Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ongoing Crashes at the Tomlinson Bridge in New Haven: State Board Called for Speedy Resolution Last Fall, but Few Actions Taken

As we have reported multiple times in the past two years, the Tomlinson Bridge in New Haven has been the subject of local, state and national news coverage because of the extreme danger presented by the combination of an oblique rail crossing and a high speed road. The Bridge is the topic of a SeeClickFix issue that has received over 14,000 hits.

The Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board has highlighted these concerns in their 2010 annual report, as one of the most severe issues in the entire state. Their report, and a history of correspondence on the issue which includes calls for a "speedy" fix to the problem, is available here as a PDF.

Please contact us if you would like to add more reports of crashes to the list below. More information on the Tomlinson Bridge may be found on Wikipedia (in the photo here, it is shown on the left hand side). There are also more comprehensive articles on the history of the controversy on Design New Haven as well as on our site. The bridge is a crucial connection between Downtown New Haven and all neighborhoods, urban and suburban, located towards the east side of Downtown.

The following bicycle injuries have been documented at this railroad crossing. This is an incomplete list that only highlights some of the more severe falls:

**June 26, 2010: Two cyclists fall on tracks during the annual New Haven Century. One of them breaks his femur.

**September 26, 2009: Two cyclists fall and are injured while riding during a Yale Cycling event.

**September 25, 2009: A cyclist falls during an evening group ride over the tracks, and suffers minor injuries.

**September 13, 2009: A cyclist falls after his wheels become stuck in the tracks.

**August 30, 2009: A cyclist is involved in a hit-and-run incident on the bridge and severely injures his arm and shoulder.

**June 24, 2009: A cyclist falls on tracks while biking to Lighthouse Point and fractures her wrist.

**August 2008: A cyclist crashes on the bridge, due to a passing car, and breaks his elbow.

**August, 2007: A cyclist falls on tracks and seriously injures his left shoulder rotator cuff.

According to local bicycle shops and avid riders, many other cyclists (including city officials) have reportedly crashed while cycling over the tracks, suffering broken arms and collarbones.

Local bicycle advocates, including members of ElmCityCycling, have urged city and Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) officials to take action to prevent further injuries at the crossing. To date, signs have been posted warning cyclists of the crossing, but injuries persist. Cyclists have commented on the limited visibility of the signs. To date, ConnDOT has not adequately addressed the situation.

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