Couple crossing busy downtown Stamford intersection hit by car; 3rd pedestrian collision there this year
Stamford police are investigating a crash that sent two pedestrians to the hospital, one of them in critical condition. It happened around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday at Broad Street and Bedford Street—the third pedestrian-involved accident there this year, according to Sgt. Jeffrey Booth.
“It's a very, very, very busy intersection with all the downtown traffic,” Booth stated.
Booth said the driver, from Pound Ridge, New York, took a left onto Bedford Street from Broad Street, hitting a husband and wife from Norwalk who were crossing Bedford. The man had minor injuries, but the woman suffered a serious head injury, according to Booth. Though the driver had a green light, the couple had a walk sign and the right of way. Police ticketed the driver for driving without a license and failure to use due care to avoid striking a pedestrian.
“The way that the lights are designed, it's a concurrent signal,” said Booth, explaining why there’s sometimes issues. “So, when the lights for east and westbound Broad are green, the pedestrian walk signals on Bedford are illuminated for pedestrians to cross.”
Drivers turning from Broad onto Bedford have a sign along with the green light to yield to pedestrians, but it doesn't always seem to happen, including in this instance.
A group of UConn Stamford students told News 12 they were not surprised to learn about the crash. Nahum Valiente, Chloe Potau and Alexis Pollock said they walk around downtown and have had their own close calls there.
“Cars are so reckless here,” Valiente said, adding you really have to pay attention even if the walk sign is on. “We just don't cross when we see any cars coming by because it’s very easy to be, like, almost run over.”
Booth attributes the issues to the influx of people in the growing city and inattentive drivers. He said the city re-engineered the intersection some years back to make it more pedestrian friendly, extending the curbs with bump-outs on each side of Bedford.
A community group called “People Friendly Stamford” said more needs to be done. On their Facebook page, the group posted about the accident, writing, “We urgently need better street design to force drivers to slow down when entering walking zones.”
Police have investigated 51 pedestrian crashes in Stamford to date this year, according to Booth. Forty-six resulted in non-fatal injuries, two were deadly and three had no injuries. Thirteen were downtown.
Stamford's Transportation Bureau Chief Frank Petise provided the following statement to News 12.
"The crash on Broad Street the other day involving two pedestrians is tragic and not something we ever want to happen in our City. The Transportation, Traffic & Parking Department's first priority is ensuring safety for all users, with an emphasis on our most vulnerable users: pedestrians. For when we make our streets safer for the most vulnerable, everyone benefits.
The Downtown has seen a wonderful increase in pedestrian activity in recent years and it is even more important to improve safety for the growing population of walkers in the area.The intersection of Atlantic/Bedford and Broad is one of the busiest intersections in Stamford for pedestrians and we are committed to making it safer. We have several projects, both short term and long term, that we'll be undertaking here. In the short term, we will analyze the existing traffic signal operations, signage, etc. and make any adjustments we can to make this intersection safer for pedestrians to cross. In the medium term, the traffic signal at Atlantic/Bedford and Broad will be replaced with completely new equipment including the latest safety technology, this project will be in construction in 2023. In the long term, our department is currently undertaking design for a corridor reconstruction of Broad Street between and including the intersections of Atlantic/Bedford and Greyrock Place. This project is being funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation's Local Road Accident Reduction Program grant and seeks to create a safer more complete street by integrating bump outs, potentially protected bike lanes, narrowed travel lanes, and other roadway design interventions. We believe with all of these improvements safety will increase on Broad Street. This Project is currently in the design phase. We also have the raised intersection project Atlantic and Main Street which is funded by the LOTCIP grant that the City received from the State. We will also be investing in the full Atlantic Street corridor when we build this project to make Atlantic Street a complete street from Tresser up to the intersection with Broad Street, this project is in the early design phase as well. We believe these projects will build off of the other investments the City has made to make our transportation network safer in the Downtown as well as the entire City.
The City of Stamford is committed to improving roadway safety for our residents and visitors. We take this issue very seriously and thank you for reaching out about this issue."