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How Do Bloomfielders Cross the Road?

Among Bloomfield neighbors, navigating the Bloomfield Bridge/Liberty Ave/Main St/Howley St. intersection is often a daily risk, one that involves extreme vigilance and caution if moving through on foot or by bike. Bloomfield Development and Bloomfield Livable Streets together designed and distributed a survey to 780 respondents throughout the month of October to better understand the concerns and issues that residents have with the intersection. The data and comments gathered will help start and continue a dialogue on how to improve safety for all users at this crossroads.

With 17 reported accidents (and many more unreported) from 2014-2016, this is Bloomfield’s most dangerous intersection. Out of 780 survey responses, over 69% of Bloomfield residents stated they did not feel safe using the massive intersection.  Over 73% of regular, daily, or weekly walkers reported feeling unsafe, but it wasn’t just pedestrians that reported difficulties in navigating the intersections. Over 63% of regular, daily, or weekly drivers that go through the intersections and over 70% of regular, daily, or weekly bicyclists that also share the roads reported feeling unsafe.

Many residents observed that the road design seems to invite high speeds and confusion. One respondent pointed out, “…It’s clear that the intersection’s design encourages many motorists to drive as though they’re on a highway. This, sadly, does not match with the pleasant, walkable vibe of the Bloomfield business district along Liberty Avenue at all.” Another resident noted that the intersection “actually require[s] drivers to look over their shoulders and generally somewhere other than at what’s directly in front of them.”

Of the respondents residing in Bloomfield, good lighting and traffic blocking crosswalks were big issues, with 71.6% and 67% respectively of those from Bloomfield either agreeing or strongly agreeing that it was a problem.  64% of local respondents also reported that pedestrians are not given enough time to cross.

The Main and Howley intersections are considered to be the most-traveled pedestrian section of the crossroads as well as the most dangerous. At the Howley St. and Main St. intersection, traffic comes from five different directions, with one survey respondent noting, “There’s too much going on for me to feel confident that it’s safe in all directions.”

Bloomfield is experiencing neighborhood-wide growth and development particularly within the areas close to this intersection. The increasing development in the East End has intensified all kinds of traffic in Bloomfield, straining an already dangerous intersection.

Our organizations have posted more detailed survey results on both of our websites. We are committed to working with the community to create a plan for a safer and more accessible experience for all people using all modes of transportation.