New Haven mayor and officials took to the streets to address quality of life issues

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NEW HAVEN — Officials scoured the streets near Goffe Street Park Friday morning, traveling along cracked sidewalks and amid flowering trees looking for potential code violations and quality-of-life issues.

Mayor Justin Elicker said such walks, held regularly in recent years, allow multiple departments to come together to quickly address concerns and issues on the ground.

For him, it’s also fun, he said — a chance to interact directly with people and talk with them about the challenges they face living in the city.

“It’s a really good way to address issues directly and resolve issues quickly,” Elicker said. “(It allows us) to have a significant impact on a few blocks.”

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker takes a dangerous first step at a County Street home during a “Clean & Safe Sweep” survey of the neighborhood on Friday.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

On Friday, Elicker, joined by joined by Mark Stroud, a housing code inspector with the Livable City Initiative; Cynthia Rivera, public space inspector in the transportation, traffic and parking department; and a few reporters, walked down County Street, turning onto Whalley Avenue, along Hudson Street, then onto Sherman Avenue.

Along the way, the group noticed unbalanced bridges, broken stairs, scattered trash, and other similar concerns.

On County Street, the group met Pepe Haba, a landlord and substitute teacher in West Haven, telling him about the bars on his windows.

Haba said afterwards that he liked living in the neighborhood – Whalley Avenue and Goffe Street could be noisy, he said, but the neighborhood settles down at night.


“During the night it’s very quiet here,” Haba said.

On Whalley, they immersed themselves in BIM Service & Body Work. Amid the hustle and bustle of the auto repair shop, while Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” was playing, they spoke with some staff members, asking them to move a few vehicles that were parked on the sidewalk.

On Hudson, Rivera spotted a concrete barrel, chained to the ground, flipped on its side. She made a note to contact the neighboring owner; as a public space inspector, she says, she patrols half the city, looking for issues that cover the area from “sidewalk to street”.

Further down the street, Stroud saw a vehicle parked in a yard, the windshield covered in a layer of grime. It’s probably not driving anymore, he said, noting the condition of the vehicle and the way its tires were sunk into the ground.

Stroud said he has worked for LCI since 2006. As the party moved through the area, he chatted lightly with residents, waving to people as they passed. It takes time to develop the ability to notice code and other issues, he said.

“You have to have an eye for it,” Stroud said. “Every day is a learning experience.”

william.lambert@hearstmediact.com

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