Resident offers solution to poorly illuminated walkways

Kurt (10) and Maya (8), Shapiro’s two children, helped him sort through the armbands and personally deliver them to each household.

Photo Credit: Jay Shapiro

Kurt (10) and Maya (8), Shapiro’s two children, helped him sort through the armbands and personally deliver them to each household.

by Lilia Wood, Editor-in-Chief

The dangers of limited lighting downtown were brought to the community’s attention two weeks ago when a car hit a 62-year-old man. The man was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with facial injuries.

The accident happened at 7:19 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12 when a 32-year-old Mahwah woman’s Toyota Camry on Main Street turned left onto Rock Road and struck a man who was crossing Rock Road parallel to the Main Street train tracks. The driver was charged for careless driving and failure to report the accident because she continued to drive away until she was pointed out by a witness.

“It was dark and slippery,” Jay Shapiro, a Glen Rock resident who helped the victim, said. “I suspect the driver of the car never saw him. Accidents and close calls are unfortunately not that uncommon in Glen Rock because our streets are very dark.”

Pullquote Photo

I’m not really a nervous person, but I definitely have concerns about walking at night.”

— Jay Shapiro

The lack of illumination is dangerous for pedestrians crossing the street, but it would take a lot of time and money from the town to install more streetlights. So Shapiro brainstormed simple solutions that would reduce the dangers of walking through town at night and not cause light pollution.

“I have two labradoodles, and anytime I’ve walked them at night I have either brought a headlamp or wished I had,” Shapiro explained. “The streets of Glen Rock really are very dark, so it’s hard to see where you’re going and even harder for cars to see you. I’m not really a nervous person, but I definitely have concerns about walking at night. I’m sure that anyone in town who has to walk home from one of the trains each night must be thinking the same thing.”

During his research, Shapiro came across LED armbands. The armbands are reflective colored bracelets with an adjustable Velcro on one end to strap around an arm or ankle. They have batteries and LED lights mounted inside a reflective material, so the lights flash and the colored material reflects the cars lights. Many suppliers, including Amazon and eBay, sell armbands that are made in China.

Shapiro decided to offer the armbands to the community and then buy them in bulk. The armbands are $3 each. He advertised them through Glen Rock’s two main Facebook groups.

Shapiro posted a picture of the armbands on the Glen Rocker's Facebook page, so the community could see if they wanted to purchase one.
Photo Credit: Glen Rockers Facebook Page
Shapiro posted a picture of the armbands on the Glen Rocker’s Facebook page, so the community could see if they wanted to purchase one.

Shapiro thought the armbands would be beneficial to anyone in Glen Rock who walks in the dark.

“That certainly includes middle school and high school students who have to walk in the winter mornings when it’s dark, and city commuters who are walking home from one of the trains in the evening,” he said. “Glen Rock’s dog walkers spend more time walking our streets, so they are even more at risk.”

The townspeople already purchased more than 100 of the armbands. Shapiro personally delivers the armband orders to the customers’ households.

“These armbands work so well and are so cheap. I think we could even move to official Glen Rock branded bands that the town gives out to every household when they move to Glen Rock,” Shapiro said.

Other ideas to increase safety during the night include installing safety flags at high-risk intersections like Rock Road for people to carry across the road to be seen. Ridgewood has already installed such flags.

High-risk crosswalks near the schools also need better lighting and signage.