The traffic calming movement is sweeping New Haven, thanks to citizen action and the remarkable efforts of TSTC’s partners in the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition. The Coalition-sponsored petition, which calls on the City of New Haven to strictly enforce existing traffic laws and undertake specific long-term measures to reduce traffic injuries by 90% by 2015, now counts among its signers 24 of New Haven’s 30 alderpersons, five Community Management Teams, and four New Haven-area state legislators, including State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (for more information or to sign the petition online click here).
The New Haven Independent has closely followed efforts to improve safety for New Haven pedestrians, and recently published stories on the installation of a choke point in Fair Haven, the Westville CMT’s decision to sign on to the Safe Streets Coalition petition, and Coalition petitioners in downtown New Haven:
[Petitioner Juli Stupakevich] said, “The feedback has been very positive, and people are interested in getting involved. The number of traffic violations that people see in this area is astounding.” Standing for a few minutes on the corner was long enough to see several cars scoot under the light as it turned red. While [Independent reporter Melinda Tuhus] was unlocking her bike 20 feet away, a collective yell arose from many throats as a motorist ran the light in a particularly egregious manner.
New Haveners have been galvanized by two recent high-profile traffic deaths. Eleven-year-old Gabrielle Lee was the victim of a hit-and-run incident in Westville earlier this month, and Yale medical student Mila Rainof was killed crossing York Street in April.
The dangerous downtown conditions have also put momentum behind a City of New Haven proposal to replace the Route 34 Connector with a more people-oriented boulevard, restored street grid, and mixed-use development. Last week a committee of the New Haven Board of Aldermen voted to authorize the City Plan Department to apply for federal funding for Route 34 site studies.