Beacon residents say car accidents involving pedestrians are becoming all too common
Leaders of a city just 70 miles north of New York City are trying to fix some congestion problems of their own, and much like New York's solution, Beacon's potential solutions have generated conversation.
The city has launched programs and conversations to make the city more walkable, but it has been a hard -- and at times dangerous -- transition.
"It grew a lot after the pandemic," said Karen Galdames, who recently opened a cellphone sales and repair shop at Main and South Elm streets.
Galdames said she sees -- and hears -- tire screeches and minor accidents regularly, and mused whether drivers are simply not used to coexisting with so many pedestrians.
"Some of them don't pay attention," she said. "So definitely, a pedestrian needs to keep an eye [out] for themselves."
Stephanie Nocera, who works on Main Street, said she has had a handful of close calls as a driver and as a pedestrian.
"Sometimes I have to break right in the middle of the road because you can't see who's coming," Nocera said. "It's crowded [with] cars and people everywhere."
Official minutes (notes) from several recent meetings of the city's Parking and Traffic Safety Committee included several emailed complaints and suggestions that residents have sent the board.
In response, the committee has considered repainting signs, adding signs, and adding removable speed bumps in areas based on the complaints.
Beacon police have responded to an increasing number of car vs. pedestrian accidents in recent years, including December 2021 accident in which a woman was struck and killed in a crosswalk at Main Street and Teller Avenue.
Police have run safety campaigns for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages.
The department has also increased rotation in problem areas.
As she was waiting for the bus on Main Street, Juditch Connell recalled a close call she had that a police officer witnessed, setting the stage for a teachable moment.
"I was in the crosswalk. The car almost hit me," Connell said. "The police were right behind him (the driver). He turned around and said, 'Do you realize you almost hit that woman? She had the right of way.'"
Parking and Traffic Safety Committee minutes also indicate the city council is considering new traffic studies, which could help determine the best campaigns and city code changes to improve pedestrian safety in "Little Brooklyn."