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 kcleveland@cabinet.com.