Milone & MacBroom's Ryan O'Hara Organizes 'Safe Streets New Haven' Meeting

Jan 31, 2020
Ryan Ohara Mobile

Roads aren’t designed safely. Cops don’t enforce traffic laws. The laws are unclear. Traffic culture is broken.

New Haveners confronted officials with that withering assessment of the city’s streets, where drivers struck and killed nine pedestrians last year and another two so far this year.

The occasion was a Safe Streets New Haven meeting Tuesday night that drew 50 people from throughout the city Safe Streets New Haven to the Betsy Ross Parish Hall on Kimberly Avenue in the Hill.

Organized in large part by local traffic engineer Ryan O’Hara, the nearly two-hour meeting saw pedestrians and cyclists and bus riders and car drivers voice their concerns directly to Mayor Justin Elicker, Police Chief Otoniel Reyes, City Engineer Giovanni Zinn, Transportation, Traffic & Parking Director Doug Hausladen, State Rep. Roland Lemar, and a half-dozen alders who participated in the discussion.

The group focused its ire on the legal, structural, and cultural problems that make moving around this city so dangerous.

Those conditions led to nine pedestrians killed by cars citywide last year (including five in one month), and to two pedestrians killed by cars so far in 2020.

Click here to download a police crash data handout that notes that 186 pedestrians were struck by vehicles citywide in 2019. That’s 71 more than the 115 pedestrians who were struck citywide the year before.

Tuesday night’s gathering heard residents call for a panoply of traffic fixes: more and better lighting on the city’s darkest speedways, the enforcement of “vulnerable user” laws designed to protect pedestrians and cyclists, state legalization of red-light cameras, the narrowing of urban mini-highways like Whalley Avenue and Whitney Avenue, and the installation of speed bumps, raised intersections, protected bike lanes, and signalized crosswalks throughout the city.

“We’re here tonight not to point fingers but to help the city move forward and make this place we call home a lot safer,” O’Hara said at the top of the meeting. “We’re here as a group of advocates because we care.”

Participant after participant after participant also stressed that, in New Haven, people simply do not follow traffic safety laws. That’s true for pedestrians and drivers and cyclists alike.

To read the full article, click here.

© New Haven Independent, 2020