Town Turns Down Request To Remove ‘No Turn on Red’ Sign


Heritage Hill Road at Main Street in New Canaan.

Citing safety concerns, officials last week denied a resident’s request to rid one leg of a busy downtown intersection of its “No Turn on Red” designation.

Motorists traveling toward town on Heritage Hill Road cannot turn right at the light at Main Street. New Canaan resident David Kirby met with Public Works Director Tiger Mann to ask whether the “No Turn on Red” designation could be removed in order to improve traffic flow.

Yet the light helps ensure that motorists turning onto Main Street just below the intersection, from Locust Avenue, are unimpeded as they pass by Heritage Hill Road, officials said at the Jan. 18 Police Commission meeting.

“There’s nothing, really, to support this request,” Police Chief John DiFederico said at the meeting, held at police headquarters and via videoconference. “There’s no traffic back-ups, there’s no accidents—which is a good thing, we don’t want to create a situation where it’s more dangerous—but when there are accidents, certainly none are caused by a right turn on red. The challenge is if you are on Heritage Hill and want to turn that right, it is very difficult to see the oncoming traffic coming from Locust Avenue. You can certainly have a good enough line of sight to see the Main Street traffic, but when Locust Avenue has that green light and cars are traveling on a green light, it’s essentially from almost behind you and it’s difficult to see. So we don’t want to put people in an unsafe position when they turn right on red.”

Police Commission Chair Jim McLaughlin, Secretary Shekaiba Bennett and member Paul Foley voted 3-0 to deny the request. 

In order to accomplish what Kirby had asked for, the town would need to petition the state, which controls the intersection since it’s along Route 124, Mann said.

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, a guest at the meeting, said it’s “annoying” for train commuters to have to wait at that light, rather than making the right toward God’s Acre and the station.

“As an ex officio member of this Commission and as a former commuter, commuters get what the problem with that light is,” Moynihan said. (In fact, under the Town Charter, the first selectman is not an ex officio member of the Police Commission.)

Mann said it’s unlikely the state would grant Kirby’s request anyway.

“If it was just the intersection of Heritage Hill and Main it might be a different situation because the sight line seems to be adequate,” Mann said. “But Locust is tucked away so the moment that the light changes to offer a green to Locust, you can’t necessarily see anyone coming from there and it makes it much more difficult to see and I don’t feel the state would change this designation. So it’s very difficult to support the request.”

Foley, himself a career train commuter, said, “Much as I get it and I want to speed up traffic, but we’d just create another problem.”

4 thoughts on “Town Turns Down Request To Remove ‘No Turn on Red’ Sign

  1. With more building and increased traffic it would help drivers if there was a left hand light indicator at south ave and pine, and pine and main.

  2. How about the “promised” crosswalk on Heritage for the school kiddos to get to their buses safely and a the solar powered speed readers to slow down those going to their morning trains!

  3. The denial of this request is 100% correct. I get affected by this light at least twice a week so I know what the complaint is about. But as stated by the town officials, Locust is invisible to the Heritage Hill driver and an accident is all but guaranteed by removing the “No Turn On Red”.

    That said, why did the town/state get rid of the passing lanes on Smith Ridge between Country Club Rd and North Wilton Rd. It’s so annoying to stay behind grandma and the landscape truck at 35mph.

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