1,000 Friends of Connecticut
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ya-Ting Liu
National Report Shows Connecticut Under-Invests in Pedestrian Safety despite Available Federal Funding; Advocates Urge ConnDOT to Make Pedestrian Safety a Priority
A new national report by Transportation for America and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership ( http://t4america.org/resources/dangerousbydesign/ ) finds that although 12.6% of total traffic fatalities in Connecticut were pedestrians in 2008, the state spends less than two percent of available federal transportation dollars to make roads safer for walkers, joggers and bicyclists.
The timely report comes in the wake of five pedestrian fatalities and two near-fatalities in the last two weeks in Manchester, Farmington, West Hartford, Hartford and New Haven. These are tragic reminders that roads designed for speeding cars, without provisions for the safety of people on foot or bicycle are killing both pedestrians and motorists.
Advocates said pedestrian traffic deaths are preventable if the state makes minor changes to transportation policies and funding practices.
“While Connecticut has made strides to become more pedestrian and bike friendly over the past year, residents still face significant danger every time they set foot on Connecticut’s roads,” said Ryan Lynch, senior planner and Connecticut coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit policy watchdog organization. “Recent and tragic pedestrian fatalities only reinforce the need for Connecticut Department of Transportation to target resources to make roads safer for all users, including drivers, walkers and cyclists.”
The advocates called on Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) to:
“In diverse and thriving cities like New Haven, the majority of residents do not drive to work every day. A growing number of Connecticut residents are making the decision to get around their cities and towns on foot, by bicycle or by transit simply because it is so much more convenient than driving. It has been clear for many years that state and federal governments must dramatically recalibrate their transportation investments so that our streets, crosswalks and sidewalks can better serve residents of all ages and abilities,” said Mark Abraham, a Steering Committee member of the Connecticut Livable Streets Campaign.
“As health professionals and students, we believe any sensible effort to stem the rising tide of the obesity, heart disease and diabetes epidemics must consider how to encourage physical activity on the streets of our cities and towns. We applaud the efforts of state and local officials in recognizing the importance of pedestrian safety, but as the Transportation for America report demonstrates, more needs to be done and done urgently,” said Natalie Spicyn and Jonathan Romanyshyn of the Yale Medical Campus Traffic Safety Group.
“One factor that discourages more individuals from using transit is that in many locations walking to and from a bus stop is unsafe, unpleasant or impossible,” said Ron Kilcoyne, General Manager/CEO of Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.
"Although cycling and walking are generally safe and pleasant ways to travel around our cities, urban infrastructure, traffic volumes, and high rates of aggressive and inattentive driving present significant challenges, both actual and perceived, to many street users including children, the elderly, the disabled, and novice or inexperienced cyclists and pedestrians," said Bill Kurtz of Elm City Cycling.