Police Commission Approves Four Flashing Pedestrian Safety Signs for Bus Stops, Crosswalks

Town officials last week approved a proposal to install two pedestrian-activated flashing beacons at regularly used crosswalks that motorists tend to approach at speed, as well as flashing signs warning drivers of school bus stops at two locations in New Canaan. The “rapid reflective flashing beacons”—similar to the one already in place at Weed and Elm Streets—are to be installed at Kimberly Place and Elm Street and at the intersection of Old Kings Highway and Old Norwalk Road, where a crosswalk went in three years ago. Police Capt. John DiFederico told members of the Police Commission at their regular meeting that the department has received “numerous complaints from people coming out of the Kimberly [Place]-Seminary [Street] area that they they do not feel safe to cross there.”

And the relatively new crosswalk that connects Old Kings Highway to a trail that skirts Kiwanis Park and hooks up to a sidewalk that runs to Main Street downtown as well as Farm Road up to the schools “is getting a lot of use,” DiFederico said at the Sept. 18 meeting, held at New Canaan Police headquarters. Ultimately, Commission Chairman Sperry DeCew, Paul Foley and Jim McLaughlin voted 3-0 to recommend the installations. 

The solar-powered flashing beacons warning motorists of a ‘bus stop ahead’ will be installed on Wahackme Road, replacing one that had worked effectively in the past, as well as at a particularly dangerous area on Frogtown Road. 

DeFederico said the Frogtown Road school bus stop, located at the bottom of a curve and hill coming off of Weed Street, near a cemetery, appears to serve a private school in New Canaan.

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.

Police Commission Votes 3-0 To Push Canoe Hill Traffic Island into Laurel

Officials last week approved a plan to push a sometimes-ignored traffic island out of the roadway at Canoe Hill and Laurel Roads, addressing a traffic problem that’s been before the town for years. Signs posted on the small traffic island instruct motorists to stay to the right, and those coming from Laurel Road must yield, creating a rotary. Yet as it is, motorists traveling westbound on Canoe Hill face the non-intuitive prospect of going around the traffic island, which sweeps cars slightly to the right (toward Laurel) in order to continue on that road, which then jogs left. The road also feels wide enough to motorists on that approach that it should accommodate two-way traffic on the left-hand side of the island. By pushing the island into Laurel Road and installing a stop sign for Laurel traffic, officials hope to make Canoe Hill a true two-way street all the way through.

Officials Approve Road Closure Downtown for ‘Fall Into New Canaan’ in September

Town officials voted this month to allow a prominent nonprofit organization to repeat a successful charity event downtown in September. The Young Women League of New Canaan’s “Fall Into New Canaan” will be held on Sept. 8 in the area occupied in past summers by the Pop Up Park, following the Police Commission’s 3-0 vote approving a street closure for part of that Saturday. During its inaugural event last year, Fall Into New Canaan saw 50 stores participate by donating 10 to 15 percent of profits for the day to a chosen beneficiary organization (Meals-On-Wheels), according to Marley Thackray, president of the Young Women’s League. “We had a wonderful day in town,” she told members of the Commission at their regular meeting, held July 18 at the New Canaan Police Department.