New Haven high school students urge drivers to slow down on Springfield Ave

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – If you’re driving along Springside Avenue in New Haven you will see some new signage, not from the city or Dept. of Transportation but from concerned high school students.

Their message is simple, slow down.

“It feels like an accident waiting to happen,” says Joel Tollman, Common Ground High School Director of Community Engagement.

Most students at Common Ground High School take the city bus. The stop drops them off across the street forcing them to cross without a crosswalk or sidewalks. Springside Avenue also does not have school zone signs. Students say it’s dangerous.

“They tend to speed up and there will be children walking across the street,” said Freshman Charlese Clark.

Melinda Tuhus is a volunteer at the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition. She sent a letter to the city this week demanding action. Her letter in part said “so egregious, it involves children. There is absolutely zero safety infrastructure.”

The danger on this roadway is something the school can attest to, stating that there has been multiple incidents in the past and worry about the future.

“We’ve had one student hit while riding his bicycle to and from school luckily not hurt at all,” said Tollman. “One of our staff members was hit and hurt badly.”

The school tells News 8 it’s been an issue for years and one they pursued before the pandemic, but efforts weakened. Now they are ramping efforts up again showing signs of their own to get their message across.

The issue sparked the interest of Christopher Albert in his junior year. The 2022 graduate has been working on a study for years and his research suggests this: 

“Maybe traffic lights or stop signs,” said Albert, “We’re adding in speed tables here at the campus. We are pushing for a walkway on the intersection on the other side of the bridge.”

The school tells me they have had several good conversations with the city of New Haven but want to see more done.

“If somebody got killed here then I think they would act but let’s please not wait until something like that happens,” said Tuhus.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker gave News 8 the following statement regarding the issue:

“The safety of our students and schools are a top priority for the City of the New Haven. The Department of Transportation made a site visit to Common Ground High School earlier this month, spoke with school staff, and are actively working to develop a site plan that includes the appropriate traffic safety measures for the safety of our students, including improved signage and new striping, along with other possible traffic calming measures.”