No One Ran The Light

Uma Ramiah PhotoFor at least 20 minutes on Friday evening, no one ran a red light at the corner of Church and Chapel Streets downtown.

It may have been all those human red lights, on a mission.

“We’re here because we’ve noticed a problem in New Haven, where drivers run red lights pretty frequently,” said Juli Stupakevich (pictured), who organized a “Red Means Stop” protest at that intersection. “Red just doesn’t mean stop anymore.”

Stupakevich pulled together the event to draw attention to the danger of cars running red lights. “There are people who live and work down here and cross these streets all the time,” she said.

“It’s not worth putting people’s lives at risk to save a few seconds.”

Stupakevich, a safe streets activist and bartender at Prime 16, flooded the Chapel and Church intersection on Friday night at 5:30 with 10 other protesters. It wasn’t the turnout she’d hoped for, she said.

“But this will be first of many events like this, I think.”

The demonstrators carried signs reading, “Red Means Stop,” and crossed the busy corner at every four way walk sign. Some drivers honked, most just stared.

But no one ran a light.

The protest, associated with the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition and the Elm City Cycling Club, also aimed to highlight a bill moving through state legislature that would allow cities to use red light cameras to catch people running traffic lights.

“This is the eighth year the bill has been up for consideration,” said Doug Hausladen, a real estate property manager who lives downtown. “But it’s making progress. It’s not going to die this year,” he said.

Next protest? Maybe a stoplight bar crawl, he suggested. 

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Comments

posted by: john on April 11, 2011  8:27am

AMEN. Also, turn signals are not optional. And “yield” means “let the other person go.”

posted by: res. on April 11, 2011  8:53am

Also, most people completely ignore the white striped pedestrian crossings even with the yellow signs in the middle.  Maybe one in 10 cars stop while you are waiting to cross at these areas.  I know the cross walks at Olive and Court and Chapel at the Wooster Square park are especially bad.

posted by: anon on April 11, 2011  8:59am

Great to see engaged citizens drawing attention to important issues like these. 

Does anyone know why, according to the NHI’s crime log, the police department is now issuing 1/4 the number of motor vehicle tickets per month that they were the past two years?  Can the NHPD and Mayor’s Office confirm this is the case?

posted by: Noteworthy on April 11, 2011  9:07am

Good for the protest/reminder: Bad for the Big Brother cameras which are being portrayed as a safety not a revenue issue.

Ironically, many of these same people appear to be crossing kitty corner in the box as many people do, to save a few extra seconds when they should be walking in the designated cross walks running corner to corner. Goose vs. gander; pot vs kettle come to mind.

posted by: UnBaPtIzEd on April 11, 2011  9:17am

Thanks for doing this!!!

I support NH cops and truly appreciate what they do everyday for our community BUT I see many of them that need to also be reminded of the laws which they uphold, i.e. using turn signals, not talking on cell phones while driving (isn’t that what patrol car radios are for?), etc.  They need to remember that they are the role models of the community.

posted by: UnBaPtIzEd on April 11, 2011  9:28am

Noteworthy:  In response to the second half of your reply - I’ll cross kitty corner if the opportunity arises, just because I don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the road when the light turns green and the horses are off!  Besides, a lot of the crosswalk buttons in NH don’t work, i.e. S. Frontage and Park - it’s been jammed for months… and the walk sign aren’t even angled correctly on one corner, so that you can see it. 

Are you saying people that run red lights cross kitty corner?  That makes no sense…  There’s no argument or correlation between people running lights and people crossing kitty corner.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 11, 2011  9:39am

How about Jay Walking.Look at what these people
say.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrFTEPeo3mo

How about the bikers runing red lights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lm9TPym9A4&feature=related

How come yale police will not do this to tere students.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SypH_CdheoI

posted by: wanted to participate on April 11, 2011  9:39am

so how did this work?  when the light turned red these people would go out into the street?  there’s no concern about safety?  since they’re protesting people running red lights, wouldn’t there be a concern that they’re going to get run over?  and wasn’t everyone supposed to wear red? also, is a bar crawl really the best idea?  drunk people stumbling into the crosswalk right when the light turns red?

pardon my confusion…

posted by: mitch on April 11, 2011  10:00am

now let’s get the majority of bicyclists downtown to adhere to the same rules.  and have them stay off sidewalks, and pay attention to cars and people around them.

posted by: Pedro Soto on April 11, 2011  10:32am

What a great event.

For the people harping about cyclists running red lights—IT’S NOT THE SAME ISSUE.

Yes, bicycles are considered vehicles and are subject to the same rules, and there should be enforcement, but to put the two on the same field is ludicrous.

From 1999-2009, 7,600 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in the United States.

From 1999-2009 26 pedestrians were killed by cyclist collisions in the United States.

So you are comparing the the cause of death of about 760 people yearly, to the cause of under 3.

posted by: Amanda Durante on April 11, 2011  10:32am

This is great.  I will support the bill.
I have also noticed people frequently going right on red without stopping (and inspite of a No Turn On Red sign).

posted by: Jacki on April 11, 2011  10:47am

Let’s do this on streets around the Air Rights Garage at all the corners. Red lights are always ignored there, especially by speeding vehicles.

posted by: William Kurtz on April 11, 2011  10:51am

Just as a point of fact, I believe when the walk signal is four-ways, it’s entirely legal to cross kitty-corner. 

Some intersections—Church and Elm comes to mind—have a more complicated schedule for when they can be crossed wholly or in sections.  Four-lane, one-way, mini-highways don’t make it easy.  Honestly, trying to walk across the street in some places downtown is like plotting a transatlantic ocean voyage. 

Always funny to see the predictable “make the cyclists and walkers” follow the same rules responses popping up.  Yes, everyone should follow the rules as they are and take responsibility for their own safety when it’s likely that others aren’t, but show me the 40,000 people killed each year in cycling crashes or walking accidents, who weren’t killed in collisions with automobiles.  Priorities, people.  Priorities.

posted by: streever on April 11, 2011  10:55am

Pedro Soto makes a noteworthy point.

Great work by these activists! I’m really excited to see people coalescing around common goals and a better society.

posted by: JP on April 11, 2011  11:32am

Not that it’s at all relevant but no its not legal to cross kitty-corner ever.

posted by: William Kurtz on April 11, 2011  11:53am

I concede that I am not an expert in the nuances of the law regarding pedestrians. 

It would be enlightening to have some clarification of this statute (http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/pub/Chap249.htm#Sec14-300b.htm) by someone who is an expert:

Sec. 14-300b. . . .

    (b) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by a pedestrian-control signal or police officer. When authorized by a pedestrian-control signal or police officer to cross an intersection diagonally each pedestrian shall cross only in accordance with such signals or as directed by such police officer. No pedestrian shall cross a roadway between adjacent intersections at which traffic or pedestrian-control signals are in operation except within a marked crosswalk.


Emphasis mine.  It seems that this would apply at an intersection where the walk-signal is on at all four corners.

posted by: anon on April 11, 2011  12:08pm

William:

We need more pedestrian scrambles, also known as diagonal crosswalks, here.

Here is an example of what they look like:

http://communities.canada.com/montrealgazette/blogs/metropolitannews/archive/2009/09/21/doing-it-diagonally-or-how-to-fix-the-pedestrian-scramble-at-peel-and-ste-catherine.aspx

Unfortunately, virtually all of our decision makers drive cars everywhere. So they may not even remotely appreciate what it is like to be young, elderly, disabled, or too poor to own a car, and forced to use infrastructure that prioritizes car travel over all other people (who make up the majority of our city’s population).

Until that changes, this city is stuck in the doldrums.

posted by: Westville Advocate on April 11, 2011  12:15pm

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could do a city-wide day of this get people from each neighborhood on board to stand at all the awful intersections around the city!?

Maybe a Flash Mob Red Light Day???

Anyone?

posted by: doug hausladen on April 11, 2011  1:03pm

@westville advocate - i would be up for another event! and we could use @jacki’s suggestion of route 34 for the downtown neighborhood -

what would be other intersections people would suggest if a larger event like this were planned?

kudos to @j_u_l_i for organizing this event. i really appreciated the timing - 5:30pm - during rush hour to hit home the message the loudest.

posted by: Ellis Copeland on April 11, 2011  1:12pm

Not long after being sent to this godless hell called CT I realized that the traffic lights here do not mean what they mean everywhere else in America.  And it isn’t just New Haven—it’s the whole state.
Green does not mean go—it means sit here and pick yourself for 30 seconds
Yellow does not mean slow down—it means punch it if you want to make this light
Red does not mean stop—it means you have 30 seconds to clear this light while the guy with the green picks himself

posted by: vc man on April 11, 2011  1:27pm

The CT General Statutes allow the police to talk on cell phones while driving. Also, sometimes we have to violate traffic laws in the performance of our duties…

posted by: John Fitzpatrick on April 11, 2011  1:46pm

I’m really curious whether it’s legal to cross the intersection diagonally if there are walk signals in both directions because I do it all the time, so I posted it to SeeClickFix in the hope that somebody from the Department of Traffic, Transportation, and Parking will provide an authoritative answer:

http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/94340-walking-across-an-intersection-diagonally

posted by: blue dog dem on April 11, 2011  2:24pm

Great logic: if you are not one of the “less than 3 people” getting killed by a bicyclist each year while they disobey traffic laws, you really shouldn’t mind them running the light or knocking you over on the side walk.  At least it wasn’t a godforsaken auto that killed your ____ (fill in the blank). I’m sure it’s of great relief to the families of the deceased that their loved one died a “green” death.

posted by: Morris Cove Mom on April 11, 2011  2:58pm

Love this idea.  If they could come over here, to the corner of Fort Hale and Hyde, or Fort Hale and Townsend, they could help with the red light and stop signs, too.  STOP means stop.  Not speed up, like the taxis do, or pause for a millisecond, like the moms and dads do.  We need more personal responsibility.  These nice folks shouldn’t need to do this, ever.

posted by: YNHHemployee on April 11, 2011  2:58pm

York and Frontage is one of the scariest intersections for this kind of violation.  4-5 cars blatantly ignore the red light, flying through it far into the light change. When the female doctor was killed at that intersection a few years ago this intersection became a hot bed of controversy, but no one seems to care anymore. I have seen some disconcerting close calls with pedestrians.  It is only a matter of time that someone is killed again, sad to say.

posted by: John Fitzpatrick on April 11, 2011  3:17pm

The Department of Traffic, Transportation, and Parking replied to the SeeClickFix post in under half an hour. It seems that it is NOT legal to walk diagonally across intersections. Read the entire reply here:

http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/94340-walking-across-an-intersection-diagonally

posted by: nfjanette on April 11, 2011  3:19pm

For the people harping about cyclists running red lights—IT’S NOT THE SAME ISSUE.

IT IS THE SAME ISSUE.  The issue is compliance with traffic signaling and with motor laws - heck, with laws in general.  Those who continue to argue against enforcement for cyclists and pedestrians undermine the credibility of their arguments.  Further, traffic may consist of complex interactions of vehicles and pedestrians.  Illegal actions do not always take place in a vacuum; the impact of a motor vehicle swerving to avoid a cyclist or pedestrian is just as potentially dangerous as any single vehicle running a light.  Consider the dynamic of multiple vehicle accidents to understand why the actions of cyclists and pedestrians sharing the road with motor vehicles must be a part of any complete safety solution.

posted by: anon on April 11, 2011  3:24pm

YNHH: The city and ConnDOT certainly don’t care, considering that they are redoing the road in ways that will continue to encourage speeds in excess of 40 or even 50 miles per hour, even after promising to try to limit speeds to less than half that. 

Even though thousands of alternative roadway design guides have been published, giving more progressive engineering options to the cities that do not want to design their streets the same way that rural/suburban areas do, nobody in our engineering/DPW/planning/ConnDOT offices seem to take notice.  Ironically, even the Hospital does not seem to care (perhaps they benefit from the injuries, and the indirect impacts of deadly streets, such as obesity/diabetes).

So, bottom line is, the injuries and deaths of many more residents will be on their hands.  Just look at the injury history in the YNHH area.  This is a once in a 50 year opportunity for YNHH and the City to get things right, but we’re about to see it squandered.

posted by: William Kurtz on April 11, 2011  3:28pm

No one serious is suggesting that pedestrians and cyclists should be exempt from the traffic laws and it’s disingenuous to suggest otherwise, Mr. Janette. 

It’s good to hear from you again, BDD, even if the best you have to offer is a grossly distorted caricature of Mr. Soto’s point.

posted by: blue dog dem on April 11, 2011  3:37pm

@WK

It’s good to be back.  Hope the new year is treating you well.  And BTW dead is dead, no matter what hits you.  I don’t think you can over-exaggerate or be more than just dead.  I’ve had more close calls with bikes than I’ve had with cars as a pedestrian, but sympathize with anyone who has the misfortune of being on foot against any moving vehicle in this city.

posted by: nfjanette on April 11, 2011  3:51pm

Mr. Kurtz, I’m on point and after you, Mr. Soto, and anyone else that is missing - deliberately or otherwise - the point that traffic enforcement must be universal for all users of the road for the reasons I’ve clearly noted.  The attempt to relegate such universal enforcement was noted and addressed specifically with argument - unlike your reply, for example.  Exactly what do you find “funny” about the fact that most of the traffic deaths in this city in the past few years were indisputably caused by pedestrian behavior?  What could be more relevant than the specific behavior that has lead to deaths - not in theory, but in reality?

posted by: William Kurtz on April 11, 2011  3:58pm

So far, so good. For you as well, I hope.

Anyway, I agree with the point about the individual results being the same but as I have said before, the line is improperly drawn when it’s drawn between motorists and cyclists/pedestrians.  Or when each of the three is in his own little box.  The distinction is more usefully made when it’s between safe, responsible and courteous users of the streets and those who are reckless, irresponsible and often rude. 

However, it’s also disingenuous to suggest that scofflaw cyclists present a danger to life or a threat to order on anything near the scale of scofflaw motorists.  For one thing, many people who ride on the sidewalk (thus endangering walkers) do so because of the widely-held perception that riding in the street is dangerous, a perception continually reinforced by readily-observable behaviors.  So by Mr. Janette’s logic, the reckless driver creates the reckless cyclist, who then darts unpredictably off the sidewalk into the street and creates the swerving motorist, who then presents a danger to the pedestrian crossing the street.  Really, you have to consider the dynamic of multiple vehicle accidents to understand why the actions of cyclists and pedestrians sharing the road with motor vehicles must be a part of any complete safety solution.

posted by: streever on April 11, 2011  3:58pm

nfjanette:
Most deaths were caused by pedestrian behavior?
That is an odd fact, because it has been conclusively proven that when cars drive slower, people don’t die.

Roads are shared spaces. I’ve gotten the impression from many of your postings that you disagree, and think that cars should have priority. That is fine, but it is quite a leap to say “pedestrians cause deaths”.

posted by: William Kurtz on April 11, 2011  4:22pm

You’re confusing cause, fault, and blame, which are often conflated when talking about traffic crashes but are separate concepts that need to be examined individually if an analysis is going to be at all meaningful and lead to useful change.

“Blame” is a moralistic idea; it’s really useful only when passing judgment, for whatever purpose.

“Fault” is a legal matter.  Nature and law abhor vacuums, and therefore rules exist to try to clearly identify who is at “fault” in any conceivable scenario.  Sometimes these rules are simple and have a certain elegance in the way they clearly describe one’s responsibility.  For example, in a multiple-car crash, if a car is rear-ended and pushed into the car in front, the driver of the middle-car may be found “at fault” if it was determined he was following (or stopped) too close to the one in front. 

The problem with “fault” is that the rules and laws are often stacked against the most vulnerable users of the streets.  As Anon mentioned above, a lot of the decision-makers drive or are driven everywhere that matters.  There are lots of accommodations made for the way drivers do behave, even when it’s at odds with how they should behave.  Four-lane, one-way, high-speed downtown highways, with posted speed limits of 25 mph for one.  Conversely, there’s almost no provision made for the way pedestrians can be expected to behave.  Exhibit A: the foolishness of expecting a person to cross kitty-corner at right-angles.

So fault has its place when you’re looking for a large damage award but “cause” is really the ball to keep your eye on and the problem with identifying the causes of a crash is that they’re messy to unravel and they don’t lend themselves to being identified “indisputably.”

Take the the archetypal case of the pedestrian dashing out into the road and getting hit.  The fault may be easy to determine—and blaming the pedestrian makes it easy and lets everyone off the hook but complex events have complex causes and in a case like this, more questions have to be asked: how fast was the driver going?  What constitutes due diligence when operating a dangerous piece of machinery in a crowded environment, and was it being exercised? (think of that as the Spiderman principle: with great power comes great responsibility)  What was everyone involved paying attention to?  What is the layout of the physical space implicitly encouraging you to do?

posted by: blue dog dem on April 11, 2011  4:28pm

@WK

I wasn’t really trying to be disingenuous, but do find it amusing that many riders have a holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to ownership of the road.  If I had to assign blame for accidents, it would be 70/20/10 for cars, bikes and peds.  Whether its good for them, the environment or whatever, they should obey the rules or suffer the consequences.  Unfortunately traffic laws aren’t enfored for vehicles, so they probably never will be for bikes or peds.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 11, 2011  4:40pm

Boston wants to increase fines on red-light-running bicyclists; bicyclists outraged
By adamg - 1/26/11 - 8:04 am

http://www.universalhub.com/2011/boston-wants-increase-fines-red-light-running-bicy

Need this here.

Transportation
Hit by cars, pedestrians are ticketed in hospital

http://www.grist.org/transportation/2011-03-02-hit-by-cars-pedestrians-are-ticketed-in-hospital-video

posted by: blue dog dem on April 11, 2011  4:46pm

@WK

great post

posted by: streever on April 11, 2011  4:48pm

3/5th, et all:
Why should the city spend time & resources cracking down on bicycle scofflaws?

The vast majority of deaths and injuries are caused by the vast majority of road users—drivers. The number of automobile accidents vastly outweighs the sheer scale and scope of accidents that do not involve automobiles.

Speeding cars and dangerous road conditions contribute to a general sense of danger, lower housing values, and have drastic impacts on the overall quality of living in the city.

Do you honestly think the city should focus on a much smaller and minor series of issues, ignoring a much larger and far more dangerous issue, or are you just trying to stir the pot?

posted by: robn on April 11, 2011  4:56pm

BILL,

Unless I’m wrong, there are no crossing signals facing diagonally across an intersection in New Haven; so at most intersections with crosswalk signals, one is required to walk orthagonally to each corner.

posted by: Pedro Soto on April 11, 2011  5:00pm

Streever has it right.
I’d like to re-reiterate the point I made earlier-

The car-pedestrian interaction is orders-of-magnitude more dangerousn than the cyclist-pedestrian interaction- or cyclist-car for that matter).

Yes, cyclist enforcement should occur, but motorists crying for equal enforcement are missing the point.

The bicycle’s impact on the quality of life on a city for health and safety is far less than the impact that cars have.

Cyclist enforcement basically amounts to the assertion that cyclists are somehow getting away with something that drivers are not, and people cry for a proper “law and order response” for these evil cyclists.


If the amounts of injuries and fatalities caused by cyclists were anywhere near the numbers that cars caused, then I’d cry for devoting equal amounts of money and resources on enforcement, but they are not even in the same ballpark.

posted by: Pedro Soto on April 11, 2011  5:02pm

PS- Major props to robn for using “orthagonally” in a New Haven Independent debate.

posted by: nfjanette on April 11, 2011  6:12pm

I’d like to see a simple, honest admission from the cycling cabal folks posting that they regularly break traffic laws and believe they should not face legal action for it.  Common, stop writing in general terms - admit that you run red lights and think it’s OK that you do so.  Then, at least, the debate will be honest.  I don’t think it’s OK for any users of the road to break the rules and I live that ideal as best I can - yeah, I’m the guy waiting for the pedestrian signals downtown when everyone else is stepping out in front of traffic, just like I try not to blow red lights when driving, which sometimes hard with short yellow cycles even when driving at (near) the speed limit.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 11, 2011  8:22pm

posted by: streever on April 11, 2011 4:48pm
3/5th, et all:
Why should the city spend time & resources cracking down on bicycle scofflaws?

And why not.Every one should be held to the law.I see people riding Bikes and talking on there cell phones.Why is it that the cell phone law will not cover them.But you will give me a ticket if I am on a cell phone while driving.

The vast majority of deaths and injuries are caused by the vast majority of road users—drivers. The number of automobile accidents vastly outweighs the sheer scale and scope of accidents that do not involve automobiles


My postion is jaywalkers,Drivers and cyclist should all be give tickets for breaking the law for running and crossing against the red light.

posted by: HenryH on April 11, 2011  9:33pm

If Juli’s idea is that the cameras will stop the impaired drivers she generates at her bartending job from running through intersections, she’s mistaken.  All the cameras will do is take pictures of the crashes.  The way to stop a lot of crashes?  Close some of the bars.

As you read the pro-camera comments here, keep in mind that there’s Astroturf Lobbying by the camera Industry.  For them, it wasn’t enough to have fake research outfits like the IIHS churning out “studies” favoring the cameras, so they hired some PR firms to try to manufacture a fake grassroots movement via comments their employees post on news articles like this one. (Google Rynski and Astroturf.) The politicians read the web, assume the pro-cam comments represent genuine public support, so they vote to OK cameras.  Politicians are easily fooled:  They want to be, so that they can, with a clear conscience, take the Industry’s campaign donations.  But don’t you be fooled.

posted by: William Kurtz on April 11, 2011  10:50pm

Robn:  I know I haven’t seen a diagonal facing walk light in my memory.  With all respect to whoever crafted that answer from New Haven Traffic and Parking, I kind of have a difficult time believing it was ever standard practice to have them in wide use.  Wouldn’t you need three separate signals on each corner?  The statute I linked to above is a state one; it would be enlightening to get some follow-up from a state official.  I am not sure I know who would speak with an authoritative voice on such matters.  Perhaps, if I was a journalist, I would make some phone calls while drinking my morning coffee.  Inquiring minds wants to know!

Mr. Janette, And to think I thought I was the only one who waited for those signals and stopped at crosswalks.  You didn’t bother to clarify whether “almost” means “just below” or “just above” the posted speed limit.”  My guess is just over (which exponentially increases the odds you will kill or seriously injure a pedestrian in a crash) and since you’ve confessed to your own loose interpretation of traffic law, I will give you mine.  Speaking for myself as an individual, and not for the rest of the members of the secret cycling cabal that controls western civilization, I sometimes go through red lights.  To use a local example, when riding up Orange and stopping for the light at Edwards—if there are two or three cars waiting on Edwards, I sometimes stop and wait for them to pass and then, with no drivers on Edwards between Whitney and State (both of which are visible from the corner) I will sometimes go through without waiting for the green.  I don’t do it at the head of a group and I don’t do it in front of moving drivers, when it would create confusion. 

Boy, it feels good to get that off my chest.  But I am willing to face the legal action.  In fact, I think if you and I turn ourselves in together, we can get some kind of 2-for-1 deal on bail. If we vouch for each other, we can probably get RORed.  When’s good for you?

posted by: Claudia Herrera on April 11, 2011  10:56pm

My son is 14 years old and he’s driving me crazy with the idea of take the ride his bicycle to go to school.I strongly support the idea of less people behind wheels.

MY Problems is the irresponsible drivers who don’t care about SAFETY and I really think they act completely careless forgetting easily that those pedestrians are parents and somebody ales kids.

If cameras are not the solution what a bout a zero tolerance of high fines to those who run red lights?

posted by: Nh resident on April 11, 2011  11:13pm

The cameras don’t work.  They are just another source of revenue for the city to waste.

Something needs to be done about the people running lights (like cops that witness it should pull people over,and they should stop running lights themselves… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a cop on his cell running a light.).

That said, the gratuitous jay walking needs to stop too.  Every single time I come to the corner of broadway and York, there are pedestrians that try to jump out into the street on the “don’t walk”.  Driving down whalley, you have to dodge the idiots in the street and they look at you like you should stop for them.  Pedestrians must obey signals, they must only cross at crosswalks or corner to corner and they must not impede traffic.  Aside from the law, they also have to look out for their own safety.

posted by: doug hausladen on April 12, 2011  4:37am

found this: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Suffolk-Releases—119629754.html

cops enforcing the law isn’t the answer in dense urban environments - in new haven the PD are told NOT to chase red light runners specifically b/c enforcing the law would be more dangerous to pedestrians than it is deemed worthy.

i know that doesn’t make much sense - but think about how a PD officer would enforce a red light violation - by following through the intersection after the light has changed.

so we’re stuck. wanting more enforcement but not being able to use the PD.

posted by: robn on April 12, 2011  8:37am

BILL,

I think the statute is pretty clear.
The only way you can be “authorized by a pedestrian-control signal ... to cross an intersection diagonally” is if the signal is facing diagonally. Thats why that sentence continues to say that “each pedestrian shall cross only in accordance with such signals”. It also goes further and says, “No pedestrian shall cross a roadway between adjacent intersections at which traffic or pedestrian-control signals are in operation except within a marked crosswalk.” When’s the last time you saw white painted stripes going diagonally across an intersection?

posted by: HenryH on April 12, 2011  9:33am

Doug:
To arrest red light runners, it is not necessary for cops to (dangerously) “follow through the intersection after the light has changed.”  Instead, they station themselves on the far side (downstream) of the intersection and use a “rat box” (Google the term) to tell when the light has gone red.  When someone runs the light, they wave them over.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on April 12, 2011  11:01am

I don’t really have much to add to what has already been posted, but I feel left out so I’ll post anyways.

The law should be changed so that it is legal to cross the street diagonally when both walk signals are on.

Although following every law doesn’t necessarily mean that you are therefore doing what is safest, considering that laws aren’t perfect, let’s agree that it makes sense to enforce the laws for everyone - pedestrians and cyclist included. However, resources should never be diverted from the enforcement of traffic laws for cars to the enforcement of traffic laws for pedestrians and cyclists because enforcement should be proportional based on the risk and frequency of injury, not on the faux political correctness of distributing enforcement resources equally amongst road users regardless of other factors like vehicle size, speed ability, and sheer numbers of vehicles.

I also disagree with the premise that cyclists disobeying traffic laws pose a threat on the same level as vehicle scofflaws because it could lead to cars swerving to get out of the way. Can anyone point to a road in New Haven that is legal for cyclists to bike on that also has a speed limit high enough to allow for cars to get up to the speed required to spin out? My guess is that if a car swerves out of the way of a cyclists and 1) cannot stop in time or 2) cannot prevent from spinning out, that driver likely wasn’t going the speed limit.

posted by: doug hausladen on April 12, 2011  11:08am

@HenryH

i’m just quoting the city of new haven’s administration and the new haven police department’s policies - i don’t write the policies nor administer them -

anytime in the past when i have advocated for increased enforcement or sting operations, the reason against doing so has always been the safety concerns from enforcing red light violations. i tried to pull up the testimony from 2010 of Chief Lewis, but couldn’t find it. i found this quote from Asst Chief Gillespie:

http://newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/coalition_to_push_for_red-light_cameras/
Asst. Chief Gillespie said that it can be difficult for police to catch red-light-runners at intersections like the corner of College and North Frontage. “If you look at the intersection behind you,” Gillespie said, “there’s no place I can safely position a police officer to monitor this intersection for red light violations.”

the rat boxes seem interesting - and a good tool. perhaps NHPD hasn’t seen them before or our signal devices aren’t up to snuff to use technology that is tapped in. i think they’re an interesting solution - though would still require a police officer to enforce (and departmental support).

posted by: robn on April 12, 2011  11:43am

http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/dc-tests-new-diagonal-pedestrian-crossing-downtown

DC did a pilot test of diagonal crosswalks in May of last year and it was supposed to last 9 months…wonder how it turned out?

It would be nice to have them downtown.

posted by: Erin Gustafson on April 12, 2011  12:02pm

I think this exercise was an excellent way to get the attention of drivers and bikers alike in a safe way. I was only sorry I had to work so late and missed it! It’s hard to believe that education is needed to remind people that “Red Means Stop” but clearly that is what’s needed. So why not make this a regular thing: the pedestrian equivalent of the Critical Mass bike rides for cyclist safety. New intersections:

Elm and York
Elm and Temple
Elm and Church

Notice a theme there? And beyond the immediate downtown area, but still with a large pedestrian population in danger from red-light runners:

Trumbull and Orange
Trumbull and Whitney
Orange and Grove
York and Crown
The entire York and Connector section

That’s just off the top of my head. There are so many places and so much education that needs to take place, we could do this regularly all summer!

Things will not improve until we all treat each other with common courtesy on the roads (and dare I say on NHI comment threads?). But this is a great way to get that started. Thanks for the idea Juli!

posted by: Cartman on April 14, 2011  11:21am

People who ride their bikes drunk into oncoming traffic while flipping the bird to law abiding commuters should not be allowed to discuss issues concerning laws or bicyclist rights. At the very least he should have an * next to his name

posted by: streever on April 14, 2011  11:31am

Cartman:
everyone makes mistakes. That was the only time I’d ridden my bicycle drunk in 2 years when it happened, and it was a bad judgement call on my part. If you can find habitual evidence of me riding a bicycle drunk, perhaps you can make that declaration.

The person behind me was not abiding by the law according to any of the witnesses, so I am not sure where you got that information. Were you that person? According to witnesses, he was honking his horn and flashing his lights at me as I was prepared for a legal left hand turn. The police did not test his BAC nor did they factor in to the accident his involvement in determining fault.

Ultimately, you may feel that my statements are without merit, but my posts on this issue are entirely factual and do not rely on my identity or personality. What are you basing your statements on?