Another Death on Connecticut’s Most Dangerous Road Expedites Safety Improvements

WestportNow and others report the death of another pedestrian on Route 1 (Post Road East), which according to Tri-State’s Most Dangerous Roads report ranks as the most dangerous road in Connecticut for walking. WestportNow reports that 68-year-old Bruce Tabackman was struck around 6 p.m. last Saturday on Route 1 near the popular Shake Shack restaurant.

While the circumstances of every pedestrian fatality are unique, a look at the area where the crash occurred shows that this stretch of Route 1 has many of the characteristics that have made it the state’s deadliest road for walking since 2008. At the location of this most recent fatality, the road has four lanes of traffic and a design that enables speeds in excess of the posted 35 mph limit. It is lined with destinations (such as Shake Shack and a Stop & Shop supermarket) that people attempt to reach on foot, but it lacks the infrastructure to safely and comfortably accommodate walking. Multiple pedestrians have been struck on this part of Route 1 in recent years.

After the crash, Westport Police Chief Dale Call pleaded for people to “use a crosswalk when available.” This is a sensible suggestion, but to reach the nearest marked crosswalk, a person across the street from Shake Shack would need to walk roughly 350 feet west — about the length of a football field including end zones — on a route with missing sidewalks, and then cross Bulkley Avenue South, which has no marked crosswalk. To get to the restaurant after crossing Route 1, he or she would then need to make their way back east and cross Bulkley Avenue North in two places, neither of which has a marked crosswalk or ADA-appropriate sidewalk ramps.

State and local officials have recognized this and called for infrastructure fixes after this and other recent deaths. Earlier this year, Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and town officials sat down with ConnDOT to work out potential solutions. According to The Hour, ConnDOT will now seek to expedite plans to extend sidewalks and install an additional crosswalk at the intersection of Route 1 and Bulkley Avenue. And in a letter to the Westport Daily Voice,  State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) wrote that “we… [should] resolve to be better citizens and neighbors by insisting on a municipal initiative to address both the specific spots where accidents seem likely to occur and a more general assessment of traffic safety in Westport.”  The Shake Shack restaurant has also offered to contribute to the cost of improvements, according to The Hour.

2 Comments on "Another Death on Connecticut’s Most Dangerous Road Expedites Safety Improvements"

  1. Clark Morris | March 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

    In that community does the government maintain and shovel the sidewalks? It could well be in the interest of the property owners to NOT have a sidewalk.

  2. Pedestrians also have to realize that they only have the Right of Way in a crasswolk that is NOT controlled by a traffic control device (i.e.: a traffic light).If the light is green for traffic, pedestrians should not step out into traffic thinking they have the right of Way and vehicles are supposed to stop for them.I can’t tell you how many times this has happend to me. CT STATE LAW:CHAPTER 249TRAFFIC CONTROL AND HIGHWAY SAFETYSec. 14-300. Crosswalks. Pedestrian-control signals.Regulation of pedestrians and motor vehicles at crasswolks. Pedestrians who are blind or have guide dogs. (b) At any intersection where special pedestrian-control signals bearing the words Walk or Don’t Walk are placed, pedestrians may cross the highway only as indicated by the signal. At any intersection where traffic is controlled by other traffic control signals or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the highway against a red or Stop signal and shall not cross at any place not a marked or unmarked crasswolk. A pedestrian started or starting across the highway on a Walk signal or on any such crasswolk on a green or Go signal shall have the right-of-way over all vehicles, including those making turns, until such pedestrian has reached the opposite curb or safety zone. (c) Except as provided in subsection (c) of section 14-300c, at any crasswolk marked as provided in subsection (a) of this section or any unmarked crasswolk, provided such crasswolks are not controlled by police officers or traffic control signals, each operator of a vehicle shall grant the right-of-way, and slow or stop such vehicle if necessary to so grant the right-of-way, to any pedestrian crossing the roadway within such crasswolk, provided such pedestrian steps off the curb or into the crasswolk at the entrance to a crasswolk or is within that half of the roadway upon which such operator of a vehicle is traveling, or such pedestrian steps off the curb or into the crasswolk at the entrance to a crasswolk or is crossing the roadway within such crasswolk from that half of the roadway upon which such operator is not traveling. No operator of a vehicle approaching from the rear shall overtake and pass any vehicle, the operator of which has stopped at any crasswolk marked as provided in subsection (a) of this section or any unmarked crasswolk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway. The operator of any vehicle crossing a sidewalk shall yield the right-of-way to each pedestrian and all other traffic upon such sidewalk.

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