Fairfield Pedestrian Deaths Lead To Calls For Greater Infrastructure Focus

August 9, 2023
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The state of Connecticut has been experiencing an epidemic of pedestrian related fatalities over the past two years and many municipalities, including New Haven are working on finding ways to fix the infrastructure of their cities and towns to address these issues. After a second pedestrian related fatality in Fairfield recently, the city is joining the list of communities to shine a spotlight on infrastructure needs that can address these challenges.

When a New Haven pedestrian accident occurs and someone is killed it can send shock waves throughout the city and alarm bells will ring for those that write the laws in the Elm City. Long before the recent uptick in pedestrian fatalities, Connecticut instituted a “Complete Streets” law that required cities and towns to take pedestrian safety and the safety of those riding public transportation into account when developing new streets and intersections. Even with the 2009 law enacted, many cities and towns enacted their own addendum’s to the “Complete Streets” law including New Haven.

New Haven’s “Complete Streets” initiative which was implemented in 2010, after a year of the “Complete Streets” steering committee’s work lays out the following framework for infrastructure projects to be planned and implemented;

“require the accommodation of the safety and convenience of all users of the transportation system using a hierarchy of users which supports and encourages non-motorized transportation and prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable users: children, the elderly and persons with disabilities. This accommodation will be executed through the application of the complete street designs guidelines described in the Complete Streets Design Manual.”

In other words, infrastructure projects that are undertaken for the city of New Haven are required, by ordinance, to take into account pedestrians and the most vulnerable pedestrians among us in their design, development and execution. If done properly these projects are intended to minimize the dangers presented to those who are traveling throughout the city whether they are on foot or on bicycle.

With this large effort undertaken by both the state of Connecticut and the city of New Haven in the last 10 years a logical conclusion would be that the problems facing pedestrians throughout the state and city have been minimized, when in reality New Haven pedestrian fatalities and those that have taken place throughout the state have been on the rise since the shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic and they show no signs of slowing. This situation has again reached emergency levels and is continually being addressed by state and local lawmakers.

Regardless of the actions taken by lawmakers, pedestrians continue to be at risk and injuries will always happen. If you’re involved in one of these accidents you may wish to speak with someone who has experience with situations like the one you are facing. Contact our office and one of our experienced attorneys will work to understand your situation and protect your long-term interests.