A fence erected by the New Jersey Department of Transportation four years ago to save pedestrian lives has become more of an eyesore than a lifesaver, but thanks to a program of the Morris County Sheriff's office, its condition may improve soon.
The fence was installed in 2009 on the island between the east- and westbound lanes of Route 46, beginning approximately at Arlington Plaza and extending to Dunkin' Donuts, after several pedestrian-involved motor vehicle accidents, including one incident in which a person died.
As years passed, the quality of the fencing deteriorated, and some pedestrians reportedly climbed through holes that developed in the fencing in an effort to avoid walking to the crosswalk. During the Feb. 5 Town Council meeting, some residents pointed out that in addition to these holes, the fence is marred by the appearance of litter and debris. And because some walkers opt to take a short cut through the fence, they continue to put themselves and motorists in potential danger.
“Keeping Parsippany clean and educating the public on pedestrian safety is the easy part," Mayor James Barberio said in a news release. "It’s not so easy to get the call when a pedestrian has been struck by a motorist and is severely or fatally injured.”
According to his office's statement, Barberio contacted Morris County Sheriff Edward Rochford to request that the "unsightly island" be cleaned up by Sheriff's Labor Assistance Program workers. The mayor said Sheriff Rochford agreed to schedule SLAP workers to clean the area in the near future.
Barberio also said he also plans to ask NJDOT to repair the fence and implement a plan to better manage debris that collects in the area.