Dangers of South Park PL & South St Intersection Around Morristown Green

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One of the busiest intersections in the heart of Morristown is also one of the deadliest, with an average of one fatality every two years.

If you live in Morristown and regularly walk around the green, you are probably aware of the dangers at the crosswalk intersection of S. Park Pl and South Street. Pedestrians are commonly in the crosswalk while the traffic light is green, narrowly missing cars as they rush across the street. Drivers speeding, running red and yellow lights, and not looking out for pedestrians are all too common.

In August of 2021, a woman with her infant child was hit by an SUV after the vehicle collided with a tractor-trailer at this very intersection. The woman sustained a significant leg injury and thankfully the infant was unharmed. Both were taken to Morristown Medical and treated on the scene near the skincare and makeup shop Bluemercury.

Look through Morristown accident statistics year by year and you will notice the intersection of South Park Place and South Street, at the crosswalk across from Qdoba, has a surprisingly high rate of both car-on-pedestrian and car-on-car accidents.

But how dangerous is this intersection for drivers and pedestrians, and how has the town of Morristown responded to these accidents?

Visual map of motor vehicle accident fatalities around Morristown from 2005-2019.

Well, in 2021, there was at least one fatality at this intersection, as reported by the New Jersey State Police. Move back from 2021 by year to 2014 and we see about one fatality at this intersection every two years.

The danger isn’t due exclusively to the intersection itself. US 202, more specifically Speedwell Ave, from the end of Littleton Rd to the beginning of Mt Kemble Ave, is a hotbed for motor vehicle fatalities. Perhaps this ought to be no surprise, given that most accidents occur on major roadways cutting through dense populations.

Crashes are more likely to occur at intersections

Considering the heavy police presence around Morristown Green, the fatality rate at the intersection and crosswalk of South Park Place and South Street ought to be lower than other crosswalks and intersections beyond the Green.

Although the intersection is not the deadliest in our area, the location's rate of accidents and fatalities is concerning considering the heavy amount of pedestrian traffic in the area.

Morris County Park Police have been cracking down on distracted driving for the past couple of years with their "UDrive. UText. UPay." campaign. Additionally, Morristown police have joined NJ state police in ramping up the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign in time for the holiday season.

The South Park Place and South Street intersection requires drivers to navigate a curve and go straight or turn left, three of the most common things "drivers were doing" prior to crashing.

It is worth noting that most fatalities that occur at this intersection take place during the winter holiday season or during the "101 Days of Summer" that stretch between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This may indicate a correlation between distracted driving, including texting and driving under the influence, and the higher rate of fatalities at the South Park Place and South Street intersection.

Unfortunately, the accident and fatality "problem" at this crosswalk is not dependent either solely on the drivers or pedestrians.

Stand at this intersection for a few minutes and it is inevitable that you will see a pedestrian run across the street before the walk sign is on, figuring they can cross between the oncoming cars.

You will also inevitably see at least one car speeding, running a red or yellow light, or driving distracted, not aware of the risk-taking pedestrians crossing when it is not safe.

Pedestrians tend to cross the South Park Place and South Street intersection outside of the crosswalk, another major cause of accidents.

Traffic violation statistics from the Morristown Police Department do not specify the cause of accidents, therefore a complete analysis by the numbers would not paint a clear picture as to why or how often this intersection sees injuries and fatalities due to unsafe driving or pedestrian activity.

However, if you're a Morristown resident who regularly finds themselves at the crosswalk between South Park Place and South Street crossing over toward Qdoba and the Office Tavern & Grill or toward Bluemercury and Inspiration Roll, statistics are the last thing you need to confirm just how dangerous this crosswalk can be.

Have you experienced or witnessed unsafe driving or pedestrian activity at the crosswalk of South Park Place and South Street? Let us know in the comments below and be safe out there Morristown!

Submitted by a Morristown Minute reader.


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