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Police Chief James Viadero said this week that after having met with regional planners for the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (COG) on the viability of the Main Street Streetscape Concept, local police officials now plan to meet with officials from the state Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Region 4 office on the matter.
The streetscape concept, which was developed by a planning firm for a local businessman, suggests a variety of ways to improve conditions for pedestrians along the central section of Main Street.
COG staff members suggested that local police officials discuss the streetscape concept with Region 4 staffers, who are based in Thomaston, rather than initially approaching the transportation planners at DOT headquarters in Newington, according to Chief Viadero.
A major question that police officials have involves whether the streetscape’s suggestions for enhanced pedestrian conditions would be practical measures to implement on Main Street, the police chief said. Main Street is a state road and falls under DOT’s jurisdiction.
In April, Police Commission members discussed with about ten members of the public the streetscape concept, which has been advanced by businessman Chris Hottois. The overall study covers the section of Main Street lying between Edmond Town Hall and the site formerly occupied by The Inn at Newtown, with a focus on the Main Street flagpole intersection.
Flint Ridge Development, LLC, commissioned the conceptual study by Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc, a Hartford-based community planning firm. Flint Ridge recently renovated a historic building at 33 Main Street that holds Dere Street, a restaurant/bar. Mr Hottois is one of the owners of 33 Main Street and a partner in Flint Ridge.
Proposed pedestrian enhancements would include installing curbline “bump-outs” to selectively narrow Main Street’s width to slow traffic and also shorten crosswalks; constructing “refuge islands” for pedestrians in the center of the street at crosswalks; and placing flashing lights at crosswalks to gain motorists’ attention about the presence of pedestrians there.
If the plan is fully implemented, the number of crosswalks along central Main Street would increase from three to six. The plan lists traffic-calming improvements, including the installation of textured medians and textured road shoulders along Main Street, as well as a large circular textured pavement area at the Main Street flagpole, in seeking to reduce vehicular speeds. Also, the number of parking spaces in the area would increase.
In late 2015, the Police Commission had a traffic consultant prepare a traffic study on resolving the traffic problems posed by the flagpole intersection of Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street. That intersection has the second-highest accident rate in town. In that study, Frederick P. Clark Associates, Inc, of Fairfield, recommended installing traffic signals, altering the geometry of the junction, and modifying some traffic patterns. Police Commission members, however, have opted to pursue various incremental changes at the intersection, rather than major modifications.
In January, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) endorsed the streetscape concept. The P&Z is the borough’s planning agency.