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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Accident #6 On Central Ave.

At approximately 5:45 pm tonight another motor vehicle accident occurred at the location of the HAWK Pedestrian activated light on Central Ave. at the cul-de-sac'd intersection of Cambridge Rd.

Although the HAWK light was not activated, the configuration of this mid-block crossing with its flashing signs, painted lines, and excessive warnings appears to have contributed to the confusion leading a motorist to believe a resident's driveway was a side street. 

The driver of a white pickup truck being towed from the scene stated that it appeared the vehicle in front of him stopped at the light/crosswalk in what appeared to be an attempt to make a left turn.  Realizing that there was no street to turn onto and only a driveway to turn into, the vehicle continued northbound and was struck by the pickup. 

Those familiar with the location know that a resident's driveway has been confused, by unsuspecting motorists, for an intersection. 


  1. To TFOTM-

    Someone made a good suggestion the other day on Patch about contacting those involved in the 5 (now 6) accidents to ask them about their thoughts on what caused their particular accidents. Has this been looked into?


    1. After reviewing the accident reports of each of these accidents, the common contributing circumstance attributed to each accident is either "following too closely" or "driver inattention."

      An attempt will be made to contact the drivers involved in each accident to inquire as to what their thoughts are on what caused the accidents.

      Aside from admitting that the accidents were caused from the confusion over the configuration of the stretch of Central Ave. between Cambridge and Clover, TFoTM highly doubts any of the motorists will admit the accidents were caused by their inattention for whatever reasons....cell phone, tuning stereo, etc.

  2. Adina Toescu-EnculescuThursday, February 09, 2012

    Attached is the e-mail I sent to the Mayor and to the Westfield Council members one hour ago:I would like to inform you that the sixth accident occurred today, February 9, 2012 at approximately 5.40 PM, at the crosswalk in the middle of the road on Central Ave. Traveling North, a white truck rear ended a small blue car at the crosswalk. The driver of the truck had the impression that the driver of the small car had the intention to turn left in my driveway.
    As long as the police car was at the accident location, all the cars respected the red light. Immediately after the police left the cars restarted not to respect the strange traffic light. At 6.10 pm I pushed the button and 3 cars heading North flashed over the crosswalk, the fourth one reduced almost completely the speed but still passed slowly over the crosswalk.
    This is not my imagination, this is not other people’s fault; this happens frequently because this unique place for a crosswalk and for traffic lights simply confuse the drivers and make the place extremely unsafe for pedestrians and drivers as well.
    The placement of the crosswalk and of the traffic and pedestrian lights was a mistake that has to be corrected before a tragic incident will happen.

    Instead of insulting and demeaning the Westfield residents who disagree with his decisions, Mayor Skibitsky should reconsider and move the crosswalk and lights from the middle of road on Central Ave to the intersection with Clover, before it is too late.

  3. Contacting the drivers of the 6 accidents is a wonderful idea. However, it should be done by a third party like the Star-Ledger or Westfield Leader.

  4. Yeah Mayor I have to agree it really is the safest crosswalk in town! You really have an issue with pride. You are a small town political hack and coward. That light will be moved! You are such a loser.

  5. Exactly - the contributing factor for at least two of these accidents were following too close to the vehicle ahead of it. I travel this road every day and see the tailgating, the drivers pulling out of side streets onto Central Ave without looking. Don't blame the light for everything.

    1. accident #6 appears to have nothing to do with side streets (unless the sidestreet is the driveway by the light). Fact - 6 accidents in the vicinity of the light - some in the crosswalk others nearby. The light and surrounding markings may not be the number 1 cause, but they are certainly contributing factors.

    2. Most of these accidents have occurred due to what the police reports note as "driver inattention." It is no coincidence that the accidents are all occurring involving northbound vehicles within the stretch of Central Ave. between the pedestrian light and the intersection of Clover St. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that as a motorist approaches the location of the HAWK pedestrian light, their attention is drawn to all the excessive blinking lights, signs, lines, and other roadway markings that were installed in an attempt to make this a "safer" crossing. A vehicle travelling at 35 mph covers approximately 51 feet per second. The distance between the HAWK crosswalk and the intersection of Clover St. is approximately 113 ft. The human reaction time in response to an event is .75 seconds. Therefore, a motorist has less than 2 seconds to stop for a vehicle that is slowing to turn at the light, not knowing that it is a driveway, then eccelerating again and coming to a stop at Clover to make a left. This confusion of the lead vehicle coupled with the inattention of the following vehicle, to what is going on in front of them, is a recipe for an accident. The intersection of Central Ave. & Clover St. was identified by the Town's own expert Gordon Meth and the Town Council's "Citizen's Traffic Safety Advisory Committee" as a traffic and pedestrian "hot-spot" in a 2005 report. Recommendations were made and the Town Council chose not to follow the expert's original plan. Nothing was done to address the "hot-spot". The Town Council influenced the expert to move the pedestrian crossing to mid-block which has been proven by the inventor of the HAWK light to be less safe than if located at an intersection. Mayor Skibitsky has dismissed his fellow Council members request to have Gordon Meth attend a Town Council meeting to address the concerns and questions of the public. Mayor Skibitsky has dug his heels in deep enough that he refuses to even consider that a mistake might have been made. TFoTM commends Councilman Haas and Councilwoman Kimmins for attempting to seek answers on behalf of Westfield residents only to be dismissed by Mayor Skibitsky's foolish stubbornness.