‘We Are Angry, Sick of It’: Silvermine Road Residents Seek 25 MPH Speed Limit, Single Yellow Line

The speed limit along the mile-long stretch of Silvermine Road that runs down from Route 106 to the market and arts center should be reduced by 5 mph and it should have a single yellow centerline, rather than a double, homeowners told town officials last week.

Traveling south on Silvermine Road in New Canaan, October 2016. Credit: Michael Dinan

Traveling south on Silvermine Road in New Canaan, October 2016. Credit: Michael Dinan

The existing 30 mph speed limit is out-of-step with other, similar roads in town that have 25 mph limits, and Silvermine Road has become “is a speedway for contractors racing back and forth between Norwalk and New Canaan,” Mark Thorsheim told members of the Police Commission at their regular meeting on Wednesday.

Silvermine is very much a “walking community” and “pedestrian neighborhood” with “pedestrian activities” at the Silvermine Arts Center and with the market and eventual tavern re-opening, Thorsheim said at the meeting, held in the training room at the New Canaan Police Department.

“We are angry, sick of it,” he said of the 30 mph speed limit.

With that request, Thorsheim and other residents of Silvermine Road asked whether the newly repaved street surface could go back to a single yellow centerline.

“It hurts real estate values, that has been absolutely the case in communities like this where Realtors are told by buyers, ‘Don’t take me to my house on a double line,’ ” Thorsheim said.

“We are not 106. We don’t want to be 106. Many of the roads around here in town, of course they are double lines but they’ve got sidewalks. It’s a different feel. We have a country road. We have a country kind of neighborhood.”

Ultimately, commissioners decided to gather more information prior to voting on either request. They conceded that Silvermine Road appears to be right for 25 mph, though—heeding a request from town resident Andrew Deery, in attendance at the meeting—it may also make sense to lower the speed to 15 mph just in front of the arts center and market.

Regarding the single-yellow line, the commissioners decided to consult with the officials from New Canaan Department of Public Works to hear why a change appears to have been made and whether state statutes are a factor.

Police Capt. John DiFederico noted that 85 percent of motorists on the road now are traveling at about 34.6 mph or less. The DPW’s thinking could be that a double-yellow line serves as a proven speed reduction tool, as motorists who travel along roads with two lines feel that the roadway is more narrow and slow down as a result.

Commission Chairman Stuart Sawabini said that in order to make it a single-yellow line, all neighbors affected would need to weigh in publicly (it could be that the former line there was a double-yellow but faded by time, officials said).

Commissioner Paul Foley expressed support for a single yellow line, saying he used to live on Silvermine Road and considered it an integral feature.

“It was a very nice country road,” Foley said. “We moved there because it was a nice quiet neighborhood. I wanted to live on a single yellow line road.”

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Nov. 16.

5 thoughts on “‘We Are Angry, Sick of It’: Silvermine Road Residents Seek 25 MPH Speed Limit, Single Yellow Line

  1. The speed limit of 30 mph is close to being a realistic speed. Speed limits posted at the 85th percentile speed have the best compliance and lowest accident rates. Comprehensive studies of driver and speed behavior show that the 85th percentile speed is the safest speed to travel with the lowest accident involvement rate. Short of geometric changes to the road, speeds traveled will be within 1 mph of each other regardless of the speed limit. We need to dispense with the myth that lowering speed limits will reduce accidents. Generally wider roads with improved line of sight will reduce accidents. I don’t suspect the accident rate on this road is any higher than the average on a per mile driven basis.

    • Agreed. The speed limit should be raised to 35 – the 85th percentile speed, safest according to established scientific procedure.

  2. I live on Silvermine Rd. Honestly, I don’t think it will make a difference if the speed limit is changed to 25 or left at 30. The fact is, most cars go faster than 30 mph down this part of Silvermine Rd. In fact, I would estimate a great many drivers go over 40 mph. I have never seen any police speed traps on this stretch of roadway nor have I seen anyone – ever – pulled over for speeding. Posting an officer now and then to monitor for speeding would do more to reduce car speeds than any change in the posted limit.

  3. It might be a good idea to get the State to replace the missing speed limit sign at Silvermine and Clapboard Hill-Littlebrook Road. That might help!

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