Safety Matters: Learn About the Safety Circuit Rider Team

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Learn About the Safety Circuit Rider Team

On October 1, 2022, the Safety Circuit Rider (SCR) program will begin a five-year reauthorization. The T2 Center is very pleased to have this opportunity to continue our good work with local Connecticut agencies. Since we have many new members of our Public Works, Engineering and Local Traffic Authority community, we wanted to reintroduce you to our SCR Program and our terrific team of professionals!

Why Are We Doing This Work?

Of the 21,000 miles of roadway in Connecticut, 82% are maintained by local municipal agencies. Over 50% of the serious and fatal injury crashes that occur in the state happen on these local roadways. To make significant progress in reducing the number of crashes, serious injuries, and fatalities in Connecticut, the safety along local roadways needs to improve.

The SCR Team

The Safety Circuit Rider (SCR) team includes Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, Lisa Knight, Educational Program Coordinator and Donna Shea, Executive Program Coordinator.

Services We Provide

The (SCR) program is designed to provide safety-related information, training, and direct technical assistance to agencies responsible for local roadway safety.

Training

The SCR program provides free roadway safety-related training to local agencies through our Safety Academy. Trainings cover many topics such as Sign Installation and Maintenance, Road Safety Assessments (RSAs), ADA, Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP), Speed Management, Roundabouts and more. Melissa teaches several of our courses, and Lisa and Melissa also partner with guest instructors. Participation in these trainings earns credit toward our Safety Champion Certificate program. Our SCR also partners with the T2 general training program to teach classes in the Local Traffic Authority certificate program.

Technical Assistance

The SCR program provides technical assistance and resources to CT municipalities on a wide range of road safety issues. Some recent topics include:

  • Crash data analysis
  • On Site Road Safety Assessments
  • Traffic Data Collection and Analysis
  • Identification of Low-Cost Safety Improvements

Local Road Safety Plans

A Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) provides a framework for organizing stakeholders to identify, analyze, and prioritize roadway safety improvements on local roads. LRSP’s are very important, especially now with the funding opportunities coming over the next several years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The process for developing an LRSP can be tailored to local protocols, needs and issues. Plans should be viewed as a living document that can be continually reviewed and updated.

Free Equipment Loan Program

Local agencies can borrow traffic counters, sign retroreflectometer and our newest addition, a pavement marking retroreflectometer. See our full list of available equipment at:

T2 Center Equipment Loan Program | T2 Center (uconn.edu)

Providing Critical Equipment to our Cities and Towns

Over the past several years, the SCR program has been very fortunate to receive funding from CTDOT to provide critical equipment to our local agencies, including full work zone safety packages offered to all 169 towns and speed feedback signs for rural towns. In September, CTDOT is providing funding for our program to offer speed feedback signs to our Urban cities/towns. We are very grateful for these opportunities and will look forward to more in the future.

For more information on the Safety Circuit Rider Program contact Melissa at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

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Safety Matters: Speed Display Signs for Speed Management in Urban Communities

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Safety Matters: Speed Display Signs for Speed Management in Urban Communities

Across the country, speeding remains a problem on every type of roadway and in every type of community. Speed-related crashes often result in serious injuries or fatalities. In 2020, to address speed-related crashes on Connecticut’s rural roads, the T2 Center’s Safety Circuit Rider program in coordination with the CT Department of Transportation launched a Rural Speed Display Sign Program. The program provided two signs, along with training on their use and benefit, to Connecticut towns with rural roads. Additionally, speed management training was offered throughout the program years to provide a broader speed management strategy.

Based on the success of the rural program, the CTDOT and the T2 Center are pleased to announce an Urban Speed Display Sign Program, which will commence on September 1, 2022. This will be a year-long program providing two free signs to those municipalities that were not eligible under the rural program. Training on the signs, the data they collect and related speed management classes with be offered as well.

Speed display signs are recognized by the Federal Highway Administration as an effective countermeasure to address speeding. They have been shown to reduce speeds by up to 5 mph and can be utilized in conjunction with other speed management tools to further reduce speeding. For more information, click her

These signs help remind the driving public of the posted speed limit and how fast they are driving in relation to that speed limit. They can be an important educational tool in getting the public to slow down on roads where speed can often end in a crash. Since the signs also collect data, municipalities can identify problem areas and the most effective times of day for speed enforcement.

There has been much positive response to the rural program, and data analysis has shown an average reduction in 85th percentile speed of 3-5 mph, which is consistent with the FHWA’s findings. One of the towns commented, “These signs have put many of our concerned citizens at ease,” and another said, “These signs have been getting a ton of positive feedback from our residents!”

Scheduling of delivery for the urban program will begin shortly, so be on the lookout for an email from me with additional information on how to receive your signs. I look forward to meeting with you soon as we work to manage speeds on our CT roadways!

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

Resources:

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Leaders to Watch: Garrett Bolella, City of Norwalk

Garrett Bolella, City of Norwalk

Garrett Bolella, P.E., P.T.O.E., Assistant Director of Transportation Services for the City of Norwalk, was named one of the 2022 40 Under 40 by the Fairfield County Business Journal. On June 16, 2022, Garrett was honored at a banquet where he was presented with the General Assembly Official Citation that Senator (Majority Leader) Bob Duff read as follows:

General Assembly Official Citation

Be it hereby known to all that the Connecticut General Assembly offers its sincerest congratulations to Garrett Bolella, P.E., PTOE, RSP1 in recognition of being named an awardee of the Fairfield County 40 Under 40 . We are thrilled of your special accomplishments and thank you for your steadfast work on behalf of the people of the City of Norwalk.

The entire membership extends its very best wishes on this memorable occasion and expresses the hope for continued success.

Garrett Bolella is 34 years old and a Connecticut native. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelors in Civil Engineering and a Masters in Transportation and Urban Engineering. He is also the only licensed Professional Engineer in a Connecticut municipality with a PTOE certification and an RSP1 certification.

In 2017, Garrett applied to the City of Stamford for an opening as the  Lead Traffic Engineer under a recently created Transportation Bureau. The new Transportation Bureau’s focus on efficiency, mobility, sustainability, multi-modal transportation, safety, and engagement were all key components in filling this critical role. Garrett’s experience in consulting along with his research and studies in transportation planning, urban design, and regional planning made him an ideal candidate for the position.

Garrett entered that role and immediately became an integral part of the fabric of the Transportation Bureau for Stamford.  With only days of experience on the job, he became engrossed in the planning of new road designs and markings and with only weeks under his belt designed and installed the city’s first buffered bike lane.  As his oversight included management of the city’s Traffic Operations Department, Garrett established the city’s first design guide to standardize all the city’s signs, introduced more reflective pavement markings that increases the visibility of lines and markings, and helped formalize the city’s Complete Street design manual emphasizing the plan and purpose for improved multimodal safety.

Furthermore, Garrett oversaw several transportation and traffic projects.  Most notably is the design of the city’s first round-a-bout.  Through a series of community meetings, a design was finalized, and construction began in 2021.  With Garrett’s determination and commitment, the community with soon benefit from improved traffic flow in one of the most congested corridors in the City.  In Garrett’s relatively short time with the City of Stamford his accomplishments also include the construction and design of a traffic circle at Lione Park, the creation of Boxer Square Plaza, which won national recognition, and several traffic calming initiatives in the west side of the city, to name a few.

In February 2021, Garrett accepted a promotion to the role of Assistant Director of Transportation, Mobility and Parking for the City of Norwalk to formalize a department recently created by Mayor Rilling.  The Administration in Norwalk recognized Garrett’s many accomplishments and he now heads a team focused on traffic safety, sustainable economic growth, and community building.  In-fact, Garrett has hit the ground running yet again.   In his short time, he has partnered with the City’s Health Department and applied for and has been awarded a grant to plant street trees in an underserved neighborhood.  Garrett has also worked with neighbors to care for these newly planted street trees.

Additionally, he is now spearheading the design an estimated $12 Million Dollar investment to reclaim a busy commercial village district in what will be the model for the City’s Complete Streets vision moving forward.  There has been a desire for improvements to the Wall Street corridor for decades.  With Garrett’s vision and determination, the community’s desire for real change in the area will soon be realized.  With only a consultant selected and ideas in mind, he has already begun to secure funding to bring this vision to reality.

Garrett doesn’t accept limitations, he challenges them.  He looks to make something better, sets new boundaries, and never accepts something as simply good enough.  Stamford is a much better city with Garrett’s contributions, and Norwalk has already benefitted from his talent and expertise.  I am grateful to have him as an integral part of the team. When Garrett is not working, he can be found at his home in North Stamford with his wife Erica, their new daughter Leighton, and their two dogs – or also working as a personal trainer at CrossFit Stamford.

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Safety Matters: New Equipment Available for Loan – Pavement Marking Retroreflectometer

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New Equipment Available for Loan – Pavement Marking Retroreflectometer

Pavement marking visibility is an important safety measure for road users. When drivers can adequately see center lines, edge lines, crosswalks and other pavement markings, they can make safe and appropriate decisions. Faded, non-reflective markings can create a hazardous situation for all roadway users. The Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), Part 3A.02 requires that “Markings that must be visible at night shall be retroreflective unless ambient illumination assures that the markings are adequately visible.” It is likely that the next version of the MUTCD, which is in progress, will have more requirements for pavement marking minimum retroreflectivity as well.

In an effort to assist Connecticut municipalities with ensuring the reflectivity of their pavement markings, the T2 Center has purchased a StripeMaster 2 Touch Pavement Marking Retroreflectometer, which measures road marking retroreflection, visibility, and saves the data.

The unit can store more than 25,000 measurements and has a color touch screen, an internal GPS, Bluetooth and a printer. The saved data can be exported in multiple formats. Data that can be collected includes PASS/FAIL criteria, installation dates, thickness, bead types, material types, color, pavement types, and location. The nit can also measure flat or profiled markings up to 0.59 inches high. It also measures in both dry and wet weather conditions as well as during day or night.

Visit our website to fill out an equipment loan request if you’re interested in testing your pavement markings – T2 Center Equipment Loan Program | T2 Center (uconn.edu).

Resources:
Road Vista, https://www.roadvista.com/

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Four Strategies for Finding Your Voice by Jo Miller

Four Strategies for Finding Your Voice

by Jo Miller
Originally Published forbes.com, August 18, 2021

When Stephanie Matthews worked as a producer in broadcast news, promoting her expertise and accomplishments was something of a nonissue. Her TV shows, stories, and writing were highly visible thanks to the nature of her work. But after making a career change into public relations, she discovered a jarring new reality: she needed to step up and make her voice heard, own her ideas, and do personal PR.

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“I had to learn how to speak for myself and become an advocate for myself and for my team,” says Stephanie, now executive vice president of integrated media and engagement at the PR agency Golin. “It’s not enough to find your voice. You’ve also got to use your voice,” she says.

Stephanie, who has worked on public relations for household name brands, says establishing your voice as a new or aspiring leader requires bragging about yourself in a tactful way and calling attention to the great work that you’re doing. Like most of us, Stephanie found that hard at first. Here are four strategies she developed.

Four Strategies for Finding Your Voice

1. Don’t Wait For Your Annual Review.

Stephanie started simply, scheduling weekly check-ins with her boss with the point of getting him up to speed on what was happening. The idea is to create a casual cadence for sharing accomplishments, rather than saving everything up for an annual performance review.

The idea is to create a casual cadence for sharing accomplishments, rather than saving everything up for an annual performance review.

2. Double Down On Wins.

A constructive way to show what you know is to take what you worked on in one area and reproduce those best practices in another area, says Stephanie. The bigger the business impact, the better. “Being able to tie accomplishments to bottom-line growth is an easy way to brag about yourself—without seeming boastful,” she says.

3. Know What Differentiates You.

“My passion is the intersection of social media and news media,” says Stephanie. “That’s where I thrive. I’m a news junkie and obsessed with the way we’re getting our news.” Identifying your passion, deepening your knowledge in that area, and pouncing on opportunities to share your expertise put you well on your way to becoming a sought-after voice of authority in your industry. Says Stephanie, “Understanding what differentiates you is a key to unlocking new opportunities both internally and externally.”

4. Connect, And Share Your Expertise.

Stephanie’s specialization in integrated media made her a global resource across her agency, which in turn connected her to teams with different, and often complementary, areas of expertise she would not have otherwise met. “Being exposed to other peoples’ smart ideas is the biggest benefit you’ll receive from using your voice,” says Stephanie.

So if you want to grow your influence and be a leader who makes an impact, let alone get credit for your track record and get people to see your potential, don’t just find your voice.

Use your voice.

Adapted from Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw-Hill, 2019) by Jo Miller.

Resources:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jomiller/2021/08/18/four-strategies-for-finding-your-voice/?sh=13b8ef00ba93

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Safety Matters: Safe Streets and Roads for All – Grant Program

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Safe Streets and Roads for All – Grant Program

On May 16, 2022, The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the application process is now open for communities of all sizes to apply for $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 funding to help them ensure safe streets and roads for all and address the national roadway safety crisis. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary grant program provides dedicated funding to support regional, local, and Tribal plans, projects and strategies that will prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries.

“We face a national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our roadways, and these tragedies are preventable – so as a nation we must work urgently and collaboratively to save lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The funds we are making available from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help communities large and small take action to protect all Americans on our roads.”

The primary goal of the SS4A grants is to improve roadway safety by supporting communities in developing comprehensive safety action plans based on a Safe System Approach, and implementing projects and strategies that significantly reduce or eliminate transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries.  Applications may come from individual communities, or groups of communities and may include Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), counties, cities, towns, other special districts that are subdivisions of a state, certain transit agencies, federally recognized Tribal governments, and multi-jurisdictional groups.

The Department has made the application process to receive funding to develop a comprehensive safety action plan as easy as possible to reduce administrative burden and encourage broad participation in this new funding program, especially for smaller communities, Tribal governments, and new federal funding recipients.

The Safe Streets for All Notice of Funding Opportunity can be found at https://www.transportation.gov/SS4A. Applications are due on or before Sept. 15, 2022.

As we receive additional information, we will be sure to share with all the CT municipalities and regional planning agencies.

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Signal Spotlight: Greenwich Arch Street Corridor Adaptive Signal Project

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Signal Spotlight: Greenwich Arch Street Corridor Adaptive Signal Project

In late April, the Town of Greenwich Department of Public Works unveiled the long-awaited Arch Street Corridor Improvement project, which was funded through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. Arch Street is a minor arterial in the town and connects I-95 to Route 1 and to downtown Greenwich, which includes a railroad station, retail and commercial businesses, large office facilities, the town’s Teen Center, Greenwich Harbor, recreational facilities, a hotel and numerous restaurants. The roadway has an Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT) of approximately 35,000 vehicles and serves numerous pedestrians.

The improvement project’s highlight was the installation of Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT), the first ASCT project in Connecticut. The project strategically installed cutting-edge Miovision cameras on traffic signals to collect and analyze traffic data on directional traffic flow, vehicle delay, and lane queue length. These cameras can detect the type of vehicle (car, SUV, truck, tractor-trailer) traveling through the intersection as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. Intelligent software receives the current traffic information provided by the cameras and automatically optimizes the traffic signal timing. Each traffic control box communicates with the others in real-time through a fiberoptic network loop. Additionally, the pedestrian signals were converted from exclusive to concurrent to further optimize signal operations.

“Adaptive Signal Control Technology (ASCT) makes traffic signals more effective and efficient. Unlike traditionally timed traffic signals, ASCT accommodates changing traffic patterns and calculates a traffic signal timing plan based on the changing traffic conditions on the roadway caused by traffic crashes, special events, road construction, and other roadway incidents in realtime,” said Gabriella M. Circosta Cohee, P.E., Town of Greenwich Senior Civil Engineer and Project Manager. “The new adaptive traffic signal system can detect an influx of vehicles and can improve the traffic congestion by instantly adjusting the timing of the traffic lights at all five intersections.” This was a key component of the project to minimize congestion and reduce peak-hour queues onto I-95, address heavy volumes during incidents on I-95 and optimize progression through the closely spaced intersections on Arch Street.

Also installed as part of this project, another first in Connecticut, is a flashing yellow left-turn arrow at one of the intersections. According to the Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Jim Michel, “We are excited to be a leader for the state of Connecticut in implementing new and advanced infrastructure that can decrease vehicle emissions and improve air quality. This project is an example of how the Department of Public Works can make a positive impact for our residents today and for future generations to come.”

Like many projects in the past two years, the Arch Street project was impacted by the pandemic. When asked about the challenge of overseeing such an important project in the center of town during this time, Ms. Circosta-Cohee had this to say, “Having been handed a one-of-a-kind project was challenging enough, but then the bids for this project were due on the same day that Town Hall went into COVID lockdown.  During the past 2 years we changed the way we do things to keep the ball rolling.  I learned so much throughout this project and I am extremely grateful to have worked with such knowledgeable people at Urban Engineers and the NY-Conn Corporation.”

Well done Gabriella and the rest of the Greenwich Public Works team!

Resource:
Town of Greenwich, Department of Public Works Press Release, April 26, 2022

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Leaders to Watch: Gabriella M. Circosta-Cohee, Town of Greenwich

Gabriella M. Circosta-Cohee, Town of Greenwich

Gabriella M. Circosta-Cohee, P.E. is a Senior Civil Engineer with the Town of Greenwich Department of Public Works Engineering Division and has more than 20 years of experience working in both the private and public sectors of this field. As an integral part of the Department of Public Works, she designs and executes crucial capital improvement projects related to transportation, bridges, traffic signals, remediation, waste disposal, and stormwater infrastructure. 

Prior to joining the Town of Greenwich, Gabriella worked at Dvirka and Bartilucci Consulting Engineers in Woodbury, NY. Gabriella received her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 2001 from Manhattan College and her masters in Environmental Engineering in 2006 from Manhattan College. She has also completed the CTI Transportation Leadership Program through the Connecticut Training & Technical Assistance Center (T2 Center).

Gabriella M. Circosta-Cohee

For the past 14 years, Gabriella has provided professional engineering services for several departments within the Town of Greenwich, assisted in the Town budgeting process for capital improvement projects as well as administration and inspection of construction, and served as the Town Administrator for projects involving MSAT District 3 coordination. She recently received her Part 107 Drone Pilot license.  Her attention to detail and broad technical background have aided in the successful completion of many complicated projects. Recent or current notable key projects include:

  • Round Hill Road Bridge Construction – Federal/Local Bridge Program Funding – $2.5M
  • Bailiwick Road Bridge Construction – Federal/Local Bridge Program Funding – $2.5M
  • Sound Beach Ave Bridge Design & Construction – LOTCIP Funding – $3.5M
  • Adaptive Signal Control Technology along the Arch Street Corridor – CMAQ Grant $2M

Gabriella is a devoted mother of three children and enjoys spending time with her family, cooking up new recipes and spending time in nature.

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Signal Spotlight: Norwalk’s New Adaptive Traffic Signal

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Signal Spotlight: Norwalk’s New Adaptive Traffic Signals

The City of Norwalk has begun to implement new “Adaptive Traffic Signals” that will automatically adjust the cycle length and distribute green light time. The system will accommodate changing traffic patterns and helps ease congestion.

What are adaptive traffic signals?

Adaptive Traffic Signals adjust the timing of their green light cycles to match current traffic conditions on the roadway. The system constantly collects data of approaching vehicles and creates new timing sequences and adjusts accordingly. The signals will change based on traffic patterns in the area rather than a standardized shift from red to green.

The main benefits of adaptive signal control technology over conventional signal systems are that it can:

  1. Automatically adapt to unexpected changes in traffic conditions.
  2. Continuously distribute green light time equitably for all traffic movements.
  3. Improve travel time reliability by progressively moving vehicles through green lights.
  4. Reduce congestion by creating smoother flow.

The City of Norwalk began to imagine a citywide Traffic Adaptive System program in 2018.

The 1st phase of the Adaptive Signal System was completed in 2019 with implementation of 8 adaptive traffic signals on West Avenue as part of the SoNo Collection project.

The 2nd phase of the Adaptive Signal System will add 8 more signalized intersections on West Avenue and Belden Avenue to the Adaptive Signal System Network under LRARP funding. This project will be completed by the end of 2022.

The 3rd phase of the Adaptive Signal System will add another 14 signalized intersections in South Norwalk on MLK, South Main Street and North Main Street to the Adaptive Signal System Network as part of the Walk Bridge project. This project will be completed late this year or early next year.

The 4th phase of the Adaptive Signal System will add 3 more signalized intersections on East Avenue to the Adaptive Signal System Network as part of phase 4 traffic signal upgrade under CMAQ founding. This project will be completed by the end of 2023.

The 5th phase of the Adaptive Signal System will add 21 more signalized intersections to the Adaptive Signal System Network. These signalized intersections are located on Route 1, East Avenue, Martin Luther King Boulevard, and South Main Street. This project will be built under the recently awarded CMAQ founding. The estimate time of completion is the end of 2024.

The City’s goal is to complete the Traffic Signal Adaptive System project by the end of 2025.

Along with implementing the Adaptive Signal System, the exclusive pedestrian crossing phase will be replaced with concurrent phasing and the LPI (Lead Pedestrian Interval) where appropriate. As part of these changes, all regular pedestrian push buttons will be replaced with an (APS) audible push button system.

Fred Eshraghi
City Traffic Engineer
City of Norwalk

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Safety Matters: Spring Into Safety With an RSA

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Spring Into Safety With an RSA

Happy Spring! As the weather improves and we all start to get back outside walking and biking, roadway safety becomes even more important. Many of you are familiar with RSAs or Road Safety Assessments/Audits, but for those who may not be, an RSA is a formal safety evaluation of a location, performed by a multidisciplinary team. It is different than a traditional safety review in that it considers all potential road users, includes team members with varied expertise, accounts for human factor issues and results in a formal written report. These assessments, which are a Federal Highway Administration Proven Safety Countermeasure, are a valuable tool for municipalities of all shapes and sizes to evaluate roadway safety for all users.

So why should you perform an RSA? There are several reasons actually! Maybe you have an area where residents are concerned about children walking and biking to school. Perhaps you are planning changes to a roadway and want to ensure that all users are accommodated in the final improvements. Or maybe your community has an area that experiences seasonal increases in vulnerable users and you’re interested in potential safety improvements. All of these, and more, are reasons to conduct a Road Safety Assessment.

For example, the City of Stamford requested assistance from the Safety Circuit Rider with an RSA for Strawberry Hill Avenue, one of their busiest north/south corridors. The area has a mix of schools, businesses and residences and has some pedestrian amenities, but some are outdated and in need of improvement. According to Frank Petise, P.E., Bureau Chief of Transportation, Traffic and Parking for the City of Stamford, “For those of you who haven’t taken advantage of the program, I highly recommend it. Melissa did a great job.” The City plans to use the RSA report to support future improvement projects and potential grant funding.

Whether you have been thinking about conducting an RSA and just haven’t scheduled it, or you have never considered one before, now is the time! Many of the recommendations that come from these assessments are short-term and could be implemented within the next several months, before cold weather sets in again.

If you would like to schedule a Road Safety Assessment or are looking for assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

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