Students consider intersection revision

Photo by Earl Lee.

During a round-table discussion last Tuesday night, five students from Timothy Dwight college joined New Haven Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen ’04 in considering ways to limit potential dangers at the intersection of Temple and Wall Streets.

Students gathered in the Timothy Dwight Common Room between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. to voice their concerns to Alderman Hausladen and four community members, including the University’s traffic subcommittee Chair Kirsten Bechtel and committee member Abigail Roth ’90. Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins also was present for the first 20 minutes, echoing concerns students expressed regarding the lack of traffic regulation around Timothy Dwight and Silliman Colleges. Meeting attendees worked to outline a set of proposals by the discussion’s end designed to alleviate some traffic risks, including added roadside reflectors and crosswalk space.

Without a stop sign or pedestrian walkway, the Temple and Wall intersection has been subject to criticism from both students and New Haven residents who allege the roadway is unsafe to cross. Students at the meeting said they are often forced to walk dangerously close to cars on the street’s edge when crossing the street. Though some locals have called for a pedestrian walkway sign next to the intersection’s crosswalk, Hausladen said New Haven law does not permit such road signs along one-way streets.

“What’s most frustrating is that cars can’t see me,” said Christina Kim ’16, who is physically handicapped and uses a wheelchair. “I’ve had a few close calls, where cars have just sped by me.”

Timothy Dwight Master Jeffrey Brenzel contacted Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins questioning the intersection’s safety, and Higgins articulated the concerns to members of Yale’s traffic subcommittee last month. Committee members then contacted the Board of Alderman to brainstorm solutions for alleviating difficulties pedestrians face when crossing the intersection.

Hausladen proposed three solutions to the group Wednesday evening. The first proposal entailed placing miniature reflective cones called bollards along lines between lanes.

“In other cities, you often see a solid white line dividing up the two lanes of the one-way street with temporary bollards placed on the solid white lines,” Hausladen said. “These bollards represent no danger to drivers because they can be run over but they are effective in delineating the two lanes.”

Hausladen also proposed creating a stamped crosswalk, which would entail heating asphalt, pouring it onto the crosswalk to make it look like brick and then painting the crosswalk red. He explained the stamp would be reflective and signal to drivers approaching the intersection to slow down. The downside to this plan is that stamped crosswalks typically cost about $15,000 per intersection, Hausladen said.

As a third, longer-term solution, Hausladen proposed adding curb extensions into the adjacent roadway and into the sidewalks at the intersection.

After Hausladen presented possible solutions, the group outlined a strategy incorporating parts of the Alderman’s suggestions. Their plan includes placing bollards in the intersection, painting a cross-hatch pattern on the street to denote the intersection and painting all the crosswalks a particular color.

“I think we came up with a lot of low-budget action items that will really make a difference for Timothy Dwight students,” Ben Ackerman ’16 said.

Students at the meeting decided to circulate a petition to include with the draft of the group’s proposed solutions. Hausladen said the package will be submitted to the city’s Department of Transportation, adding that he hopes to receive feedback on the proposal within the next year.

In addition to his role as Alderman, Hausladen serves as the co-coordinator of the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition — a local organization advocating for improved street traffic policy.


  • Sara

    The bumpouts are by far the most effective solution here.

    They don’t have to be a “long term” improvement – “temporary” bump outs are created all the time near construction sites around campus.

    If Yale cares about student safety, it will act quickly.

  • towngown83

    Why doesn’t each college at Yale adopt the crosswalks around thier little kingdom? You can paint the crosswalks with your college colors, and hire locals to wave lanterns and blow trumpets to announce a Yalie is about to cross the street! Seriously, Yale students ignore the crosswalks on Elm as if car dodging was a sport. Start handing out tickets to pedestrians and cars and make everyone aware of traffic laws. Let’s try to prevent Sara from spending one more sleepless night worrying about the cars hiding under her bed.

    • Sara

      Aside from the more than 20 pedestrians who have been killed in New Haven just in the past decade (including several with Yale affiliations), and the thousands more who have been seriously injured, motor vehicle traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for every age 3 through 34.

      Because of the young lives consumed, motor vehicle traffic crashes ranked third overall in terms of the years of life lost, i.e., the number of remaining years that the person is expected to live had they not died, behind only cancer and diseases of the heart.

      • towngown83

        I’d sure like to see your sources. I’m aware of two fatalities since 2002 that could be connected to Yale and both were on the Medical School side of campus. I’d also like to see the sources for the thousands who have been seriously injured. Most young lives consumed by traffic accidents are cause by speed, alcohol and not paying attention. I know you pray for a vehicle free New Haven filled with pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s just not going to happen Sara, no matter how many times you drag out the same old carmaggedon analogy. Yale students and staff are just as responsible for most of the injuries we see as the vehicle operators. They pile into the street like lemmings. Have you ever tried to go through a green light downtown and found the crosswalk filled with undergrads ignoring the fact they were blocking traffic? Meandering acroos the lanes on traffic on thier bicycles? Wandering into the street with headphones on staring at thier I-whatever? Enforcement will cut most of the willingness to disregard the traffic laws, but if you want enforcement it has to be on an equal car-pedestrian basis. It’s both sides fault, and accidents are mostly preventable, Stupidity isn’t.

        • Sara

          Crashes are preventable. An extensive study over many years recently showed that the creation of 20 mile per hour speed zones in London resulted in a 42% decline in road injuries. That’s one of the reasons why Portland, New York City, and many other places are implementing lower speed zones in their city centers, on hundreds of miles of city streets. Other studies of traffic calming measures have shown that they can reduce fatalities within a treated area by 95-100%. If you eliminate the risk, you eliminate the crashes and fatalities. It’s sad that there are a few people out there who are seemingly so opposed to saving lives.

        • BubbaJoe123

          Looking at the attached, I come up with about 20 pedestrians and 8 or 9 cyclists, and that’s between 2001 and 2009.

    • BubbaJoe123

      I agree on handing out tickets, with fines based on the total weight of the violator. So, if 150 lb pedestrian gets a fine of $25 for crossing against the light, then somebody driving a 6000 lb SUV gets a fine of $1000 for running a red light.

  • eli1

    Im sure there are a few unemployed new haven locals that could paint the sidewalk for a lot less than 15k. Stimulate the economy and make campus safer. Sounds like a win-win to me.

  • BubbaJoe123

    Why not start by putting a stop sign on Temple? Seems to be the cheap/easy solution? Am I missing something?

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