WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Town officials, activists, and residents alike are ready for action to make roads safer following several deadly crashes within the last week.
Non-profit Bike West Hartford advocated for safer biking, walking, and transportation. The group said that five people killed in three crashes is a concerning trend that needs to be stopped. It suggested that problem areas could use better engineering and infrastructure.
“Raised crosswalk, so think of it as a speed hump with a crosswalk on it and the thing about this is it forces all drivers to slow down,” said Jack Dougherty, a board member for Bike West Hartford. “A mini-rotary, which basically again is requiring all drivers coming into a busy intersection to slow down to make it around a very small rotary.”
West Hartford officials are also weighing in.
The mayor and town manager said they would create a task force on traffic and pedestrian safety in response to the series of tragedies. They say an announcement on that will be made early next week.
“Although the fatal motor vehicle collisions that have occurred in town over the last week are isolated incidents, any loss of life is unacceptable,” Town Manager Rick Ledwith said. “We are constantly studying, evaluating, and improving road safety, and plans are already underway to step those efforts up with the creation of a traffic and pedestrian safety task force.”
Residents are fed up. Jennifer DaSilva lives feet away from the deadly Christmas morning crash that killed three people, and the deadly pedestrian accident a few days prior. The mother supports the task force and said that the dangerous roads in her neighborhood need to be addressed.
“People just go super fast here, blowing the stop signs and the red lights,” DaSilva said. “I think it would be great to try and prevent this from happening and prevent a lot of sorrow for other families.”
Meanwhile, the push for better traffic safety isn’t just local but is also being looked at state-wide. State lawmakers said the possibility of law enforcement cameras will be discussed in this upcoming legislative session. Currently, they are illegal in Connecticut.
Bike West Hartford said it’s an idea worth exploring.
“I am open to anyone who has workable strategies to reduce crash deaths and serious injuries,” Dougherty said. “We also want to make sure these are equitable strategies.”
West Hartford will soon have even more foot traffic with hundreds of new condos and apartments planned for the center of town. Traffic concerns were brought up prior to the string of deadly crashes.