Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios


County to Take Immediate Action to Improve Safety Along
Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick

MAY 9, 2014 -- Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios last night announced that the County will take immediate action to improve safety on Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick after three children were struck by an SUV earlier this week while attempting to cross the road.

Rios addressed a crowd of about 200 parents, children and other residents during the Board of Chosen Freeholders’ regular meeting on Thursday, May 8.

“This is a tragedy that should not have occurred, nor should it be repeated,” Rios said. “As such, I met yesterday with New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill, the City’s Director of Planning Glenn Patterson, the Head of our Infrastructure Management Department Ralph Albanir, and County Engineer Richard Wallner to develop plans to address the issue. We left the meeting with a clear vision and consensus on what the County can do immediately to make the road safer.”

“It is my and the Mayor’s expectation that this work will be completed within 30 days,” he said.

Starting early next week, work to realign Livingston Avenue will begin in two critical areas: The first area stretches from Delavan to Baldwin Streets, the area where the children were struck on Tuesday. The second area stretches from Elizabeth Street, near the Foodtown, to Loretta Street. This area was the site of another critical accident.

Curbside parking along Livingston Avenue in these two sections will be prohibited.

At the same time, crews will remove the current striping on the four-lane road. The road will have only one traveling lane in each direction.

“This means pedestrians in those areas will not have to cross four lanes of moving traffic or worry about cars jutting out from parking spaces,” Rios said. “The measures, including merging cars from four lanes into two, have proven to slow traffic.” 

A center turning lane will be installed. Appropriate striping will be painted.

Signs detailing the new traffic pattern and parking restrictions will be installed.

Rios said electronic message boards will be posted in the affected areas prior to construction alerting drivers of the changes.

Rios said Wednesday’s meeting with Mayor Cahill and other officials was the latest in a series of meetings between him and the Mayor regarding Livingston Avenue.

“My Freeholder colleagues H. James Polos, chairman of our Law and Public Safety Committee, and Charles E. Tomaro, chairman of our Infrastructure Management Committee, also have met with and have discussed the safety of the roadway with other City officials. As a team, we recognize the need for change and will work collectively to improve safety.”

The City previously commissioned a study through Rutgers University to develop improvement plans. That study was presented to the County, which now is in the process of an engineering review to determine the best way to proceed with the study’s findings.

The resulting product will be a long-term solution for the entire length of Livingston Avenue stretching from George Street to the border with North Brunswick, Rios said.

Rios said the measures being taken now will address the immediate need, but “As a team, the City and the County will study the effectiveness of these steps and continue to review other options for the long-term and for the entire length of Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick.”
“On behalf of the entire Freeholder Board, I extend our sincerest wishes for their quick recovery,” Rios said.