Dixwell Avenue is the main artery between New Haven and Hamden. Thousands of cars travel that road each day, and according to recent data, pedestrians need to use extra caution.
Hamden police say Dixwell Avenue was the site of 45% of Hamden’s motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians who were injured last year. People familiar with the area have seen the dangers.
“People tend to not cross at the light. They’ll take a shot every now and then, and motorists are too impatient,” said Reggie Higgins, Sr. of Hamden.
Flowing at a constant, brisk rate of speed, multiple lanes of traffic streaming in opposite directions make up Dixwell Avenue. It’s busy for motorists and somewhat daunting for pedestrians trying to cross the road.
“Sometimes I have to thrust back, like you have to be careful,” said Annette Aiken, who was walking Wednesday on the sidewalk adjacent to Dixwell.
The incidents haven’t only been on Dixwell. Hamden police say that in 2020 it investigated 31 motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians who received injuries. That represents a 10% jump from 2019. Police say many have occurred at night.
“People are not wearing reflective equipment or caring a flashlight and they’re not walking in well-lit areas,” explained Capt. Ronald Smith of the Hamden Police Department.
In addition to being careful at night police want people to avoid using their cell phones when crossing the street. Hamden police say they investigated multiple incidents last year where a pedestrian was looking at their phone, crossing the street, when they were hit by a car. That includes one fatality.
For safety reason, police suggest the following:
- Use the sidewalk, if available.
- Cross at the corner.
- Avoid crossing the street between parked vehicles.
- Avoid distractions
- Use a crosswalk.
“When you don’t cross in the crosswalk that’s a violation,” added Smith.
Meanwhile those who live here seem to understand, Dixwell Avenue, by nature, is a place where caution is necessary.
“I don’t think it’s by any fault of the people who designed it, it’s just that so many people use it,” said Higgins Sr.