STAMFORD, Conn. -- Shocked by three motor vehicle vs. pedestrian deaths in the city this year, Mayor David Martin announced that Stamford is looking at everything from police enforcement to education in an effort to improve traffic and pedestrian safety.
The city officially launched the Stamford Street Smart initiative on Wednesday. But police have been out on the streets since the beginning of the month, cracking down on motorists who are using their cell phones while driving or who are passing stopped school buses with their red lights flashing.
"No person should have to risk their life to cross the street or walking home from school," Martin said.
Four motorists were ticketed Tuesday, the first day of school, for driving past stopped school buses, Martin said.
"It is unacceptable to drive around school buses," he said.
Police will also be on the lookout for jaywalkers, Martin said.
On the engineering side, Stamford is reviewing all intersections to ensure the signs are clearly mounted and visible to all; improving crosswalk visibility; and synchronizing the city's traffic signals, Martin said.
The city will also work with the Board of Education and Health Department to educate residents and students on pedestrian, driver and cyclist safety, Martin said.
The education aspect of the program also includes hosting a Google Hangout to review in greater detail key statistics and to provide a more in depth discussion of the actions being undertaken. The city will work with community organizations to build awareness and support the Safe Routes to School Program.
Police Chief Jonathan Fontneau said officers will be out vigorously enforcing traffic laws across the city. He warned motorists that they may see a police officer in their window if they don't follow the law.
In the city's pedestrian deaths this year:
- A 70-year-old woman, the mother of a police investigator, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Easter Sunday while crossing Woodland Avenue.
- A 65-year-old man was struck by a car and killed on Strawberry Hill Avenue near his home on May 30.
- A Springdale woman was struck and killed while crossing Hoyt Street at Summer Street on July 21.