Pedestrian Safety Needs Improving at West Haven VA Campus: Blumenthal

Cars have struck several pedestrians in recent years at the VA Medical Center Campus in West Haven.

In 2013, one of the pedestrians, a 69-year-old man, died from his injuries.

Senator Richard Blumenthal is putting pressure on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to do something to prevent more accidents.

“The wonder really is that more pedestrians, whether staff or veterans seeking healthcare, haven’t been harmed,” Blumenthal told NBC Connecticut.

Cars have hit at least six pedestrians at the same intersection on the VA campus, New Haven attorney Gregory Cerritelli said.

“I’m shocked and saddened quite frankly because this is a Veteran’s Affairs campus,” Cerritelli said. “These are people who have given their lives for our country, these are our elderly, these are disabled people, and they are forced again, ironically, to take their lives in their hands to go visit a hospital.”

Cerritelli is representing a doctor who was struck at the busy intersection while reporting for work in December 2014.

“She was squarely in the middle of a marked pedestrian crosswalk and was struck by a vehicle,” Cerritelli said.

After the fatality in 2013, the VA commissioned a traffic study for the facility, but Cerritelli is frustrated no improvements have been made.

“There were recommendations made about establishing a separate pedestrian walkway in that area, better illumination, better elevation so the motorists approaching the intersection can see the pedestrians,” he said. “And again, nothing was done.”

Blumenthal, the ranking member of the Senate’s Veteran’s Affairs Committee, brought these safety concerns to the head of the VA, Secretary Robert McDonald.

“I spoke to the secretary of the veterans administration and he has committed to me face-to-face that he will do what’s necessary to assure safety in this area and protect pedestrians,” Blumenthal said.

Two weeks ago, yet another pedestrian, a veteran in his late 50s was hit by a vehicle at the same intersection, Cerritelli said.

Blumenthal said he wants to see the safety improvements made as soon as possible.

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