For immediate release:
February 9, 2011
Advocacy group applauds ConnDOT’s new policies aimed at improving safety for bicyclists and pedestrians; urges Governor Malloy to step up the effort
Continuing the trend from last year, Connecticut’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians are the Boston Post Road (Route 1) and US-5, according to an analysis of new data by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a policy watchdog organization.
Between 2007 and 2009, 6 pedestrians were killed on Route 1 and 5 on US-5, with most of the fatalities occurring where the highways pass through relatively busy urban areas such as Stamford and Hartford.
“In Connecticut, the most dangerous roads are major thoroughfares dotted with retail destinations but designed almost exclusively for fast-moving car traffic,” said Michelle Ernst, staff analyst with the Campaign. “Roads like the Boston Post Road and US-5 are perfect examples of that type of road.”
More than 100 pedestrians were killed statewide in the three years from 2007 through 2009. During that period, fatalities peaked dramatically at 47 in 2008, falling steeply back down to 26 in 2009. Preliminary data from 2010 shows that statewide pedestrian fatalities are back up above 40 in 2010.
Connecticut’s pedestrian fatalities were concentrated in New Haven County (33 fatalities from 2007-2009), Hartford County (27 fatalities), and Fairfield County (20 fatalities).
The group hopes that this new analysis will help state and local leaders determine where improvements are most needed, particularly under ConnDOT’s new “Quick-Fix” program.
“We hope that our analysis will serve as a resource to transportation planners, elected officials and community advocates,” said Ryan Lynch, Senior Planner and Connecticut Coordinator for the Campaign. “We must do more to reduce these tragic deaths.”
The group applauded efforts that are already underway to improve safety in Connecticut. In 2009, the state passed a “Complete Streets” law requiring that new construction seek to accommodate the needs of all road users – pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and motorists. ConnDOT policy changes announced last November include revising the state’s roadway design manual to consider the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians.
ConnDOT has also reformed its sidewalk policy, for the first time allowing state funds to be used for construction of new sidewalks. A new “Quick-Fix” program will use ConnDOT operations funding for simple projects – such as re-striping crosswalks or widening shoulders – that make roadways safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Finally, ConnDOT will make federal funding from the $43 million Urban subprogram of Surface Transportation Program available to bicycle and pedestrian projects.
“Connecticut has recently shown innovation in making roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Kate Slevin, the Campaign’s executive director. “We look forward to seeing this progress continue under the leadership of Governor Dannel Malloy.”
The Campaign called on the state’s legislature to pass recently re-introduced “vulnerable user” legislation which would enhance penalties for careless drivers who injure or kill pedestrians, bicyclists, emergency personnel, and others. The creation of state Safe Routes to School, Safe Routes to Transit, and Safe Routes for Seniors programs would also go a long way toward protecting Connecticut’s pedestrians.
Ernst used recently released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to determine which routes had the highest number of pedestrian fatalities over the three-year period from 2007 to 2009. The analysis excludes Interstates and other roads where pedestrians are prohibited. Data was not available for pedestrian injuries, many of which occur in urban areas like New Haven.
A statewide Connecticut fact sheet and an interactive Google Map showing the most dangerous routes for walking are also available. The map shows the locations of each pedestrian fatality, with descriptive details for each victim killed.
The full report, as well as the state fact sheet and Google Map can be found at www.tstc.org/reports/danger11/
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.