Monday, April 20, 2009

YDN: Student Death Spurs Action on Street Safety

Coverage from the Yale Daily News:

One year ago Sunday, Mila Rainof MED ’08 was struck by a car as she crossed the busy intersection of York Street and South Frontage Road. Her death a day later, along with the death of 11-year-old Gabrielle Alexis Lee in a hit-and-run last June, cast a shadow over pedestrian safety on New Haven’s streets, leading to a public push to reduce traffic accident injuries across the city. While Rainof’s friends and family still mourn her death, they said they have been consoled by city and community efforts to improve traffic safety over the past year.

A month after the accident, local residents united with officials and individual organizations to form the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition, meant to raise community awareness of traffic safety issues. Last October, the city launched the Street Smarts Campaign, which included an initiative funded by the Yale-New Haven Hospital to upgrade 12 intersections around Yale’s medical district, and shortly after, the city installed new crosswalks and pedestrian signposts in the area. The New Haven Police Department also arranged for two police units to patrol busy intersections throughout the city to slow down traffic.

Despite the array of initiatives to improve the safety of city streets, officials from the Safe Streets Coalition said they still see room for improvement and hope to avoid at all costs another unnecessary traffic fatality. Last week, Yale, along with the city’s Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking, launched the Smart Street Web site to demonstrate how pedestrians, cyclists and drivers should act on city streets.

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