Friday, July 25, 2008

Residents Meet to Re-think Whalley Avenue

New Haven Independent article (excerpt below, photo adjacent):

"One Whalley resident, who asked not to be identified, said she had been impressed with the DOT when they came to her house several years ago and listened to her concerns about traffic.

"Parking is available right in front of her house on Whalley, but several years ago she started parking around the corner and walking to her house. Her parked car had been hit too many times by cars speeding past her house, where two lanes merge into one.

“I want to get it safe, get it slowed down,” she said. “I want to be able to walk across the street and get an ice cream cone.”
Full article:

New Haven Register article (printed below):

Residents meet to discuss Whalley, Mark Zaretsky, Register Staff, 07/25/2008

NEW HAVEN — Westville residents and “safe streets” allies from across town got together to review traffic calming options and talk strategy Thursday night in advance of a meeting next week with the state Department of Transportation.

At next week’s meeting, at 5 p.m. Thursday at Edgewood School, members of the Coalition for a Livable Whalley plan to urge the DOT to make some changes in the long-approved plan to rebuild a 0.7-mile stretch of Whalley Avenue, one of the city’s main arteries, from Emerson Street to the Route 69/Route 67 intersection. The goal: added safety.

At Thursday night’s workshop and meeting at Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel, just off Whalley Avenue, residents talked about options and how traffic calming strategies could help. They then broke into smaller groups, each with its own Google satellite maps, to come up with specific suggestions.

Construction of the DOT project is scheduled to begin in April 2009. Members of the coalition hope to get the DOT to send the project out to bid with additional safety measures that have come into greater use during the six years since the design was completed.

“What really excites me about this workshop is that we have a chance with this project to be proactive” and come up with some refinements under which “everybody benefits,” said Mary Faulkner, chairwoman of the Westville/West Hills Community Management Team.

Chris Heitmann, a Westville resident and coalition member who works for an urban planning and design organization in New York, described the Whalley Avenue project as now proposed. He also talked about some unanswered questions he had — including why mass transit and bicycle facilities were not included. He also discussed options that might help slow traffic and make the reconstructed Whalley safer.

Heitmann said he recently learned that the DOT plan is not as “set in stone,” as residents previously had thought, and that it would “be good to go to the hearing next week with some alternatives.”

The speakers included Jay Sokolow, president of Beth El-Keser Israel; Erin Sturgis-Pascale, D-14, a Fair Haven alderwoman involved with the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition; and Safe Streets Coalition coordinators Doug Hausladen and Mark Abraham.

Sturgis-Pascale said what’s going on with Whalley Avenue is one of “a series of requests to ... take aggressive measures to lower traffic injuries and fatalities by 90 percent by 2015.”

State Rep. Patricia Dillon, D-New Haven, Westville Aldermen Ina Silverman, D-25, and Sergio Rodriguez, D-26, and representatives of the Police and Fire departments also attended.

“I’m just so glad that you’re doing this,” said Dillon.

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