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How to stay safe as a pedestrian in New Haven

Compared to other New England states, Connecticut has the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities according to the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center. Accidents in New Haven accounted for five of the 14 pedestrian deaths that occurred statewide during the first two months of 2020. 

Although New Haven does not have the highest rate of fatal pedestrian crashes in Connecticut, only Hartford has more pedestrian crashes in total. Residents of New Haven cite flawed traffic infrastructure and aggressive driving as contributing factors. However, a 2017 study suggests that risky pedestrian behavior could also play a part. Two New Haven intersections, at Whalley Avenue and Chapel Street, served as observation sites. 

Findings from the study

The study showed that between 25% and 35% of pedestrians at the two New Haven observation sites exhibited risky behaviors when crossing the street. Pedestrians at the New Haven Whalley intersection were likely to cross without looking for traffic, while those at New Haven Chapel more often misused the crosswalk or jaywalked. 

Implications for citizens

Pedestrians in New Haven can help prevent accidents by reducing risky behaviors. They should stay in safe areas like crosswalks and sidewalks whenever they are available. When crosswalks are not available, pedestrians should cross at a well-lit corner. Rather than assuming that a driver will give them the right of way, they should attempt to make eye contact with oncoming drivers before attempting to cross. They should avoid using headphones or handheld electronic devices. This helps them to stay alert to what is happening in their surroundings. 

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