Resident Voices Traffic Safety Concerns at Weed and Elm


Approaching Elm Street from Weed Street northbound. Credit: Michael Dinan

Town officials say they’ll see whether it’s possible to move the line instructing motorists to stop at the top of Elm Street closer to Weed Street, following concerns from a longtime resident of the intersection that limited sight lines risk serious car crashes.

Mike Field told members of the Traffic Calming Work Group at their Sept. 17 meeting that Elm Street’s westbound motorists “feel obliged to stop short because that is where stop sign is, but you absolutely not see anything from there.”

“So what happens is, people coming along going southbound on Weed, they think they have right of way over all that space between that stop sign and the area in front of it,” Field said at the meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department. “And a lot of people don’t slow down, and a lot of the screeching and breaking and swearing comes from the fact that somebody is trying to creep forward, and somebody else who is not really visible until they get pretty close to the top of the hill there starts blasting their horn.”

Composed of members of the Police, Fire, Parking and Public Works Departments, the Work Group is an administrative team that fields requests for traffic calming and advises the Police Commission. 

Field suggested installing stop signs for Weed Street traffic at Elm, saying “that would stop people who are barreling down Weed Street trying to get to work or coming into town and I don’t see anybody slowing down.”

Yet there are already stop signs the Frogtown Road intersection nearby, and it’s dangerous to try and use stop signs to slow down traffic, according to Police Deputy Chief John DiFederico, a member of the Work Group.

“The problem with putting a stop sign where it really doesn’t belong is that it gives people a false sense of security,” he said. “And when you’re driving and you come to a stop sign that is really out of place, you tend to not stop for it or you miss it or roll through it, so it’s not going to necessarily solve that problem of the constant traffic coming south on Weed Street. And also, with Connecticut statute, you are required to stop at the stop bar but you are also required to proceed safely, so you are requested to stop a the stop bar slowly inch out so you can enter traffic on Weed Street safely. slowing inch out to inch out to enter traffic on Weed.”

Traffic and accident data at the intersection doesn’t point to a safety problem, DiFederico said. 

Field said the near-misses there are “a dramatic daily event.”

Public Works Director Tiger Mann said, residents who enter Weed Street from Woods End Road fear that installing a stop sign for southbound motorists will back up traffic past their street, making it difficult to get out.

However, the Work Group could request a traffic study that would see whether it’s possible to move up the stop bar for Elm Street traffic, Mann said.

DiFederico said, “We will take it under advisement and if can be done, we will do it.”

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