For six consecutive years, Route 130 in Burlington County has taken the title of New Jersey’s Most Dangerous Road for Walking. Last May, yet another person was killed while walking along the corridor when a drunk driver struck and killed 17-year-old Antwan Timbers, a sophomore at Burlington City High School. His tragic death, however, has since inspired classmates to fight for safer streets around their school and schools throughout the state.
More than 1,000 students cross Route 130 to get to school every day. A section of the road south of the crash scene, between Delran and Delanco, saw 143 crashes in 2014, ranking eighth among New Jersey’s 10 most dangerous highway corridors.
With the help of Senator Diane Allen, Burlington City High School students launched 25 Saves Lives, a campaign with nearly 600 signatures to fix the New Jersey’s deadliest road for walking. The campaign aims to permanently lower speed limits in school zones along Route 130, to give municipalities the control to enact safer speed limits near schools and to increase penalties for drivers caught speeding in school zones. Earlier this month, the school hosted a rally during morning rush hour to urge drivers to slow down. Senator Allen also visited the school to present a new bill package on speed limits in school zones.
The 25 Saves Lives campaign calls for the passage of Antwan’s Law, which includes legislation to permanently lower the speed limit to 25 miles per hour along the sections of Route 130 near Burlington City High School and Wilbur Watts Intermediate School. Currently, the speed limit along this specific corridor is reduced to 25 mph for just a few hours a day; and after 4 p.m., traffic reverts back to its usual 40 miles per hour, endangering students with after school activities and other people walking along the corridor–and in winter months, frequently so in the dark.
This legislation from Senator Allen is an important step to put an end to Route 130’s six-year streak as the state’s deadliest road for walking. But any next steps must include safer design and action from the NJ Department of Transportation, so the thousand-plus students who cross this dangerous road every day will no longer be left to fend for themselves.