Urges use of roundabouts 'to ease congestion'
Published 6:04 pm, Wednesday, June 4, 2014
To the editor:
Art Cummings' column on traffic congestion (see Page S1) should touch some raw nerves -- and brought back some memories.
Nearly 20 years ago, the Route 7 Technical Advisory Committee, appointed by then-Mayor Art Peitler, worked with the state Department of Transportation to make Route 7 look the way the town wanted it, rather than a standard state plan.
One thing we recommended was a northern crossing, using the existing Boardman Bridge. Our plan was simple. Use the bridge, so we would not have to get into the whole exercise of environmental studies for a new crossing. Then create a two-lane road over the hill, connecting with Van Car Road along Park Lane (Route 202).
Two things stood in the way.
For a start, the state's mandate to renew Route 7 ended just north of Veterans Memorial Bridge, so they could not make decisions.
In informal discussions with state officials, however, this mindset became apparent: Our plan was too simple. The state said they could not create this road because it would not meet federal standards for a 40 mph road.
We argued we just needed a crossing to relieve some traffic north of town, but the state insisted we had to create a major highway.
Now, traffic has gotten worse. Maybe the state should have listened.
On the bright side, with the announcement of plans to replace the four-way stop on Still River Drive with a roundabout, maybe the state will consider roundabouts at the intersections of Bridge Street at Youngs Field Road, at Railroad Street and, most importantly, at the intersection of Routes 7 and 67 and again at Route 67 and East Street.
All of these would ease congestion.
Roundabouts work well in Europe -- from the painted dots in rural England to huge 60 mph roundabouts throughout the continent. Even rural Vermont recently installed roundabouts on Route 15. Maybe it's time Connecticut caught up with the rest of the world.