New Traffic Light on Alisa Drive

Ela Gonzales, Co-Editor-in-Chief

WEST ORANGE, NJ — A new traffic light was recently installed on Alisa Drive earlier this past month on September 4. The addition was a result of a joint effort of the town and Board of Ed. to make a safer commute for the students of West Orange High School (WOHS) and the West Orange community in general.

Since 2015, there have been five motor vehicle crashes at the intersection of Pleasant Valley Way and Alisa Drive. According to Principal Moore, the proposal for the light has been about two years in the making. There were several organizations behind the installment, such as the Nikhil Badlani Foundation (NBF) and West Orange Pedestrian Safety Advisory Board (WOPSAB). When asked about the importance of this installment Sangeeta Badlani, President of NBF, mentioned “I witnessed two crashes within a week at this intersection a few years ago.  Fortunately these were not fatal, but we cannot keep pushing our luck. We need to be proactive rather than reactive.”

The leading cause in death of teens is motor vehicle crashes. Statistics show that teen drivers (16-17-year-old) are six times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adult drivers. PVW/Alisa Drive is a high volume traffic intersection; especially in Fall and Spring when there is Soccer, Lacrosse and other sports being played on the two fields at the WOHS. Given the street design and 280 HWY in the vicinity, it can be difficult for drivers to see traffic coming from the left. Traffic signals reduce the severity of certain types of crashes, especially right angle crashes (also known as T-Bone or Broadside crashes).

With a traffic light installed, the judgement of when to make a left turn does not fall on the driver, as traffic will be now regulated by the traffic light.The traffic signal provides orderly movement of conflicting traffic flows. The Township had been discussing the possibility of a light at this intersection for many years with the Board of Education. According to Mayor Parisi, “This was not a large expense [for the town] but was an important one to allocate.”