Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fair Lawn Girl on Track with Safety Idea

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fair Lawn Girl on Track with Safety Idea

Article excerpt

FAIR LAWN -- A teenager's idea -- to have nighttime commuters wear reflective wrist bands as they walk from the Radburn train station -- is gaining momentum.

Alexa Nicolaou, 17, a senior at Fair Lawn High School, emailed the Borough Council in March suggesting that the town offer some type of reflective tags for commuters and pedestrians to wear when leaving the station on Fair Lawn Avenue to walk home or to nearby commuter parking lots.

"This goodwill gesture will save lives and will improve the safety of the town's people," she wrote in the email.

While Fair Lawn police don't keep statistics on the number of pedestrian/vehicle crashes in the intersections around the Radburn station, they have reported 14 collisions this year that involved injuries to a pedestrian.

Last year, 22 pedestrians were injured in crashes. There were 24 reported in 2011.

The first fatal accident involving a pedestrian in five years occurred on March 16 at River Road and Hopper Avenue when a pedestrian was in the crosswalk and the motorist failed to yield, said Traffic Safety Officer Timothy Franco.

The inspiration behind Nacolaou's idea was a Girls Leadership Worldwide program she attended last summer at the Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Center in Hyde Park, N.Y., where participants were encouraged to undertake a community project.

She mulled over what project to pursue. Then, after she started driving, she regularly traveled past the station at night and realized how difficult it was for her to see pedestrians crossing Fair Lawn Avenue along with Plaza Road near the station.

"I'm 17," she said. "I shouldn't have trouble seeing people."

Her grandmother told her about a neighbor who was struck by a car while walking home from the Radburn station.

Nicolaou, who takes the train into the city to visit her sister, a Columbia University student, met with Mayor John Cosgrove to discuss the concept in early June, she said. …

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