Selectman Corbet Calls for Town’s ‘Traffic Calming’ Group To Reconvene Public Meetings

Citing an ongoing need for traffic improvements at Route 106 and Carter Street, Selectman Kathleen Corbet this month called for a group of public works, safety and parking officials to reconvene their regular meetings. 

The ‘Traffic Calming Work Group,’ whose members in the past have included the public works director, police deputy chief, fire chief and representatives from emergency response and parking, and “been in place for a number of years” before discontinuing its public meetings in the summer of 2020, Corbet said during the Board of Selectmen’s most recent regular meeting. “I think over COVID that sort of work has still been going on, but sort of the formal meetings that we’ve had on a monthly or every-other-month meeting, I’d like to recommend that we reinstitute so that there is more public participation,” Corbet said during the Oct. 5 meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. She referred to a work group that last met July 13. During that meeting, as it intermittently for a number of years, the group discussed problems at the intersection where Canoe Hill Road and Carter Street come into Silvermine Road, which doubles at that stretch as state Route 106. 

New Canaan has petitioned the state in the past for a stop light or four-way intersection there three or four times, and those requests have been denied, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. 

Corbet flagged the problem at a selectmen meeting last month, and since then the intersection has seen two more crashes, she said.

Town Fields Complaint of Northbound Traffic on Ponus Ridge Running Stop Sign

Town officials say they’ll place additional markers at a heavily trafficked three-way intersection after receiving complaints about cars running a stop sign there. Northbound traffic on Ponus Ridge isn’t seeing the stop sign on the far side of the bridge over the Merritt Parkway, at the intersection of Jelliff Mill Road, according to a complaint fielded by Police Deputy Chief John DiFederico. One reason may be that since the road was resurfaced, a ‘Stop’ bar that had been on the pavement itself hasn’t been repainted. During a meeting last week of the Traffic Calming Work Group, DiFederico said he told the complainant that the stop sign “is kind of unnatural, given the intersection, and people are not anticipating it therefore seemingly go through it.”

“But I told him we would work on getting the stop bar repainted and perhaps look into painting a ‘Stop Ahead’ on the road or something to see if we can get some more attention drawn to the stop sign for northbound traffic,” DiFederico said at the July 13 meeting, held via videoconference. 

Public Works Director Tiger Mann said he would consider putting a marker on the pavement next to a ‘Stop Ahead’ sign south of the overpass. 

“And maybe the sign needs to be enhanced,” Mann said. “We can take a look, see if the reflectivity is gone and if we need to replace it.”

DiFederico said the stop sign at the intersection itself is visible from the north “but it’s not very high in the air.”

“Maybe get it a little bit taller, get it up in the air a couple more feet might help,” he said.

Town Fields Request for Additional Stop Sign ‘South of the Y’

Town officials said last week that they’ll study traffic at an intersection in the “South of the Y” neighborhood that’s become busier during the morning rush as a result of New York City-bound motorists seeking back-road shortcuts. 

New Canaan Police Deputy Chief John DiFederico said he received a request for an additional stop sign at Conrad Road and Whiffle Tree Lane. As it is, only motorists on Whiffle Tree have a stop sign as the approach the intersection. 

“That area does get quite a bit of cut-through traffic, at least Conrad Road does, particularly in the morning, that traffic trying to avoid Gerdes and the traffic light [at South Avenue],” DiFederico said during a July 13 meeting of the Traffic Calming Work Group. The team of police, fire, public works and parking officials field requests for traffic calming and make recommendations to the Police Commission. “It is a very wide intersection, too, so I don’t know what we could really do there,” DiFederico said at the meeting, held via videoconference. “We may just kind of have to evaluate and put traffic counters out there and see what we have for volume.

Sight Line Improvements Underway at Route 123 and Michigan Road

More than one year after local public safety officials raised the problem with the state, work is getting done to improve sight lines at a notoriously dangerous intersection. 

Trees already have been cleared from the east side of Smith Ridge Road below Michigan Road, and the rest of the project should be finished by Saturday, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. The intersection of state Route 123 at Michigan—site of serious motor vehicle crashes in recent years—long has offered poor sight lines for motorists southbound on Route 123, and those traveling on the state road northbound have poor sight lines for those trying to enter it. Mann said during Monday’s meeting of the Traffic Calming Work Group—an administrative team of public works, police, fire and parking officials that fields requests for traffic calming—that workers had “cleaned up the whole area” and removed dirt from a large rock along 123. The plan is “to work the week and hopefully be done by Saturday and have that whole thing dressed up and cleaned up,” Mann said during the meeting, held via videoconference. 

Following two serious crashes at Smith Ridge and Michigan Roads in early 2019, traffic officials requested that the Connecticut Department of Transportation conduct a study of the area. Two months later, two people were taken to the hospital following another major collision there.

Town To Make Case for Left-Turning Lane at 106 and Farm

Saying the intersection backs up badly during the morning rush, town officials are planning to make a case to the state to create a left-turning lane at Old Stamford and Farm Roads. Southbound traffic on Old Stamford Road backs up heavily because vehicles waiting to make a left onto Farm make it impossible for those seeking to continue down the state road toward the Merritt Parkway to pass, according to members of an administrative team that fields requests for traffic calming in New Canaan. 

The town did request the turning lane once but was “denied based upon the width of the roadway,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann said during a meeting of the Traffic Calming Work Group, held Monday via videoconference. “We could probably try to circle back given now the problems that we’ll probably anticipate come September, with more people wanting to drive or drop off their children and not take the bus,” Mann said. “So we might have to revisit that as well. We might have to go out there and take some measurements and prove that we can get a turning lane in.