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In response to a need for increased awareness and education to maximize public safety for residents and visitors, Hopewell Borough has officially launched a new program titled “Heads Up Hopewell.”

Spearheaded by Councilwoman Shelby Tewell, and heartily endorsed by Mayor Paul Anzano and the full Borough Council, “Heads Up Hopewell” reminds pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to stay alert to their surroundings whenever traveling in town and to obey all traffic laws. Although not strictly tailored to the use of cell phones when walking, cycling or driving, the core message of “Heads Up Hopewell” clearly underscores the need to put the devices down.

“Everyone has a role in keeping our community safe,” said Councilwoman Tewell.  “As residents, it’s our responsibility to set the tone for what is acceptable behavior in our town.  For example, crosswalks are only effective if they are utilized. Drivers will more easily see pedestrians in a crosswalk when they are not also focused on jaywalkers.  Everyone – on foot, bike or behind a wheel – must be hypervigilant when using our multi-use public roads.  As the saying goes:  safety doesn’t happen by accident.”

The program commenced on Tuesday, September 19as officials spoke to each Hopewell Elementary School class. New banners promoting the campaign have been erected at entry points on East Broad Street and Louellen Street (CR518). Tewell, along with Hopewell Elementary School Principal David Friedrich, Borough Administrator Michele Hovan, HTPD Lt. Chris Kascik, and Officer Brian Dendis each spoke to the students on Tuesday.

“We’re hoping that children learn these very basic but necessary safety tips at an early age,” said Ms. Tewell.  “We’re also hoping that they will remind and correct each other when a friend or family member is ‘heads down’ or inattentive in any way.  If ‘Heads Up Hopewell’ becomes routine and automatic, the risk of accident is greatly reduced,” she added.

The program is for all residents, not just the young ones. As part of “Heads Up Hopewell,” organizers are asking all citizens to take the pledge that essentially affirms their personal responsibility to safety (i.e., obey traffic laws, etc.).  “Heads Up Hopewell” wristbands and book marks are given to pledge-takers beginning on Saturday, September 23, at the Hopewell Harvest Fair and on an ongoing basis at Borough Hall, the Hopewell Public Library and various community events.

“We expect the program to grow over time,” said Tewell “So there is no limit to the ways we can promote it.  We want “Heads Up Hopewell” to become a local custom and part of our everyday language.  If we all focus on keeping our heads up and being aware of our surroundings, we can achieve our safety goals on a permanent basis.”

For more information on “Heads Up Hopewell,” please visit hopewellboro-nj.us/headsup or contact Michele Hovan, Borough Administrator at 609-466-2636/michele.hovan@hopewellboro-nj.us.

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