varga wrote.