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Another pedestrian killed in New Haven: What the city is doing to try and fix the problem

Someone was hit and killed on Sherman Parkway on Wednesday. It's a known problem area to city leaders.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — So far this year, at least six people have died from pedestrian fatalities in Connecticut. Two of those tragedies occurred in New Haven, with one of them happening at 3 a.m. Wednesday on Sherman Parkway. 

"Something has to be done here. Because clearly, people are losing their lives," said Laura Chambers, who has lived on Sherman Parkway for 10 years. 

On Feb. 1, New Haven Police said someone was hit near the corner of Sherman Pkwy and W. Division Street. They said a passerby reported a male was on the ground. When officers got there, they found him in the middle of the roadway near the double yellow line. He was unconscious and suffering from significant injuries. He was rushed to Yale New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

Police said they couldn't find a car involved or any witnesses to the crash. They have not released the name of the victim just yet, as their investigation continues. 

However, it's not the first time a life was lost on the same stretch of roadway. In December 2021, 17-year-old Camryn Gayle was killed in a one-car crash.

Chambers' family was impacted by her death. This loss of life hurts, too. 

"It just makes me nervous because, it's like, okay, well if I want to cross the street, will I be able to do that? If I parked here, is that okay? If kids sit here and wait for their buses because these are bus stops, are they going to be safe," Chambers said.

Chambers said she's witnessed several crashes on her street, and on two occasions, someone even crashed right into her home back in 2021. They totaled her car that she's never replaced. It's to the point where her insurance installed metal barriers in front of her home. 

"It just really bothers me and it feels like, it's a problem that keeps getting overlooked. And it seems like, how many people have to lose their lives before something is done about how this street is driven on," Chambers said.

But the problem, city leaders say, is not being overlooked. The city has plans to make changes to Sherman Pwky.

"We're finishing up design, and working through all of the approval processes on the funding, to do traffic calming on this street," said Giovanni Zinn, the City Engineer for New Haven.

Zinn said after Gayle's death in 2021, they got a grant to invest $2.6 million into making changes to the infrastructure of Sherman Pkwy. Along with narrowing the road, they'll be making it better for bikers and walkers, creating raised intersections, adding crosswalks, and flashing lights. 

And it doesn't stop there. The city is following a larger plan, called Vision Zero, where they hope to one day have zero deaths on their streets. 

"Every instance of death and injury on our roadway is a tragedy, you know it's heartbreaking and it's something that keeps us up at night," Zinn said.

By the spring, Zinn will be submitting their plans for Sherman Pkwy to the Department of Transportation.

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On top of that, Mayor Justin Elicker is pushing the state to allow them to install red-light cameras.

"The state does not allow cities to install red light cameras, automated traffic enforcement. Advocates and I have been pushing for years for the state to just let us use this technology," Elicker said. 

Advocates across Connecticut are calling on the legislature to make it happen. On Monday, there was an all-day hearing, where people pushed for it. 

But, Elicker said cameras alone, won't solve the problem.

"We've got to have personal responsibility, too. people have to stop looking at their phones, stop speeding, it's just not important enough. You're going to kill someone," Elicker said. 

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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