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New Safety Measures Put In Place At Stamford High After Student's Death

Earthaiza Watkins, at left, a junior at Stamford High School, says the new crosswalk in front of the school makes crossing the street much safer.
Earthaiza Watkins, at left, a junior at Stamford High School, says the new crosswalk in front of the school makes crossing the street much safer. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. — A Stamford High student welcomed new safety measures — especially a new crosswalk — that the city installed after a student died while crossing Strawberry Hill Avenue.

Earthaiza Watkins, a junior at the school who was about to use the new crosswalk Monday morning, said it's an improvement.

"It was really dangerous," she said of crossing the avenue before the crosswalk was installed. "This is much safer than before."

Karina Tinajero, 18, of 1425 Bedford St. died hours after she was struck by a van while she was crossing Strawberry Hill Avenue at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 5 on her way to take the SAT test. She was a senior at Stamford High.

The new crosswalk on Strawberry Hill is directly in front of Stamford High's front entrance. Tinajero was struck in that area, which students frequently use. Even though there is a crosswalk farther down the street where there is  five-point intersection, many students dislike using it because it is inconvenient — and that includes Watkins.

"It's easier for me" to cross Strawberry Hill Avenue, she said. "I don't feel like like going all the way down there to cross the street."

Along with the crosswalk, there will be school zone signs, yield to pedestrian stanchions, variable message signs to warn drivers they are in a school area and "Slow School" pavement markings.

City and school officials announced the changes in a press conference last Thursday. They also hope there will be traffic signals installed at the crosswalk next year but said that needs state approval.

A memorial was held for Tinajero at the school last week. The school is establishing a Karina Tinajero Memorial Scholarship that will go to a high-achieving English Language Learning student who wants to attend college. Click here to contribute to the GoFundMe campaign for the scholarship.

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