BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | MonroeNow | Jul 5, 2018
CRANBURY – Township leaders are turning to local youth to create lawn signs to encourage traffic safety and are making it a little competitive for fun.
The “Slow Down In Our Town” contest is open to youth up to 18 years old. The contest is divided into four age groups, under 5, 6-10, 11-14 and 15-18 years old.
The winning signs from each age group will be posted on the police message board. Judging for the contest has officially started – and last for three weeks in July.
Lawn signs are available for free at the municipal building from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The signs must be made by a child – so no helping parents.
The contest, though fun in nature, is also part of the township’s efforts to improve traffic safety, a prime concern among many residents and public officials.
In June, because of renewed concerns about traffic safety, Police Chief Rickey Varga penned a letter to Cranbury residents explaining some of the initiatives the department has undertaken and future campaigns.
“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.”
Some of the efforts the chief outlined in his letter included: 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.
The township government also brought back the traffic safety department, which was cut previously because of a lack of funding. The Police Department now has two officers dedicated to traffic and pedestrian safety.
All children who participate in the contest will be honored by the mayor and police chief. Local businesses are also donating prizes for the winners. Those who enter the contest should place their completed signs on the front lawn of their home for judging.