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Post Road Tragedy: What Can Be Done?

Flowers, a teddy bear and balloons that read "You'll Be Missed" cling to the street sign at Westfair Drive and Post Road East, where, just four days before Christmas, Westport resident Sharon Broecking lost her life.

Broecking, 62, was hit by a car as she crossed the Post Road in a designated crosswalk shortly after 7 p.m. on Tuesday. And while her death is a tragedy, perhaps more tragic is the fact that two years ago, on Dec. 23, Westport resident William C. Ford, 49, was struck by a car as he was in a designated crosswalk near 1655 Post Road E., not far from Westfair Drive, around 6 p.m.

With two pedestrian fatalities in two years within the same area, questions of what can be done come to mind. But according to state DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick, there isn't much that can be done that hasn't already.

"More often than not, the cooperation of motorists and pedestrians would have prevented these types of accidents. Frankly, I'm not sure if there's any infrastructure change we can make to fix this problem," Nursick said.

"There are rules and laws in place that everyone knows, or should know, when using that infrastructure, and when people don't abide by the rules, accidents happen and tragically, people get hurt or killed."

Nursick said adding more signs wouldn't necessarily hurt, but then again, signs only work if people read them and "we know there is plenty of signage out there that is ignored on a daily basis”

As for installing a pedestrian-activated traffic signal, Nursick said neither location is ideal for that and a signal  might cause more problems than it would solve.

"People have to step up and take responsibility," he said. "We can provide the best infrastructure we can, but if we don't have the cooperation of the public, the battle is somewhat in vain."

What do you think should be done to improve pedestrian safety on Post Road East? Share your ideas below and be sure to check back with The Daily Westport for more on this story as it developes.

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