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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ
Contact: Steve Schapiro, Kevin Israel or Daniel Triana
RELEASE: August 3, 2015

Congressman Pascrell and NJDOT Commissioner Fox unveil safety improvements
to Midland Crossing in Elmwood Park

(Elmwood Park) - Congressman Bill Pascrell, New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Jamie Fox, and NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Ronnie Hakim today unveiled safety improvements made to Midland Avenue railroad crossing in Elmwood Park.

NJDOT has been working closely with NJ TRANSIT, Bergen County, local officials and Congressman Pascrell’s office to improve safety at this crossing. This project consists of a queue cutter traffic signal, a new crossing surface, and a new “DO NOT BLOCK THE BOX” surface treatment. The queue cutter system ties the grade crossing signals to the stoplights at nearby intersections to help prevent traffic from backing up onto the tracks.

“The Department has taken the safety concerns at this crossing very seriously,” NJDOT Commissioner Jamie Fox said. “NJDOT personnel considered a number of options and determined that these were the most feasible and the most effective. Our use of the queue cutter system is so innovative that it has received recognition from the Federal Rail Administration - we could set the new standard for railroad crossings. I am proud of the work done on this project and feel confident that it will help improve driver safety and awareness.”

The work began at the end of March at an estimated cost of $800,000, with $300,000 coming from federal funds and $500,000 paid for by the state.  The queue cutter system is a first of its kind in the Northeast and the new surface treatment is only the second in the nation. A similar striping pattern was used in Florida that saw incidents reduced by 40 percent.

"Safety is top priority at NJ TRANSIT. We are encouraged by the safety initiatives and technology that have taken place and are being explored to improve safety at this grade crossing. At the same time, motorists and pedestrians must obey warning devices and signals, never stop on grade crossings and make sure there is enough distance between you and other vehicles so you can exit the crossing,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim.

"I applaud Commissioner Fox and Executive Director Hakim for their swift response to my concerns and the concerns of the community regarding this grave public safety issue,” Congressman Bill Pascrell said. “The federal investment here in Elmwood Park is an important step towards ensuring the safety of motorists and the community, which must remain a priority.  I stand committed to improving rail safety policies and providing robust surface transportation funding in Congress to help avoid future preventable deaths and injuries."

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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  August 3, 2015