Town officials are petitioning the state to change the speed limit on Route 123 to 40 mph throughout its entire stretch in New Canaan.
As it is now, the speed limit is 45 mph from New Norwalk Road to East Avenue, then 40 mph to Michigan Road and 45 mph from Michigan to the New York state line, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.
Residents of upper 123 have asked Mann to request a reduction in the speed limit which at 45 mph “is a little bit excessive given the amount of traffic that is there,” he told members of the Police Commission at their April 20 meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department and via videoconference.
The request for a change in the speed limit on a state road such as 123 must come from the town’s designated “local traffic authority,” which is the Police Commission.
Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and member Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 in favor of the request for a reduction.
Police Deputy Chief John DiFederico supported the request, saying the neighborhoods near 123 are often “densely populated.”
“It is radically inconsistent to go from 45 to 40 and 45,” DiFederico said. He added that even though the northernmost stretch of 123 in New Canaan is wide and straight, the road narrows again just over the state line.
Officials also said enforcement of the speed limit will be easier if it’s just one number throughout all of 123, and that it could make it easier for drivers to grasp how fast they’re supposed to travel.
With that said, “Just because you are going to reduce the speed limit doesn’t mean people will behave,” Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said, “We don’t want unreasonable expectations.”
DiFederico said he also would like the town to petition the state to eliminate the passing zones on Route 123, saying that it’s a serious safety hazard for people with driveways located in the passing lanes of those zones.
“I just don’t understand how you are supposed to get out of your driveway,” he said. “To me it’s just incredibly dangerous and I don’t know how it is we’ve never had an accident.”
The officials decided to petition now for the speed limit change and circle back to the passing zones at a future date.