New Haven trying to make Whitney Ave. corner safer

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — They’re tearing up this New Haven intersection to make it safer to cross the street because there are certain rules we all learn when we’re young.

“And look both ways before you cross the road so nobody gets hurt,” said Zhanna Milani, 5. She also knows to cross in crosswalks.

That’s the problem: The corner of Whitney Avenue and Audubon Street never had a crosswalk. Three years ago, residents painted their own as a form of protest. The city power washed it away because it really wasn’t safe. Now the right changes are underway.

“The government really responded well and Yale University responded well to make this project a reality. So this is really government responding to community input,” said Doug Hausladen, New Haven’s Transportation director.

Whitney Avenue
Whitney Avenue
The city is responding with a raised intersection with crosswalks and trees. “We’re actually going to make it a green tree belt,” Hausladen said.

There will also be flashing lights marking the crosswalk, like those over on Canal Street. Yale chipped in $150,000 to help pay for it all. There’s also some psychology at work here to try to get drivers to slow down as they go through the intersection. If you extend the curb out into the street like this, drivers will instinctively slow down as they feel the roadway narrowing.

All next week, this intersection will be closed to traffic while they finish construction. Drivers should take Orange Avenue or Hillhouse Avenue instead. The construction is tough on businesses.

“I’ve felt the pinch the last two or three weeks, but hopefully, down the long run, it will definitely be worth it,” said Ray Sbrega, Pure Health Lounge Owner.

Because it should mean more foot traffic for businesses like Pure Health Lounge once people feel safe walking around. Of course, if you really want to feel safe, here’s one more tip from our expert. “You must hold your mommy and daddy’s hand before you cross the road,” Milani said.

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