Outdoor Dining Season in Downtown New Canaan on Track for April 1 to Oct. 31

Town officials on Wednesday approved the installation of new concrete “planter” barricades for outdoor dining for the upcoming season. The Police Commission voted 3-0 during its regular meeting to allow for the barricades to be put in place from April 1 to Oct. 31. They’ll be placed on either side of the sidewalk “bumpouts” on the northern side of Elm Street, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. They will be “in the area from, say, in front of Rosie’s and then the area from Solé from the Playhouse westward past Chef Luis,” Mann told the Commission at the meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference.

Town: Consultant Finds that Gerdes-South Avenue Intersection Functions at Lowest Possible Level of Service

A New Haven-based consulting firm has found that the intersection of Gerdes Road and South Avenue—long backed-up with Merritt Parkway-skirting motorists using navigation apps at rush hour, causing safety and other concerns for residents—functions at the lowest possible level of service, officials say. Traffic engineers at the firm of Hardesty & Hanover have assigned a grade of F to the intersection on a scale of A to F with “F being the worst,” for westbound traffic in the morning, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. 

The same intersection functions at a level D in the afternoon, Mann told members of the Police Commission at their Feb. 21 meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. Yet in looking at how the intersection will perform over a five-year period, the consultants “came up with the fact that if they took nine seconds off of one of the legs, basically the northbound leg on South Avenue, and gave it to Gerdes, it would raise Gerdes from an F to a D,” Mann said, with C and D being acceptable and common service levels for such intersections. By transferring nine seconds of green light from South Avenue to the commuter traffic, “the queuing lengths on Gerdes would reduce from 700 feet to somewhere on the order of below 500 feet, which I think would almost put us before the intersection of Conrad Road ,and then prevent some people from shooting up Conrad Road,” Mann said.

‘People Are Just Not Stopping’: South School Crosswalk To Get Pedestrian-Activated Flashing Beacon

Saying the leadership at South School has flagged a safety issue for kids, town officials on Wednesday approved the installation of a second set of pedestrian-activated flashing beacons on Gower Road. The Police Commission about one year ago approved a set of “rapid rectangular flashing beacons” or “RRFBs” for a crosswalk leading from a Douglas Road neighborhood pathway to a playground at South. 

During its regular meeting Wednesday night, the Commission approved another set of RRFBs for a crosswalk located further east, near a parking area at the school. Public Works Director Tiger Mann, in seeking approval from the appointed body, said the new request came from both New Canaan Police School Resource Officer Shane Gibson and South School Principal Matt Kascak. Though the first set of RRFBs has been helpful is slowing Gower motorists, “the problem still is that cars are not stopping for kids as they want to try to come through the crosswalk,” Mann said. “And this is probably the major artery for walkers to South School to come down Gower Road and cross this intersection,” he said at the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.

Police Commission Takes No Action Following Sight Line Concern at Farm and Main

Saying the intersection works as-is, members of New Canaan’s local traffic authority will take no action in response to residents’ call for changes at the Main-Old Norwalk-White Oak Shade-Farm Road four-way. The Police Commission in December received at least two letters from residents voicing concerns about a picket fence recently installed atop a stone wall on the south side of Old Norwalk Road, at the intersection. Obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request, the letters note that the fence appears to violate two sections of the New Canaan Zoning Regulations (see pages 154 and 161 here). In a Dec. 6 letter to the Commission, Peter Cooley notes that the fence atop the rock wall is taller than allowed and also in a public right-of-way.