January 2021
Issue 80
In This Issue:
  • 2021 Roadway Safety Poster Contest for Children - Let's Walk! Pedestrian Safety for Everybody
  • Safety Matters: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: Don't Be in the Dark
  • Signal Spotlight: Traffic Signal Liability Considerations
  • Innovation Station: Caltrans Using Special Saws for Safer Tree Removal
  • NEW Tailgate Talk: HazCom vs. HazMat
  • Complete Streets Information Exchange - Next Steps in 2021
  • 2021 APWA New England Chapter Connects Virtual Seminar Series
  • In Case You Missed It: Social Media as Easy as 1,2,3 Webinar Video
  • Beat the Cold: Working in Winter Weather Video

2021 Roadway Safety Poster Contest for Children - Let's Walk! Pedestrian Safety for Everybody
The CT Training & Technical Assistance (T2) Center, with the support from agencies and organizations around the state, is bringing awareness of pedestrian and roadway safety to Connecticut. We are happy to announce the Eleventh Annual Roadway Safety Poster Contest for Children! This year, we have a special theme, Let's Walk! Pedestrian Safety for Everybody. We want to make roadway safety, which includes ALL users, a priority and are asking the children of Connecticut to help promote roadway safety through art. Students grades K-5 are invited to submit their original artwork for the chance to win big prizes and to be recognized in the CT Transportation community.
In conjunction with this year's contest, the T2 Center has a launched a brand new Roadway Safety Poster Contest for Children webpage! The webpage has resources, fun activities for children to help promote roadway and pedestrian safety, instructions for the poster contest, and the new 2021 poster contest packet. To visit the new webpage, click here.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: Don't Be in the Dark
The “joys” of winter can be debated – are the holidays enjoyable or stressful; is snow fun or a hassle; are you a cold-weather fan or counting the days until summer? One thing that is not debatable is that days are shorter during the winter months. Shorter days mean less light conditions and pedestrians often find themselves walking in the dark. Additionally, winter weather often impacts visibility even during daylight hours. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017 seventy-five percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in dark conditions. During the winter months (January, February, and the following December), fifty-one percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 6:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Even in the summer months, June through August, thirty-four percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 9:00 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. Similarly, the highest percentage of bicycle fatalities in 2018 – twenty-one percent – occurred between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

There are some simple measures that pedestrians and cyclists can employ to ensure they are visible to drivers. Following the rules of the road is important to your safety.
Tips for Pedestrians:

  • Walk on sidewalk if one is available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing on-coming traffic.
  • Cross at crosswalks if present.
  • If there is a pedestrian signal, use it correctly.
  • Make eye-contact with drivers – do not assume they see you or that they will stop for you.
  • Wear a reflective article of clothing.
  • Carry a flashlight.

Conditions can change quickly, especially in wintertime, and what starts as a walk in bright, sunny conditions can become a walk in gray, cloudy conditions in a matter of minutes.
To continue the article, click here.
If you have any questions about local road safety concerns, you can contact:
Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider at (860) 486-5847 or [email protected].
Signal Spotlight: Traffic Signal Liability Considerations
Traffic signals are a vital component of Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure, providing efficient travel within towns and cities and throughout the state. Motorists rely on traffic signals to assign the right of way in a manner that allows for safe operations. I was asked to provide some information on liability considerations for municipalities relating to maintenance of signalized intersections. As this article is for informational purposes and I am not a legal expert, I encourage you to discuss the applicable statutes with your corporation counsel and draw your own conclusions. That being said, here are several topics that may be of interest to those who maintain and operate traffic signal systems:
Sovereign Immunity

According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell, “The sovereign immunity refers to the fact that the government cannot be sued without its consent.” The liability of political subdivisions in Connecticut is determined by the state legislature and generally outlined in Section 52-557n of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS).

Defective Roads and Bridges

CGS 13a-149 states that “Any person injured in person or property by means of a defective road or bridge may recover damages from the party bound to keep it in repair.” As traffic signals are generally considered part of the road infrastructure, malfunctioning traffic signals may fall under the scope of Section 13a-149.
To continue this article, click here.
If you have traffic signal systems questions, please contact:
Theresa Schwartz, P.E., P.T.O.E. - Traffic Signal Circuit Rider
(860) 486-4535 or [email protected].
Caltrans Using Special Saws for Safer Tree Removal Published January 18, 2021, AASHTO Journal
The California Department of Transportation and its contractors are deploying a new tool to safely speed up the removal of dead, dying, and diseased trees throughout the state: telescoping grappling saws.

The agency said in a statement that such saws allow its crews and contractors to take trees down at a faster pace than traditional tree removal processes, completing that process with greater safely from the ground via remote control and outside the fall zone for the trees being removed.

New Tree Removal Technology - Caltrans News Flash #228 Video
NEW Tailgate Talk: HazCom vs. HazMat
The T2 Center has published our newest Tailgate Talk informational brief. Each Tailgate Talk focuses on one on-the-job safety topic and is designed to be shared with your crew at the beginning of their day. When employees are presented with safety material in small chunks, in a setting in which they are comfortable, they are more likely to retain that information and put it into practice.
At last report, there were 213,000 chemicals and chemical compounds being used in this country. Each year, thousands of new chemical compounds are produced and become part of our lives at home and at work. Nearly 1.5 billion tons of hazardous materials are transported annually in the U.S. over the road or by rail, aircraft, or vessel. A lot of these products improve our lives, but many are harmful to our health and to the environment. The trouble is, these substances become so common to us, we are in danger of using them casually.
Complete Streets Information Exchange - Next Steps in 2021
As we look forward to the coming year’s transportation priorities, we hope you take some time to reflect on ways you can advance Complete Streets and improve roadway safety in your community. To help in this effort, we have created a webpage with copies of the presentations from our recent Information Exchange where some excellent large and small scale ideas were shared. We hope you take a few minutes to review the resources and possibly integrate an idea or two into your plans for 2021. We will continue to add technical resources and information on local experiences as they are shared with us.

In 2021, the T2 Center will continue to support Complete Streets efforts throughout the state. We plan to share the latest resources and provide opportunities for you all to learn from each other and share your experiences. If you have a Complete Streets success story or lessons learned from your experiences, please let us know. We would really like to hear how your Complete Streets and Roadway Safety efforts are going.

  • If you have a Complete Streets Success Story to share, please contact Mary McCarthy at [email protected] so she can add it to the page and highlight your work.

  • If you have a roadway safety project or initiative to share, please contact Melissa Evans, our Safety Circuit Rider, at [email protected] so she can add it to our CT Examples of Safety Countermeasures website, where we house categorized examples of safety countermeasures being used throughout the state.
APWA New England Chapter Connects Virtual Seminar Series
This past fall, the T2 Center partnered up with the American Public Works Association (APWA) New England Chapter's Public Works Awareness Committee and the Education Committee to help produce a series of live virtual seminars. The seminars went so well that the NEAPWA decided to continue the monthly seminars through 2021.
Pictured above: John DeCastro, Maintenance Manager, CT Department of Transportation (left) and Tom Roy, Director of Public Works, Town of Simsbury (right), presenting at the January 14th Local Perspective on Managing Winter Operations during COVID-19 - A Roundtable Discussion virtual seminar.
The monthly seminars take place every 4th Thursday of the month. Each month features a new topic, new presenters and panelists. Some of the upcoming topics are:

  • How to Market Your Department
  • Planning for Public Works Week
  • Scalable Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS)
  • Culvert Failures
  • Young Professionals in Public Works

In February, the NEAPWA Education Committee will be hosting Selling Your Capital Improvement Projects to Elected Officials and the Public. To register today, click here.
In Case You Missed It: Social Media as Easy as 1,2,3 Webinar Video
On January 19th, the T2 Center hosted a virtual webinar, Social Media as Easy as 1,2,3, with special guest Adam Howell, a communication specialist at Cornel Local Roads. Adam presented the basics of social media and how it can benefit your public works department.

In case you missed it, the video of the webinar is now available for you to view.
Additional Resources:

Beat the Cold: Working in Winter Weather Video Presented by the Nevada Local Technical Assistance Program
If you work in an area with harsh winter conditions, such as low temperatures, snow and ice, or in a remote location, this video is for you.
Follow Us!
Along with our Facebook page, the T2 Center now has an Instagram page! Click on the icons below to like the T2 Center on Facebook and follow the T2 Center on Instagram!
Visit T2Center.uconn.edu for more information and resources.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for future Connecticut Crossroads topics, please feel free to email the designer Regina Hackett at [email protected]