Slowing Traffic, Protecting Pedestrians: Officials Eye Three-Way Stop at Elm and Weed


The wide, often harrowing intersection at Elm and Weed Streets may get a traffic-calming measure by default next summer, officials say, if the town approves funds for a new sidewalk connecting the top of Elm to Irwin Park.

Residents have filed complaints with the town recently about the intersection itself, chiefly that motorists zipping down Weed are cutting into Elm by making that left-hand turn too sharply, according to members of the Traffic Calming Work Group.

The problem is exacerbated because of difficult sightlines for motorists pulling up to the stop sign at the top of Elm, who need to nose onto Weed in order to see who’s coming, according to Jim Cole, deputy director of the Office of Emergency Management.

“They are not leaving room for the car to get around them,” Cole said at the Oct. 14 meeting of the work group, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “That’s part of the problem.”

The work group meets every two months and includes members of the police, fire and public works departments, as well as Cole, who doubles as a CERT board member.

Right now, the only stop sign at the intersection is for traffic coming to the top of Elm, and residents have lodged complaints about northbound motorists accelerating out of the intersection at Frogtown (which is three-way), Capt. John DiFederico said.

What may soon happen, according to DPW Assistant Director Tiger Mann—and this all hinges on this upcoming budget season—is that the town may put in a sidewalk on the west side of Weed (opposite Elm) that runs up to Irwin Park (connecting pedestrians from the downtown to parks is one guiding principle of the recently updated Plan of Conservation and Development).

The DPW’s proposed capital budget for next fiscal year includes $100,000 earmarked for sidewalks (see page 32 here)—now that the town is wrapping up the Old Norwalk Road sidewalk extension, a small project on Mead Street and then this Elm-to-Irwin sidewalk are next up.

Should that latter sidewalk go in, pedestrians would need to get across Weed Street—the sidewalk right now is on the south side of Elm, and a three-way stop would be required to ensure their safety, Mann said.

“It would turn into a three-way stop there,” he said.

If approved by the town for the fiscal year 2015—and Town Council members have talked about bonding for it—work could get underway on an Elm-to-Irwin sidewalk next August.

Here’s where we’re talking about:

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