If you’re driving or walking near the Green in downtown New Haven, take extra precaution. New Haven police are out reminding drivers and pedestrians to look out for each other in the new “Watch for Me CT” safety program.
Each year in Connecticut, more than 2,000 pedestrians and bicyclists are hit on the road, according to Watch for Me CT. Some said they need the program in downtown to keep people safe.
“It’s really hard out here being a pedestrian,” said Vanessa Diberniero, who said she’s experienced it for herself. “I’ve been hit twice on my bicycle actually and I was almost hit once by a bus one day.”
She said it’s not any better on foot.
“A crosswalk is supposed to be safe for us to walk in. It’s not,” said Diberniero.
New Haven police said Watch for Me CT will make things safer. They began Thursday, enforcing the laws for drivers, bikers and pedestrians through January.
“With New Haven particularly, it’s risky behavior,” said New Haven Sgt. Pedro Colon.
Police told NBC Connecticut pedestrians in New Haven often cross against the lights and outside of the crosswalk. If caught they’ll get a warning.
“They’re supposed to be stopped and only crossing when the walk signal is on,” said Colon. “So anyone that’s not doing that, they’ll be pulled aside and told that they’re in violation of the law.”
Barbara Ljungstrom said she sees it all the time.
“A lot of people do not pay attention to lights,” said Ljungstrom.
Some added that distractions are to blame.
“There’s not an excuse in the world why you have to be on your phone while driving,” said Joseph Boyd. “But you still have people walking across the street without looking either. I don’t care how old you get, you’ve got to pay attention.”
Police said they’ll look for those too, pulling drivers over and giving them the same warnings for now.
“We’re not looking for just fines, it’s really to change behavior,” said Colon.
Police are handing out notices now, and tickets could come next week. They also said there are plans to launch this program throughout the city.