New Haven’s South Frontage Road to get safety improvements

Safety project to improve New Haven's South Frontage Road
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 7:12 PM EST
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - A high traveled road through one of Connecticut’s biggest and busiest cities is in line for a makeover.

The work set for South Frontage Road in New Haven is designed not just to improve safety, but also save lives.

Every day thousands drive through in downtown New Haven to get to I-95 or I-91.

With so much traffic, there have been plenty of accidents in the area over the years, including some that have been deadly.

The city has already made some safety improvements, like posts to protect pedestrians waiting to cross. More changes are on the way.

“When I’m crossing this crosswalk here. Even though it says walk, I’m still going to wait until I see every car stopped,” said Jeffery Turner of New Haven.

Turner said trying to get across South Frontage Road during his daily walks downtown can be daunting.

“It’s a little dangerous, even with the signs and the crosswalks, people still turn these corners. It’s like car, human, car, human,” said Turner.

Now the Elm City is looking improve this stretch of road that not only sees 17,000 to 18,000 cars drive through each day but add in plenty of pedestrians as well.

“We’ve had three tragic deaths here over the last decade or so at this intersection. Since the beginning of 2020 we’ve had 163 crashes in this stretch,” said Giovanni Zinn, City of New Haven Engineer.

Using $1.5 million in state funding, New Haven plans on raising the intersections on South Frontage, at Howard, Park, and York Streets. The corners will be bumped out, essentially shortening the crosswalks and the amount of time pedestrians are in the road.

“Looking to bring vehicle speeds down. I think a lot of people are trying to get to the highway. It’s not a highway yet, you’re still in the middle of a city,” said Zinn. “Doing a raised intersection, here and also further back so there is a corridor of traffic calming effects where people aren’t racing through here.”

Zinn said additional car blocking bollards will be added to the intersections, along with a bike lane, separated by a curb and a complete sidewalk along the Air Rights Garage.

A separate project will also make a stretch of York Street two ways in order to improve visibility.

It’s a set of improvements that Turner said is long overdue.

“I love it, that would be a much safer area right here,” said Turner.

The plan is for the city to finish the designs and approval process this year, with construction starting in the Spring of 2024.