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.