"Student Project Aids New Haven Schools Street Safety"
Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010, New Haven Register
NEW HAVEN -- The three sixth-graders all remember data from their report that helped the city land funding to make the streets near their school safer.
"One oil truck was going like about 52 miles per hour," said Melissa Ernstberger.
"A school bus was going 37 miles per hour," recalled Hannah Melchinger.
Melissa, Hannah and Gleimy Rodriguez, as part of a science project for their fourth-grade class in 2008, clocked speeding vehicles as they whizzed past the John C. Daniels School on Congress Avenue and sent the data to city officials working on the traffic project.
A contract since has been signed for the repaving of Congress Avenue and installation of traffic calming measures at several intersections to make the main thoroughfare safer for residents and schoolchildren.
A federal stimulus grant will cover the $800,000 project that will upgrade Congress from approximately Howard Avenue to Davenport Avenue, which is the western gateway to the Hill neighborhood and Yale University's medical district.
City Engineer Dick Miller said the project should start in two to three weeks and take some two months to complete.
There will be sidewalk "bumpouts" at the intersections with Hallock and Ward streets, where Congress will be narrowed, making it easier for schoolchildren to cross.
"It's so nice for them to see the fruits of their labor.They are standing here with all these important people who are making what the kids talked about happen," said Gina Wells, principal of John C. Daniels.
More than anything, Wells said she is thrilled the street is being made safer.
"We have 20 buses every day and many of our kids are walkers. As the houses become refurbished in the Hill, you have more kids living here," Wells said.
The class came in second place in the 2008 science fair.
Gleimy said the problem of speeding cars is an ongoing issue. "A parent almost ran over her own child," when she dropped her off on the side of the school, she said of a recent incident.
Wells said two speeding cars on Congress crashed at the corner of Hallock Street on the first day of school "right after I had put my last kids on the bus."
Asked how they were feeling with all the attention, the students took it in stride.
"I feel special, and safer," said Hannah. "A lot safer," Melissa chimed in.
By Mary E. O'Leary, Register Topics Editor