Last week, 36-year-old Camden resident Ephrain Mateo-Morales was killed while biking following a collision with a SUV driver at the intersection of Route 130 and North Park Drive in Pennsauken, New Jersey.
Back in 2011, Tri-State and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia urged NJDOT to include safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists in the redesign of this dangerous intersection. Advocates called for fixes to the intersection’s skewed geometry, added pedestrian crossings and refuges, and a bike box. But the redesign was completed with few of these changes and failed to include the recommended safety elements.
This intersection is adjacent to several sections of the Circuit Trail, including the Cooper River Trail and the North Park Drive Connector. The crash site is just a half-mile from the Cooper River Trail’s Pub Connector, which is pending design funding approval from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). This segment will be a critical link to connect the soon-to-open Gateway Park to other sections of the Cooper River Trail system.
For six consecutive years, Route 130 in Burlington County has been ranked as New Jersey’s Most Dangerous Road for Walking. Last month, a drunken driver struck and killed 17-year-old Antwan Timbers while he was walking alongside Route 130 in Burlington City, roughly 16 miles north of where Mateo-Morales was killed.
The DVRPC has been gathering feedback from local officials and advocates for Route 130 through a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Study. Ultimately, NJDOT must approve any design and construction plans. It’s clear that commercial arterials that fail to safely accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians can result in fatal consequences, so it is imperative that NJDOT redesigns the entire Route 130 corridor so that not another life is lost.