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City Sketches New Crosswalk Where Student Was Killed

The city and state are working together on pedestrian safety along White Street in front of Western Connecticut State University.

While city and university workers walked on White Street Tuesday deciding where to put a new crosswalk, in classroom 306 of White Hall, students talked about their own near hits on White Street.

"It was a thirsty Thursday night," recalled Alicia-Leigh Oliveri, who was a freshman walking from the White Street garage to the campus across the street at about 2 a.m. when she was nearly hit. "I didn't see the car at all. It was going at least 80 miles an hour."

Oliveri held her thumb and forefinger a quarter inch apart. "It came that close to my foot. It was red. That was all I could see," she said. "Now I go over the bridge. If I'm on the street, I stop and yield to all potential cars. I make sure everybody is stopped in all directions before I walk into the street."

Oliveri's experience seems typical.

Diana Newman, a junior and professional writing major, made it safely across three lanes of traffic on White Street when in the fourth lane a car tried to speed around the other cars.

"The car didn't see me, and then when they were on top of me they did this weird little wave and kept going," Newman said.

Kimberly Janvier said she had her hands full of groceries, including chocolate Special K and water when she went into that awkward back and forth eye contact with a pick-up truck driver who kept inching forward and stopping. Then she'd step forward. "The truck just kept on going. I wasn't going to die on that truck."

On Tuesday, Thomas Hughes, superintendent of construction services in Danbury, was working with City Engineer Farid Khouri and Traffic Engineer Abdul Mohammed on where to put a new crosswalk.

"What we're working on is student safety," Hughes said.

The issue of pedestrian safety on White Street arose after the Nov. 22, 2011 death of WCSU Student Dong Lin, who was killed walking across White Street in the dark. The driver fled the scene, and has since been identified as a WCSU student, who is awaiting trial.

Mike Packer February 27, 2013 at 04:41 PM
I feel deeply sorry for the person killed on this street, however the University provided a bridge and how many times did our mothers say 'look both ways'? I know my crossing speed based on oncoming cars (distance, perceived speed) vs. my disabled friend who knows his. Shall we pay overpriced consultants 100k to 'study' solutions? Why is White St. any more or less dangerous than any other street in the city, state, or country (of comparable nature)? Look before you walk Danbury!
Dave Bonan February 27, 2013 at 09:21 PM
A year ago Easter, after the public meetings, the Univ put up a temporary orange construction fence on either side of the road from Fairfield Hall and Midtown Cafe to the garage overpass. It worked. But no students were in session! Then they took it down when they came back. Then nothing. Yesterday, tons of folks crossed in 3 different areas of the road at the same time, none of which had crosswalks.
Dave Bonan February 27, 2013 at 09:23 PM
true. but also distracted drivers are self righteous and don't want to stop, regardless of a crosswalk pedestrian and a red light. you see it when someone's crossing and one stops and the other gets pissed and tries to swerve and run thru on the right hand lane.
Dave Bonan February 27, 2013 at 09:29 PM
they aren't doing anything new. they were open to the idea of recessed crosswalk lighting in the road that lights up when buttons are pushed.
ctnyfan February 28, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Just look both ways before you cross. No jay-walking. (Is it called that anymore?) If a car is coming, don't assume it will stop because you're a pedestrian. Back to the basics.

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