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Teaneck Considering Pedestrian Safety After Fatal Cedar Lane Crash

The intersection of Garrison Avenue and Cedar Lane, scene of a fatal accident in Teaneck on Christmas Day. Photo Credit: Kyle Mazza
Garrison Avenue and Cedar Lane in Teaneck, showing the broad 4-lane street crossing. Photo Credit: Google Maps

TEANECK, N.J. -- Teaneck officials said they planned Tuesday night to discuss pedestrian safety, with an emphasis on Cedar Lane's intersection with Garrison Avenue -- the site of a fatal Christmas night crash.

“I’m not saying the corner is dangerous," Mayor Lizette Parker told Daily Voice. "I’m going to direct that we look at all the factors and see if there is a way it could be improved."

Garrison Avenue and Cedar Lane had the first Braille crossing for blind pedestrians installed when Bergen County authorities upgraded it following a 2006 fatality, Deputy Mayor Elie Katz noted.

Other improvements made were “traffic calming devices” the length of the Cedar Lane commercial district, including sidewalk bump outs specifically designed to slow vehicles down, he said.

Councilman Alan Sohn suggested a broader view taking in the entire district.

“It’s both our main artery and the main business street,” Sohn said. “The fact it is four lanes wide for most of the length present problems with pedestrian crossings, because a car in the first lane might stop but maybe the one in the next lane doesn’t.”

The corner where the Christmas Eve fatality occurred is “less bad” than other crossing, Sohn said.

He, Katz and Parker said there is an “all-way” crossing there -- with a red light in all directions during pedestrian crossings -- that should make it much safer than other Teaneck intersections.

Borough resident Steven J. Leitgeb, 59, was struck on Dec. 25 as he crossed Cedar Lane, a block from his Garrison Avenue home, at 6:47 p.m. He later died at Hackensack University Medical Center.

After intense publicity, 62-year-old fellow resident Stalin Kappil, a social worker with the City of New York Administration for Children's Services, surrendered this past Saturday, 10 days after the incident. He was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle crash.

The Teaneck Mayor and Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building located at 818 Teaneck Road.

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