Town crews were out early this week painting the speed bumps on Queen Street school-bus yellow, to raise the visibility of the raised pavement at five spots along the length of the popular thru-road between the town’s commercial center and Wasserman Way. The street is distinctly less popular these days. The “traffic calming devices” in the road are not having a calming effect on the frustration levels of drivers, who must alternately accelerate and brake along the short unimpeded interstices as they prepare to clear one bump after another.
Over the past few weeks I have read with interest several letters concerning the speed tables on Queen Street. About nine years ago, shortly after buying properties on Queen Street, I attended my first meeting to discuss traffic issues on Queen Street. I left that meeting thinking that action would be taken.
The Police Commission, who approved five speed bumps on Queen Street, and Pat Llodra, who authorized their installation, have done a huge disservice to Newtown. It has negatively changed the character of the Borough and Newtown forever. The number of bumps is a clear indication that the primary objective was to divert auto, truck and bus traffic off Queen Street, not speed.
What started as a legitimate effort to calm traffic on Queen Street has now turned into a fiasco. First two speed bumps, then three, and now five are planned. Ten-mile-an-hour speed signs were posted. Now we learn that the Police Commission wants to make sure no driver can go more than 25 MPH in between the speed bumps. Do any other roads in Newtown have that objective?
A Queen Street resident is urging Police Commission members to have all five of the large speed bumps planned for Queen Street installed there to hold down motorists’ travel speeds as a pedestrian safety measure.
Late last year, the town installed three large speed bumps, known as “speed tables” on the southern section of Queen Street as a speed control measure.
In anticipation of hiring additional police officers next fiscal year, police officials are starting to plan for the police hiring process, which is a sequence of events required to bring new officers onto the police staff, Police Chief Michael Kehoe told Police Commission members this week.
At an April 2 session, Chief Kehoe said that depending upon how the town’s budgeting process for the 2013-14 fiscal year transpires, the police department may hire three or four additional officers.
Police Commission members have approved a request from Police Chief Michael Kehoe to start a second job as an instructor for Post University’s online education program in the field of criminal justice.
Commission members approved the chief’s request for secondary employment at a March 5 session.
Chief Kehoe told Police Commission members that the Waterbury-based university’s online program in criminal justice would provide him with flexibility in terms of his role as an instructor.
It has been a high-profile week for the Newtown Police Department. On Tuesday, Police Chief Michael Kehoe fielded multiple interview requests from news media interested in NPD’s arrest of a Bridgewater man for the murder of his wife 28 years ago. The arrest in connection with the decades-old cold case was a testament to the dogged investigations of the local department, the Western District State Police, and state’s attorney’s office.