Facility: Make crosswalk safer – Nursing home says crossing is dangerous
MILFORD – No one at The Elms Center was surprised when a fellow employee was knocked to the ground by a car in front of the nursing home early in December.
Over the years, employees say, there have been accidents and several near misses because drivers tend to be oblivious to pedestrians in the Elm Street crosswalk.
The victim was Barbara Salvas, the nursing home’s food service manager. She went to the selectmen’s meeting on Dec. 28 with several co-workers to ask that something be done to make the crossing safer.
Many of them cross the road each day because they park in rented space in the Share Outreach parking lot.
"It’s a danger to our employees and other citizens using the crosswalk," said Brian Murphy, The Elm Center’s administrator, whose office window looks onto the street.
"Vehicles are not stopping," he said, and if they do stop, cars behind them move around and try to pass.
The Milford Ambulance Service building is on the other side of the street, and cars often don’t even stop for ambulances when their lights and sirens are on.
"The signs are not adequate," Murphy said. "We plea to the town to do something more."
Salvas, who has worked at The Elms for about 14 years, said she had a close call once before the accident, "so I’m very, very observant. … But you’re at their mercy."
Three or four years ago, she said, a woman was hit by a car there and suffered a permanent brain injury.
Carol Reynolds, the director of nursing, said she once saw two employees "struck in broad daylight."
"It’s terrifying," she said. "I’ve seen police go right through" without stopping for people. "Every day people are just flying down the street."
Because of safety concerns, Reynolds said, the nursing home had to stop allowing its residents to walk to nearby stores and to the community garden at Share.
"We are really begging for something to be done," Reynolds said.
Possible solutions discussed included eliminating that crosswalk and having employees using the crosswalks down the road, or starting a system of orange crossing flags that can be picked up and brought to the other side of the street. Selectmen then voted to send the problem to the town’s Traffic Safety Committee.
Town officials seemed to agree that more signs were not the answer. Milford Police Chief Michael Viola said he would assign an officer on foot patrol to the intersection. State law requires vehicles to stop when pedestrians are in crosswalks and forbids them from driving around the stopped cars.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.