NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Representatives of a local disabilities advocacy organization came out to the February 5 Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting to express support for a resolution installing audible crosswalks at four county intersections.
The Alliance Center for Independence had worked with the mayors of Edison and Woodbridge for a year and a half to secure permission and funding to have the equipment installed at intersections near the center's headquarters at 629 Amboy Avenue in Edison.
Founded in 1986, the Alliance Center is a non-profit, community-based organization that supports and promotes independent living for people with disabilities in Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties.
The center “recognizes disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity,” according to their website.
Argenys Caba, the center's office administrator, said the “signals are vital for the safety of individuals with visual impairments” and will help blind pedestrians cross the busy intersections independently as well as “cut down on accidents by our office.”
Luke Koppisch, the center’s deputy director addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting, reading a statement prepared by Caba.
Caba, who also went to the podium, is legally blind. His statement thanked municipal officials for their support of the effort.
The Freeholders' resolution directs the state to install signs and audible crosswalks at the intersections of of New Brunswick Avenue and King Georges Post Road, and Amboy Avenue and Ford Avenue.
New Brunswick Avenue and Amboy Avenue is the same road running east to west, and King Georges Post Road, which runs southwest to northeast, is the dividing line between Woodbridge and Edison.
Ford Avenue starts on Amboy Avenue in Edison – less than 100 feet west of King Georges Post Road – and runs north. The Center’s office is across from the Ford Avenue intersection.
Caba said that the audible crosswalks were necessary for the safety of the clients and visitors that come to the center and may have to cross the busy intersection.
He advised that representatives from the Woodbridge Mayor’s office had told center representatives that the matter would be on the agenda.
The resolution, 15-148-R, was listed on the consent agenda was approved unaniomously by the seven-member Freeholder board.
County engineer Richard E. Wallner stated that the measure had to be approved by the county because the intersections are on county roads.
Per an agreement with the state – who maintains the signals – the actual work will be done by the state Department of Transportation, which then bills the county.
According to Wallner, the work will be completed by summertime, and could be finished sooner.
Things that could delay the work include significant snowfall, or engineering issues such as crews having to pull wire or build a junction.