Here’s how New Haven plans to make Whitney Avenue safer


NEW HAVEN – The next opportunity to comment on how to put Whitney Avenue on a “road diet” is scheduled for Thursday online, no travel required.

The proposed design, which will focus on those who walk or cycle along the 1.5-mile-long causeway, turns Whitney into essentially a two-lane road with a left turn lane in both directions. The current design includes a two-lane cycle path at sidewalk level along the west side.

“It’s a classic road regime and it’s a very common tool,” said city engineer Giovanni Zinn. “The Federal Roads Administration is a big supporter of it and what you’re doing is going from four lanes to three lanes, basically. “

However, only two of the lanes are traffic lanes. The middle lane is limited to left turns on side streets and alleys. It prevents traffic from backing up behind cornering cars and reduces crashes between 19% and 47%, according to the FHA. Reducing traffic to one lane in each direction also tends to reduce speeds.

Zinn said the project is focused on all road users, especially those who wish to cross the Broad Street. “We are greatly improving all crosswalks,” he said. “This is probably the most important thing we are doing in the project is to improve pedestrian amenities here.”

The plan includes elevated intersections on Sachem, Willow, Canner, Cold Spring, Huntington and Cliff streets, and elevated crosswalks on Cottage, Highland and Ogden streets and East Rock Road. There will also be several islands in the middle lane for pedestrians.

A new feature will be flashing beacons to alert drivers of crossing pedestrians, such as those on Temple and Wall streets. They would be added at the intersections of Bradley, Lawrence, Cottage, Linden, Cold Spring, Highland, Ogden and Cliff streets, depending on the design.

Crosswalk signals will be added at Willow Street, Zinn said, and several intersections will have bumps in the parking lane.

The current design features two-way cycle lanes at the sidewalk on the west side with a parking lane between it and the traffic lane. Bike lanes could be moved to the east side, or one track could be installed in each direction, Zinn said. “It would eliminate side-street parking, although all parking on Whitney Avenue is subject to time restrictions,” he said.

Residents have long complained about the danger of crossing Whitney Avenue, especially near Worthington Hooker and St. Thomas Episcopal Schools and Edgerton Park. This is an open question on SeeClickFix since 2016.

Zinn said traffic has actually declined over the years, from almost 13,000 vehicles per day in 2006 to 11,100 in 2018. There is more traffic closer to Hamden, he said.

“Generally speaking, we see the traffic decrease a bit as we get closer to the city center,” he said. The tally in January 2021 was 6,000 due to the pandemic. This was not used to determine the plan, Zinn said.

Alder Anna Festa, D-10, said a redesigned Whitney Avenue is “desperately needed for everyone’s safety.” She said speed has long been an issue on the road at 25 mph. “Even people coming out of their aisles – people aren’t slowing down and they’re affected. “

Neil Olinski, member of New Haven Safe Streets Coalition, said speed was an issue “whenever you have a street or a highway in a city with multiple lanes. … Motorists can enter and exit traffic and accelerate. It’s not good. It is not a safe condition in the city.

He said the sidewalk-level bike lanes are “top notch in design, the kind of thing you see in a world class city.”

Lorena Mitchell, another member of the coalition, said: “I am delighted that the city has these funds and is doing something truly visionary with a major highway in New Haven. She said that “a lot of people in East Rock like to walk and cycle,” so it’s important to design streets that encourage pedestrians and cyclists.

Zinn said the $ 2.7 million construction is being funded by federal money from the local transportation improvement program. The link to join the meeting, which will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, is on the Safe Streets Coalition website. Facebook page and to

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