May 2020
Issue 72
In This Issue:
  • Safety Matters: COVID-19 and Speeding: A Dangerous Combination
  • Signal Spotlight: As Traffic Changes, Cities Adapt
  • Warren's Words of Wisdom: Are You Happy or Just Chipper?
  • Congratulations to the Winners of the 2020 Roadway Safety Poster Contest!
  • To Our Connecticut Public Works Family: A Video Just for You
  • Town Crier: Congratulations to T2 Student Employee, Chris Rojo You Graduated!
  • Innovation Station: UConn Puts Innovation to Work in Fight Against COVID-19
  • OSHA Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
COVID-19 and Speeding: A Dangerous Combination
It seems as though we have all read the news stories about the impact the current pandemic is having on life as we know it—quarantining, physical distancing, economic crises, and the obvious health and safety of so many. Unfortunately, another unintended outcome is the increase in speeding on our nation’s roadways, leading to serious injury and fatal crashes. The lack of traffic and congestion on roads, from our busiest highways to our local streets, has created an “open road” for those looking to live out their race car driver dreams. Many are ending up seriously injured or worse, or injuring or killing vulnerable users, and creating additional strain on both law enforcement and medical workers.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, many states have reported alarming speed increases, with some, such as Colorado, Nebraska, Indiana, and Utah, noting a significant surge in vehicles clocked at 100 mph or more. State police in Florida and Iowa are reporting drivers going 20 to 40 miles over the posted speed limit. In New York City, despite far fewer vehicles on the road, the City’s automated speed cameras issued 24,765 speeding tickets citywide on March 27, or nearly double the 12,672 tickets issued daily a month earlier. In Georgia, a police officer clocked a driver speeding down a local road at 103 MPH past a city park, a fire department, and an apartment complex filled with out-of-school children—all in the middle of the day on a street with a 45 MPH posted speed limit.

Connecticut is also experiencing an increase in speed and a rise in fatal crashes. Data show that during the month of April, at many locations, the percentage of drivers traveling faster than 80 mph has doubled and in some cases has increased as much as 8-fold when compared to preceding months of 2020—this includes locations where the speed limit is 55 mph. 
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].
Many other cities and towns are looking at technology as a means to combat the increased speed. Our Traffic Signal Circuit Rider, Tess Schwartz, has written the following companion article for this issue of Crossroads providing more information on traffic signal solutions. 
Signal Spotlight: As Traffic Changes, Cities Adapt
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every facet of our society, including how we manage traffic signals. According to UConn researchers, speeds have increased during the statewide stay-at-home order, as have the number of fatal crashes. Additionally, pedestrian pushbuttons have been eyed as a vector for transmitting the virus in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Several Connecticut cities are taking measures to address these issues by making changes to the way their signals operate. This is important as an FHWA study, Speeding Counts … On All Roads (2000), determined that over 50 percent of speeding-related fatalities occur on lower speed collector and local roads, which carry only 28.1 percent of the total vehicle miles traveled in the United States.
To continue reading 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] .
Are You Happy or Just Chipper?
by Warren Rogers, C.S.P.
Seems that every public works crew and tree company routinely uses the large tow-behind industrial chippers. Driving past the scene where these are at work can reveal some scary stuff about how they are used. The state DOT crews are usually decked out in all the correct PPE, face/eye/hearing protection, hard hats, no loose-fitting clothing.

On the local level, the observed safety practices can vary widely—less PPE, smaller crews, some young-looking crew members (don’t take offense everyone looks young to someone 65, okay 66…what I meant is inexperienced workers). Every year, workers with less than one year on the job have the highest number of fatalities/injuries.
Congratulations to the Winners of the 2020 Roadway Safety Poster Contest!
Earlier this year the Connecticut Training & Technical Assistance Center asked students from around the state to help promote roadway safety through art. Students in grades K-5 submitted their poster designs depicting how to be a safe pedestrian, bicyclist, or driver. This year we had OVER 340 entries! Submissions were reviewed by a panel of roadway safety professionals from the Connecticut Department of Transportation and other local Connecticut agencies, and a winner and honorable mention were selected for each of the three age categories; K-1 st grade, 2 nd -3 rd grade and 4 th -5 th grade.
K-1: Maison, Grade 1, Avon, CT
2-3: Gianna, Grade 2, Mystic/Groton, CT
4-5: Devikshaa, Grade 4, Avon, CT

Honorable Mentions:
K-1: Molly, Grade 1, Barkhamsted, CT
2-3: Aratrika, Grade 2, Avon, CT
4-5: Chase, Grade 4, Unionville, CT

If you would like to share this wonderful news with your community, click here .

Congratulations to all of the winners, and a huge thank you to all who have participated and continue to promote roadway safety in Connecticut.
We typically recognize and celebrate the winners in conjunction with the Annual Work Zone Safety Week Press Conference, but due to restrictions currently in place, the CT Department of Transportation was unable to hold the event so we were not able to recognize the contest winners in this way.   We are working on plans for celebrating the winners and their achievements once the restrictions have been lifted, so stay tuned! Until then, some towns are making special arrangements of their own to celebrate their winners. Great job Town of Groton Police Department!
To Our Connecticut Public Works Family: A Video Just for You
We at the T2 Center are honored to work with all of the Public Works professionals in Connecticut. You are the unsung heroes in our communities. We see you and thank you for everything you do for our cities and towns. You make Connecticut great!

For National Public Works Week, we created a video tribute for the CT Public Works
Community. Click on the picture below to view the video. Feel free to share!
Congratulations to T2 Student Employee, Chris Rojo You Graduated!
The T2 Center is happy to announce that our student employee, Chris Rojo has joined the University of Connecticut's class of 2020!

Chris graduated from the School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

Chris along with a team of classmates had to put together a Senior Design Project. Chris's team project was the Cove Road Mobility Project for the City of Stamford . You can read about the project here .

We are so very proud of you Chris. We can't wait to see what great things you will do in your future.
UConn Puts Innovation to Work in Fight Against COVID-19
Joe Luciani, director of UConn’s Proof of Concept Center, is laser-machining face shields to meet demand at UConn Health for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the struggle against COVID-19. Luciani’s center is located at the Innovation Partnership Building at UConn Storrs. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this state-of-the-art prototyping facility helped Connecticut companies develop new products. Now Luciani is working on producing as many shields as possible for health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic. He is working with industry partners and other UConn departments to send hundreds of face shields each week to UConn Health.

Watch the video below to learn more.
OSHA Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the Act’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a) (1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

To read more, click here .
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If you have any ideas or suggestions for future Connecticut Crossroads topics, please feel free to email the designer Regina Hackett at [email protected]