Thursday, July 31, 2008

New ConnDOT Commissioner's First Task: Community Planning Training

See post from TSTC here, related to coverage of today's Whalley Avenue public hearing and recent workshop: http://blog.tstc.org/2008/07/31/conndot-commissioners-first-task-community-planning-training/

Update: Detailed post-event coverage of the Whalley Avenue public hearing appears in today's New Haven Independent: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2008/08/conflicting_vis.php. An NBC local news article is posted below:

DOT Unveils Whalley Ave. Renovation Plan: Safety Coalitions Question Plan (August 1, 2008, NBC30)

A new renovation plan to make Whalley Ave. safer was met with many questions from residents and safety coalitions Thursday.

The Department of Transportation presented their Whalley Ave. renovation plan to the community after reworking the plan for years. The DOT plans to invest up to $13 million to repaint crosswalks, spruce up landscaping, fix retaining walls and create two designated lanes, which will widen the road from Emerson Street to Route 69.

“The pavement is a mess, the sidewalk is a mess and the curbing is a mess,”
Jim Norman of the DOT said.

But residents and safety coalitions are unsure about whether the plan fully addresses safety issues the avenues has faced over years, specifically the 110 yearly accidents along that strip. The push for the avenue’s renovation became stronger after the hit -and -run incident that killed 11-year-old
Gabrielle Lee on the avenue in June.

The Coalition for a Livable Whalley Avenue and the
New Haven Safe Streets Coalition voiced their own opinions on the plan.

“The biggest concern, really, of our group-- and I think a lot of people in the room--is the speed of the traffic on the roadway,”
Chris Heitmann of the Coalition for a Livable Whalley Avenue said.

Even though the DOT plans to keep the 25 mph speed limit, some don't think wider lanes is the answer.

“If speeds are increasing because you have two lanes and you have all this more distance for pedestrians to cross it seems to me that you're going to have more pedestrians getting hit,”
Aric Issacs of the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition said.

DOT said plan to get started on the project by the spring of 2009. That's also around the same time when the two safety coalitions said they want to see a 50 percent decrease in traffic related injuries.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

East Rock CMT Supports Petition; Discussion Focuses on Traffic

Reporting from the New Haven Independent on the East Rock Community Management Team and the group's lengthy discussion with the city's new Chief of Police: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2008/07/east_rock.php

"East Rockers became the 10th of 12 neighborhood management teams to join a traffic-calming movement sweeping the city, while the new police chief offered manpower to help."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Petición para Calles Seguras de New Haven

Spanish translation of petition. Para firmar, visite http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/new-haven-petition-for-safe-streets.html "sign the petition."

Descripción/Historia

Petición para que la Ciudad de New Haven tome acciones inmediatas para mejorar la seguridad vial dentro de nuestras comunidades-con el objetivo inmediato de reducir las heridas causadas por accidentes de tráfico en un 50% para el año 2009, 75% para el 2012, y 90% para el 2015.

Una amplia coalición de oficiales electos a nivel estatal y local, grupos comunitarios, equipos de administración distrital, asociaciones vecinales, e individuos, ha firmado la petición y está apoyando esta campaña. Por favor chequee http://www.newhavensafestreets.org para obtener la más reciente lista de patrocinadores y proponentes.

Por favor distribuya. Envíe un correo electrónico a newhavensafestreetsARROBAgmail.com si su negocio u organización está interesada en apoyar la petición.

Petición

CONSIDERANDO QUE, violaciones de tráfico por exceso de velocidad y varias otras violaciones son un problema constante en la Ciudad de New Haven, resultando en decenas de heridas graves y heridas fatales en lo que lleva del 2008, así como cantidades medibles de ruido, contaminación, impactos negativos en el desarrollo infantil y la erosión de comunidades vecinales;

CONSIDERANDO QUE, como partidarios de esta petición, nos comprometemos a respetar todas las leyes de tráfico y advocar para la mejora de seguridad en las calles a través de toda la ciudad, con el objetivo inmediato de reducir el número de heridas y muertes causadas por los accidentes de tráfico dentro de nuestras comunidades en un 50% para el año 2009;

CONSIDERANDO QUE, calles seguras contribuyen a la percepción de la calidad de vida y de la seguridad física de residentes urbanos, empleados y visitantes; y por lo tanto son urgentemente necesarias para promover la salud pública y el crecimiento económico a largo plazo dentro de nuestras comunidades;

CONSIDERANDO QUE, el incremento de la seguridad vial es particularmente necesario en los densos distritos del centro de la ciudad, principales corredores comerciales, áreas alrededor de escuelas, y distritos en los que se ubican centros médicos con gran concentración de peatones, ciclistas, niños pequeños e individuos deshabilitados;

CONSIDERANDO QUE, límites de velocidad ligeramente más bajos y la atención a las layes de tránsito no resultan en el aumento de la duración del viaje hacia centros de trabajo, si no que por el contrario, pueden aumentar la eficiencia del tránsito vehicular, al mismo tiempo resultando en incrementos exponenciales a la seguridad pública (por ejemplo el Departamento de Transportación de Estados unidos señala que una tasa de mortandad de 5% existe cuando peatones son impactados por vehículos yendo a 20 millas por hora, versus una tasa del 40% cuando son impactados a 30 millas por hora);

CONSIDERANDO QUE, el Director de Transportaciones Michael Piscitelli ha sido un gran aliado en la promoción de mejoras al transporte que benefician a la ciudad entera y a la región, pero que pueden requerir de adicionales infraestructuras institucionales para la implementación de su visión a largo plazo;

Los que abajo firman apoyando esta petición, piden a través de la presente que la Ciudad de New Haven:

-Empezando inmediatamente, restablezca y haga cumplir un estricto límite de velocidad de 25 millas por hora a través de todas las calles y carreteras arteriales y vías primarias en New Haven, a través del despliegue constante y vigoroso de oficiales de tránsito y otros agentes;

-Empezando inmediatamente, haga cumplir estrictamente todas las reglas de tráfico relacionadas a semáforos, señales de paro (stop), carriles para bicicletas, cruces peatonales, y el uso de celulares al manejar;

-Empezando en el tercer cuarto del año 2008 y continuando cada cuarto de año, haga público un reporte a nivel de la ciudad acerca de las dos medidas mencionadas arriba, incluyendo métricas sobre las acciones que ha llevado a cabo para hacer cumplir las reglas a nivel de vecindario y la cantidad y tipo de castigos dados;

-Empezando inmediatamente, desarrolle medidas de largo plazo para significativamente incrementar la seguridad vial a través de la generación de actualizados protocolos de diseño urbano como aquellos utilizados en otras ciudades principales, y el nombramiento de coordinadores encargados de peatones y ciclistas, quienes puedan planear para tales mejoras más proactivamente;

-Para el final del 2008, establezca un estricto límite de velocidad de 15 a 20 millas por hora en todas las áreas de densa concentración de peatones y ciclistas, incluyendo las áreas que rodean inmediatamente al Hospital Yale-New Haven, el Hospital de San Rafael, y el corredor comercial de la Calle Chapel, y despliegue mejores formas de señalización peatonal, sistemas de luces y señalización dentro de esos distritos;

-Desarrolle un grupo de trabajo de alto nivel que explore la creación de un límite de velocidad de 15 a 20 millas por hora en todos los distritos residenciales de la ciudad, particularmente en zonas escolares donde niños juegan frecuentemente sobre o cerca de la calle, con un reporte a ser publicado antes del final del año 2008 y un programa de reducción de límites de velocidad en zonas designadas a ser implementado antes del tercer cuarto del año 2009;

-Desarrolle un grupo de trabajo de alto nivel que explore nuevas iniciativas de seguridad escolar y aquellas lideradas por los mismos ciudadanos, incentivos para cumplir las leyes de tránsito, y la implementación de multas más altas por violaciones de movimiento, el manejar agresivamente, y por asalto en vehículo motor, con un reporte a ser publicado antes del final del año 2008;

-Anualmente mida y reevalúe las iniciativas de seguridad vial con el objetivo de reducir el número de heridas relacionadas al tráfico vehicular y fatalidades en las calles de la ciudad, carreteras arteriales y vías principales en un 50% para el año 2009, 75% para el 2012 y 90% para el 2015.

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: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2008/07/livable_whalley.php

New Haven Register article (printed below): http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19871003&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=635049&rfi=6

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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NH Register: Group Eyes Walkable Whalley Avenue

http://www.zwire.com/site/index.cfm?newsid=19866146&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=624602&rfi=8

"The ever-growing “safe streets” movement in the city has come to Whalley Avenue, and residents see the state’s proposed reconstruction of that road as the best place to start.

"The Coalition for a Livable Whalley will hold a workshop at Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel at 6 p.m. Thursday with the goal of redesigning the state Department of Transportation’s plan to emphasize traffic calming and pedestrian safety as quickly as possible.

"The state plan, which has been in the works for decades, proposes a widening of Whalley between Emerson Street, just outside the Westville Village center, and Route 69 in the Amity neighborhood. While community leader Chris Heitmann found some merit in the plan, “the DOT sees the new road accommodating over 40,000 cars a day, which nobody wants.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Coalition for a Livable Whalley Press Release on Community Workshop and DOT Hearing

COALITION FOR A LIVABLE WHALLEY

PRESS RELEASE / MEDIA ADVISORY
For release July 22, 2008 - Camera Opportunity!

WHAT: Community workshop on Whalley Avenue traffic safety.
WHERE: Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI), 85 Harrison St. at Whalley Avenue, New Haven.
WHEN: Thursday, July 24, 6 p.m.
CONTACTS: Coalition for a Livable Whalley, Carole Bass, bass.carole /at/ gmail.com or Chris Heitmann, kibbitz77 /at/ gmail.com, 203-745-3173

Coalition for a Livable Whalley to hold community workshop on Whalley Avenue reconstruction project
- Event part of growing support for citywide traffic safety movement -


As part of the growing "safe streets" movement in New Haven, the Coalition for a Livable Whalley, a group of concerned citizens, will hold a community workshop this week to help gather ideas and support for making Whalley Avenue safer, calmer and more vibrant. The workshop will take place at Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI) on Thursday, July 24, at 6 p.m., in the Westville section of New Haven.

The event precedes a public open house with the state Department of Transportation about DOT's plans to reconstruct and widen a 3/4-mile stretch of upper Whalley. That meeting, convened by state Rep. Pat Dillon and state Sen. Toni Harp, is scheduled for July 31 from 5 to 8 pm at Edgewood School, 737 Edgewood Ave., in New Haven.

The Coalition for a Livable Whalley came together after last month's hit-and-run killing of 11-year-old Gabrielle Lee on the stretch of Whalley Avenue that the DOT intends to reconstruct. DOT's plan, in the works for decades, includes widening Whalley between Emerson Street in Westville and Rte. 69 in Amity. Construction is slated to begin in spring 2009. The group’s immediate goal is to re-envision and re-design the plan to calm traffic and prioritize access and safety for pedestrians, bus riders, and bicyclists, especially children, senior citizens, and disabled people. In the long term, the group hopes to create safe, active, and vibrant places along Whalley Avenue for both residents and visitors, in the process encouraging greater livability and local economic development.

Traffic safety, walkability and their impact on economic development have always been a major concern in New Haven and Connecticut cities. But New Haven's patchwork of individual residents and groups were not always sure what to do about it.

This spring, in the wake of a number of high-profile traffic-related injuries and fatalities -- including that of Gabrielle Lee -- the community has been galvanized into taking urgent citywide action. A number of community organizations, advocacy groups and elected officials formed the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition, which published an online "Petition for Safe Streets" seeking specific measures needed to create a 50% reduction in citywide traffic-related injuries by 2009, and a 90% reduction by 2015.

According to Chris Heitmann, one of the Livable Whalley group’s coordinators, the approval of state funding for the DOT’s plan is “a tremendous opportunity to rebuild this stretch of Whalley Avenue in the long-term interests of the community, rather than trying to move more traffic through as quickly as possible. While the current plan has some merits, the DOT sees the new road accommodating over 40,000 cars a day, which nobody wants. We see a more desirable future for Whalley, one that’s safer for people walking, taking the bus, and riding their bikes, and which is actually pleasant to be on."

The effort to re-envision Whalley Avenue as a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly place is being echoed in similar efforts all across New Haven. In June, a series of neighborhood planning meetings in Fair Haven, organized by Ward 14 Alderwoman Erin Sturgis-Pascale (D-New Haven), was funded through neighborhood contributions and attended by over 100 local residents. Since that time, the list of Safe Streets Coalition supporters has grown dramatically, and now boasts over 1,400 signatures on its online petition, plus the support of 28 elected officials and nearly two dozen community and advocacy groups, including, most recently, the Upper State Street Association, Westville Village Renaissance Alliance and the Town Green Special Services District's Board of Commissioners, three influential business improvement districts.

"The Safe Streets Petition was an easy signing for all who were present the evening that the Upper State Street Association voted to support," said Ben Berkowitz, president of Upper State Street Association. "Upper State Street wants to continue to see its reputation as a safe place to walk and bike grow and we feel that efforts like the Safe Streets Petition will help to foster that growth."

Perhaps most impressively, the Safe Streets Coalition's petition has now been approved by 9 of the city's 12 Community Management Teams (known as CMTs), neighborhood policing organizations which each can boast dozens of active members and serve as forums to discuss all issues related to public safety and neighborhood economic development. At its June meeting, the Westville-West Hills CMT, which represents the neighborhoods surrounding the Whalley Avenue project area, joined with groups from Newhallville to the East Shore in voting unanimously to support the petition. Safe Streets Coalition organizers expect the remaining 3 Management Teams to endorse the petition when they reconvene for voting later this summer, at which point they plan to launch additional grassroots campaigns to change policy at the local, state and national levels.

According to Alycia Santilli, an active member of New Haven's Quinnipiac East Management Team and the research coordinator for the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement at the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, the safe streets effort is important for its public health benefits as well.

"With obesity on the rise nationally and locally—obesity is more than 20% higher in New Haven compared to the rest of Connecticut and greater still among our children—it is imperative to increase physical activity options throughout the city. An integral component is ensuring that our streets are safe for walking and biking," she said.

Although New Haven has its work cut out in overcoming decades of automobile-centric policy and planning at the state level, the city is an ideal place for more progressive traffic planning to take hold. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, New Haven has a higher percentage of residents who walk or bicycle as their primary mode of commute to work than Boston, New York City, Hartford, Providence, Worcester, Bridgeport, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Stamford. Its dense urban center, founded in 1638, has a strong base of institutional and commercial employers. The potential for balancing regional traffic concerns with the principles of safety, walkability, bikeability and improved neighborhood development in this city have been widely recognized. A recent article by the American Podiatric Medical Association and Prevention Magazine ranked New Haven as the 19th most walkable of 501 U.S. cities.

But of the top five pedestrian commuter cities in the country, New Haven's city center has the closest direct proximity to major interstate highways. As a consequence, pedestrians routinely encounter high-speed traffic spilling from I-91 and I-95 onto major urban streets. Significant citywide focus has recently been given to the Route 34 Connector, a six-lane highway which runs directly from I-95 to the Air Rights Garage adjacent to Yale-New Haven Hospital. It bisects New Haven, creates an extremely dangerous situation for pedestrians, and according to the city, significantly inhibits downtown growth.

The city has an ambitious vision to remove the highway, re-create the street grid, and develop housing, parks, and offices in the highway's place. A group of community leaders came together in a letter dated May 27, 2008, to the governor of Connecticut to support this vision and demonstrate the overwhelming public support for the proposal. The letter was preceded by a March 2008 public event attended by over 125 community members and elected officials. In addition, the Yale Medical Campus Traffic Safety Group, one of the original founders of the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition, boasts an email list of nearly 200 citizens and has been conducting extensive organizing efforts to improve pedestrian safety around the hospital and on the Yale campus.

All of these concerns seem particularly urgent on Whalley Avenue, not just in the wake of the fatal traffic injury, but because the avenue is a key commercial corridor whose success or failure will have a major long-term impact on surrounding neighborhoods. Coalition for a Livable Whalley organizers are expecting a strong turnout at the two upcoming events.

Above all, residents see an improved Whalley Avenue as an opportunity to build community. According to Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen, a supporter of the Coalition for a Livable Whalley, "two-thirds of the members of Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI) live in the City of New Haven and spend a lot of time walking, biking and driving around town. Many of our families choose to live in New Haven specifically so they can walk or bike to synagogue, which is part of a devout lifestyle. Our existence as a community depends on the safety of the streets and sidewalks."

“Spiraling gas prices have many Americans – some right here in Connecticut – reconsidering urban life as an attractive alternative to the auto-dependent sprawl of the past hundred years, but for this to become a realistic alternative in the future we must ensure a suitable urban environment for all who use city streets, including bicyclists and pedestrians,” explains Senator Toni N. Harp (D-New Haven), a coalition supporter. “I hope many New Haven-area residents participate in the imminent traffic safety public hearings so we gather a complete range of ideas and opinions about how to modify our city going forward to provide vibrant neighborhoods and safe streets throughout.”

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Intersection, Old Safety Problems at Yale

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2008/07/new_intersectio.php

Article and article comments detailing pedestrian safety concerns at Prospect & Trumbull Street in New Haven.

"Deaths of pedestrians hit by drivers — including Mila Rainof on South Frontage Road and 11-year-old Gabrielle Lee on Whalley — as well as the steady stream of bicyclists injured by vehicles have combined to spark a citywide “safe streets” movement. Lemar expressed concern that rushing, preoccupied students would be streaming from their new digs down to classes in greater volume for this intersection than ever before.

In effect Lemar and other commissioners were asking: Can you guarantee us that these kids will end up in class and not in the nearby Grove Street Cemetery?"

"Slower, calmer and safer streets -- streets that are designed as such -- will do much more towards encouraging bicycling and walking than any number of bike lanes, turn lanes, new sidewalks or pedestrian signals can ever hope to accomplish."

East Rockette: "I'd like to see Yale put their foot down, on behalf of the safety of the large walking/biking population that they're in loco parentis for. I'd like to see the streets and intersections around the campus treated like pedestrian precincts - raised brick crosswalks, planters, bump-outs whatever it takes to indicate to drivers that they are passing through a zone that prioritises pedestrians. "

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Transit Bill to be Reauthorized in 2009: Advocacy Site

This is a once-per-decade opportunity to change the way our country looks at transportation infrastructure. Pleasee see http://t4america.org/

" The Federal Transportation bill will be reauthorized in 2009, and now is the time to start fighting for something different — something that can get us where we need to go quickly and efficiently, end our dependence on oil, clean up the air, and provide us with a better, stronger America."

Friday, July 11, 2008

NYC's Broadway to turn into a Pedestrian and Bike Esplanade

From http://groups.yahoo.com/group/elmcitycycling/message/7429. Click there to read an original article about the conversion plan, and an open letter of response written by a Safe Streets Coalition supporter.

"Thanks largely to the team of Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of City Planning, and renowned Copenhagen urbanist Jan Gehl, New York City is turning its largest and most significant public street into a landscaped boulevard for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"I lived and worked right in the middle of this section of Broadway for several years, and can't wait to use this new esplanade. It will be great for commuting and getting from Herald Square to Times Square. Among hundreds of other pedestrians who have been hit and seriously injured or killed in recent years along this stretch, the proposed new boulevard begins right where 7 pedestrians were killed and 8 seriously injured in a widely publicized traffic incident on December 27, 2001...


"Let's make it clear to ConnDOT and our elected officials that it is about time that Connecticut had pedestrian and bicycle friendly cities and towns, instead of cities designed exclusively for moving automobiles through the middle of our neighborhoods at the deadliest, highest speeds possible. Even as we speak, ConnDOT is planning to widen several streets in the heart of our city in order to create "smoother" traffic flows, over the objections of many residents...."

See http://www.downtownnewhaven.blogspot.com/2008/07/pedestrians-now-playing-on-broadway.html for an article about how this relates to Broadway in New Haven.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Construction Site Guidelines

An excellent list of guidelines -- many of which are not appropriately considered in and around New Haven's construction sites, even those surrounded by bustling pedestrian crowds and bordering streets where automobiles frequently travel 15-20 miles per hour in excess of posted speed limits.

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/sidewalk2/sidewalks210.htm

Additional measures, such as speed bumps that inflate when speed limits are exceeded, are available, and not listed here. When it comes to planning for construction sites, how much is it worth to prevent the risk of a pedestrian fatality?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Letter to Rob Smuts regarding traffic violations, July 2, 2008

This letter is from a coalition supporter, sent July 2nd to CAO Rob Smuts and Deputy Patrol Resource Coordinator Witkowski. Rob Smuts replied on July 3rd; that letter is also posted below.

Dear Rob and Lt. Witkowski,

At 5:51pm today I was standing near the intersection of Dwight and Edgewood. An NHPD squad car was coming down Edgewood Ave approaching the intersection. While the NHPD squad car was still a way's off, the light turned yellow. The NHPD car was not rushing anywhere as it was travelling at a normal speed and did not have its sirens or lights on. Yet when the light turned yellow, the squad car accelerated. The light then turned red. The NHPD squad car still had enough time to come to a stop. It did not. Instead, it accelerated through the red light. It then continued down Edgewood Ave, with no lights or sirens on.

This is far from the first time I have seen this happen at this intersection.

The New Haven community has been crying out for police to enforce traffic laws. How are they to do that, if they break them themselves?

I am under the understanding that NHPD cars may not recklessly run red lights under any circumstances, and may proceed through them at slower speeds only when rushing to an emergency. Despite my faith in the good intentions of the NHPD, given the lack of lights and sirens and the frequency, with which I have seen NHPD cars run red lights at this intersection (not to mention at Elm & York, where this occurrence is probably even more frequent), I have great trouble believing these squad cars are running red lights only when there are emergencies. Instead, I have to believe they run them for the same reasons as most drivers in New Haven: because it's a pain to wait thirty seconds for the light to turn green again.

If this is, indeed, the attitude of (not to mention the example set by) some of New Haven's finest -- even if it's only a small minority of them -- then it needs to change. I urge you to respond to the public's calls for safer streets in New Haven and send a message to the Department that traffic laws are to be enforced, not broken, by the police.

Sincerely, H.Smith, 85 Edgewood Ave.


Reply from Rob Smuts:

Please do get the car numbers, as Lt Witkowski requested. You make the obvious distinction between a car responding to an emergency and normal travel and under normal travel there is no excuse nor any tolerance foran officer failing to obey traffic (or any other) laws. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Best, Rob Smuts

Speeding: Major issue in Branford

See this article: New Haven Independent: Community Policing Hits Short Beach

In an update, Chief John DeCarlo told the Eagle that “the problems that different neighborhoods are bringing to the attention of the police department are amazingly similar. Without exception, quality of life issues such as traffic, parking, vandalism and diminished civility are paramount among residents’ concerns.”

As the meeting drew to a close, Lt. Morgan asked the residents to go to the hallway where the sheets of paper had been placed. He asked them to attach the stars to the three topics they were most concerned about. Some residents put all their stars on one topic; others scattered them.


The winners: Speeding on Shore Drive, speeding on Clark Avenue and juvenile vandalism.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Article: Perils for Pedestrians

http://www.pedestrians.org/articles/riskmanagement.html
"Promoting and encouraging the development and use of safe walkways near schools helps improve fitness, fosters a sense of community spirit and reduces the risk of accidents and injuries. The number of students walking to school in the United States has fallen from 70 percent a generation ago to barely 10 percent today. What are the implications of this enormous change? What caused it? What can be done to reverse it?"

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