Town Council To Consider Regulating Lawn Signs in Public Spaces

With multiple political lawn signs crowding traffic islands, street-side grass verges and other conspicuous public areas throughout New Canaan, local officials say they’re eager to figure out whether and how the town may regulate them. With Election Day rapidly approaching, it’s probably too late this year to solve the problem of over-proliferating lawn signs, according to members of the Town Council Bylaws and Ordinances Committee. 

Yet some sort of public service announcement is in order, according to Committee Co-Chair Steve Karl. “There are a lot of people who have looked at the number of signs and say, ‘What happened?’ “ Karl said at the Committee’s special meeting, held Monday in Town Hall. “This particular election is so competitive that there are more signs out than normal. And a lot of the separate candidates have their own people coming to town sticking signs wherever they think there are high traffic areas—off the Parkway, rotaries, that type of thing.

Consultant: Nursery Road Traffic Soars to 345 Vehicles from 8 to 9 a.m.

Traffic on Nursery Road soars to 345 motor vehicles on weekday mornings from 8 to 9 a.m., a “very distinct peak” caused by mostly westbound drivers skirting the log-jammed Merritt Parkway, officials with a transportation consulting firm said last week. Based on New Canaan Police data from early-June 2017, that heavy traffic starts to swell about 30 minutes before 8 a.m. and persists until about 30 minutes after 9 a.m. and represents “a very distinct peak” on Nursery Road, which also sees about 141 vehicles in the hour from 5 to 6 p.m., according to Michael Gallante of Fairfield-based Frederick P. Clark Associates. 

Though the firm must conduct its own traffic counts at different intersections in order to determine how best to address the sharp rise in traffic, there are “some existing conditions” along the area’s roads that likely will be included in recommendations for a future report, he said. “There is some vegetation that has overgrown on the side of the road, in some cases they are weeds, there are sight restrictions—if you go to one end of White Oak [Shade], there are some large hedges that you cannot see looking south when you come out of Nursery Road,” Gallante told members of the Police Commission at a regular meeting, held Sept. 18 at department headquarters. “We are going to make recommendations to kind of clear things up like that, that is in a way unrelated to the traffic condition but we are looking at safety conditions also.

‘A Big Safety Issue for Us’: Nursery Road, Area Residents Voice Concerns Over Heavy, Speeding Commuter Traffic 

Responding to concerns from residents that speeding commuter traffic on Nursery Road is creating a safety hazard, town officials on Wednesday said they would request a formal study to figure out how to best address the problem. Navigation apps such as Waze appear to be sending motorists stuck in Merritt Parkway traffic along Nursery Road—as well as Gerdes and White Oak Shade Roads—as a cut-through between Exits 37 and 38, officials said at the regular meeting of the Police Commission. According to Police Capt. John DiFederico, data from speed sentries shows that Nursery Road is getting a major spike from 7 to 9 a.m., where traffic rises from about 30 to 40 cars per hour to 200 cars per hour. For Nursery Road residents such as Charlein Megherby, the traffic on the street has been “horrible.”

“It really is a big safety issue for us,” Megherby said at the meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department. About 20 residents of the roads affected by the surge in traffic attended the meeting.

‘It’s a Great Town We Live In’: Councilmen Praise Public-Private Partnerships in Funding Waveny Trails, Platform Tennis Court [UPDATED]

Citizens’ generosity helped push New Canaan’s legislative body last week to approve taxpayer funding of projects that will enhance Waveny for two sets of park users. Members of the Town Council in approving bond issuances of $50,000 and $70,000, respectively, to improve trails at the popular park and to create a fifth platform tennis court—an additional requested for several years—cited donations from two private groups as reasons to move forward. Specifically, the Waveny Park Conservancy is matching dollar-for-dollar the town’s $50,000 investment in improving trails starting with those that run behind “the cornfields” (soon to become ‘Waveny Meadows’), and platform tennis users are contributing $35,000 upfront toward a fifth court. “Those two projects are just a great example of how lucky we are to have the public and private combination of funds because without the private part of this, we would not be able to get this done,” Town Councilman Steve Karl said at the group’s regular meeting, held May 16 at Town Hall. “With the trails, we are basically doubling the amount of money we are spending there, and in the case of the platform tennis court, it’s another $35,000 in.