Traffic Concerns raised by Spring Glen Civic Association

Hamden Traffic Authority was very responsive to requests for traffic calming presented on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. More details to follow.

Traffic Concerns raised by Spring Glen Civic Association

Regarding Traffic Calming May 11, 2016

Traffic volume in Hamden is at an all-time high and the number of drivers obeying traffic laws is at an all-time low. The entire length of Whitney Avenue from Cheshire to New Haven is like a raceway. Rush hour speeds through Spring Glen Village reach 60 mph as aggressive drivers fight to get ahead of one another. Hundreds of schoolchildren walk to and from Spring Glen and St. Rita’s schools, with only four stoplights and crosswalks over fourteen blocks. Heavy trucks drive Ridge and Hartford with impunity to avoid State Street traffic, creating air and noise pollution in addition to speeding.  In a recent HPD study of traffic on Hartford at Vineyard, vehicles were clocked at speeds up to 73 mph! East/west cut-through streets such as Santa Fe and Ardmore are so crowded with commercial truck and school bus traffic and speeding cars, residents find it hard to get out of their driveways. Not to mention tall trucks taking down tree limbs on their way through.

Every day, we witness people driving at high rates of speed, running stop lights and signs, with no enforcement.  Hamden has become a town where people know that they can drive as they please with no consequence. Do we need to experience a tragedy before something is done to fix this?

Background

January 27, 2010

After years of ongoing complaints about dangerous driving conditions in our town, a Traffic Calming Workshop was held with presentations by South Central Regional Council of Governments, the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Fitzgerald & Halliday, Traffic Calming Consultants.

http://www.hamden.com/filestorage/43/79/Traffic_Calming_Workshop012710compressed.pdf

http://www.hamden.com/filestorage/43/79/Hamden_Traffic_Calming_-Revised.pdf

One of the most frightening statistics presented was “The chance of a pedestrian being killed by an automobile accident increases from 5% at 20 mph to 45% at 30 mph and 85% at 40 mph.” Various methods of speed and volume control were discussed. While expensive, Mayor Jackson indicated that funding could come from state and federal grants.

Residents were asked to meet within their neighborhoods to identify problem areas and what type of traffic calming measures were preferred.  Surveys were taken town-wide, and the results were presented in the following documents:

April 2012 Hamden East-West Transportation Study- Spring Glen and Whitneyville Neighborhoods

http://www.hamden.com/filestorage/7089/7093/7091/7135/HamdenEastWest-Final-041012.pdf

November 2013 Hamden Plains, Wintergreen and East Side Traffic Calming Study

http://www.hamden.com/filestorage/7089/7093/7091/7135/HamdenTC-112613-Compressed.pdf

The estimated cost of implementing these two plans was over $2.5 million, and did not cover the whole town. Some of the recommendations were already in place, such as speed humps on upper Waite (east of Ridge). A few recommendations, such as speed humps on Waite near Bassett Park, and Treadwell near DeNicola Park were installed. Ridge Road residents petitioned to have speed display signs installed and narrowing of the road. On Mather, zebra stripe crosswalks were installed. Brighter, reflective stop signs were added in several locations.  A stop sign installed on Thornton Street without consulting the residents was subsequently removed when residents protested the loss of on-street parking. Implementation of the plan stalled as opposition rose and budgets declined.

Traffic volume and speeds continue to increase through Spring Glen both on the north/south main roads (Whitney, Ridge and Hartford) and east/west cut through streets. Residents have written to Eric Annes, Mayor Leng, and Chief Wydra complaining about the speeds and running lights and stop signs.  Mayor Leng and Chief Wydra were invited to speak to SGCA members in December 2015, where they were told of residents’ concerns.  Chief Wydra wrote the names of the streets residents reported and indicated that he would be passing this information on to someone in the police department who could arrange for increase enforcement. Mayor Leng said “You will see some traffic calming measures have been taken in Spring Glen and in many other areas of town, and believe me there’s more to come”

We cannot wait any longer. We demand greater police presence and traffic law enforcement before somebody gets killed.  At the very minimum, the increase in traffic speed, traffic volume, and reckless driving negatively impact the quality of life for those living and traveling on our streets.  At a time when the number of homes for sale is at a high, property values in Hamden continue to decline, and we are looking at significant tax increases, the Town of Hamden cannot continue to ignore these issues.  People will vote with their feet and choose to reside in towns where officials do address such traffic issues.

Main concerns synthesized from sources such as correspondence and social media

  1. Speeding- both on north/south main roads and east/west cut through
  2. Increased commercial truck traffic on Ridge Road/Hartford Turnpike taking down branches, traveling at high rates of speed. Ridge has “No Truck” signs posted and ignored. Hartford in North Haven has “No Truck” signs, why not the Hamden section?
  3. Increased volume of east/west cut-through traffic
  4. Lack of cross walks and stoplights from Skiff to Waite
  5. What is the plan to address both speed and volume on neighborhood traffic when Skiff Street is down to one lane for several years for construction?
  6. What is the plan to address traffic on Mather Street with the addition of 400 housing units now underway? Assurances from Mayor Leng that further traffic calming will be installed to calm the ever increasing volume of traffic, but no specifics.

 

Recommendations

  1. We need aggressive traffic enforcement. We demand greater police presence and traffic law enforcement before someone gets killed.
  2. Fully staff our police department to numbers commensurate with towns/cities of similar size.
  3. More speed limit signs- at least every other block, in both directions.
  4. Speed Feedback signs.
  5. No Truck signs where appropriate.
  6. Town wide education and awareness public relations campaign to let people know that safe driving is expected in Hamden.
  7. Communication with the high school to address student, parent, and staff driving through the neighborhoods.
  8. Instead of police completing paperwork under a bridge or behind a building, they could be parked on the side of the street. Their visibility will make a difference.
  9. Pursuing grants to pay for traffic calming.
  10. Researching what other municipalities are doing as this is a nationwide issue.

We need communication and response from the town officials and we need to know “what is the plan”?