In response to the “No Left Turn” editorial posted in the NewCanaanite. Given the situation, I don’t find declaring a six-month trial a failure in two weeks in reasonable. I feel the sign is working and it and deserves the full six-month trial period the Police Commission unanimously voted for in January. The Police Commission took action because they recognized the threat to the safety and quality of life of New Canaan residents. The 1.2-mile stretch of roads passing through Marvin Ridge, Nursery, White Oak Shade, and Gerdes Roads are all significantly safer and quality of life has been restored along the route.
Installed with the best intentions and even successful in some ways, the new “no left turn” sign at Nursery and Marvin Ridge Roads is creating more problems than it’s solving and should be removed. It’s true that since a sign prohibiting a left-hand turn from Marvin Ridge to Nursery from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays went in nearly one month ago, some in the neighborhood have had relief from a surge in morning commuter traffic. The approximately 350 vehicles that had been using Nursery Road between 8 and 9 a.m.—including motorists using navigation apps such as Waze to avoid Merritt Parkway backups—posed a safety risk, advocates of the sign said. Yet a 3.5-year police history showed no reported accidents on Nursery Road from 2015 through 2018—that’s one data point cited by a professional traffic engineer hired by the town to study roadway characteristics, traffic volume and speeds on Nursery Road and make recommendations about how to help solve the problems there and on Gerdes Road. Ultimately, the engineer said, installing a “no left turn” sign would have the same negative impact as closing the road would.
Saying they feared the change could exacerbate safety concerns by pushing motor vehicle traffic near schools, town officials approved the installation of two temporary “no left turn” signs to ease congestion in a residential neighborhood during rush hour. Traffic on Nursery Road spikes to more than 300 vehicles between 8 and 9 a.m. on weekdays, officials have found—a result of New York City-bound motorists avoiding the congested Merritt Parkway. One proposed solution has been to prevent motorists traveling toward New Canaan along Marvin Ridge Road from turning left onto the top of Nursery Road in the mornings, as well as from turning left onto White Oak Shade Road from the bottom.
Yet doing so likely would only push cut-through-seeking motorists deeper into New Canaan, including to Old Norwalk and Farm Roads, according to a traffic study from engineer Michael Galante of Frederick P. Clark Associates, a Fairfield-based planning consulting firm. Even so, members of the Police Commission during their Jan. 16 meeting approved the measure 3-0.
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.
Town officials on Tuesday approved a $7,000 contract with a Fairfield-based transportation consultant as New Canaan tries to figure out how to change traffic patterns on a local road that’s used as a cut-through for Merritt Parkway motorists. By exiting the parkway at Exit 38, southbound drivers relying on navigation apps such as Waze snake their way into New Canaan and eventually land on Nursery Road as they head toward Exits 37 and 36, officials say. The road sees a major bump in traffic during the morning rush, from around 20 to 30 cars an hour to 200 to 300, Public Works Director Tiger Mann told the Board of Selectmen at its regular meeting. The swell in motor vehicles has created major safety concerns for residents of Nursery Road—as well as other streets that the commuters eventually traverse, such as Gerdes Road—and the town’s local traffic authority last month recommended bringing in a professional firm to “study and see what we can accomplish,” Mann said, “either by restricting routes, trying alternate routes, discussing with the application software individuals and then go forward from there.”
“They’re going to go out and study and take a look at various movements and see what is happening at those various specific times, to review our traffic data, get their own data. They can actually put out video cameras there to actually see what is happening as far as how much volume, where the cars are turning, things of that nature, instead of having someone there actually doing the turning movements we can put cameras out and leave them there for several days to a week and actually have someone come back and analyze that data.