Police Commission Complimented For Queen Street Safety Effort

Photo: Andrew Gorosko

Robert Geckle of 35 Queen Street attended the September 3 Police Commission meeting to thank the agency for addressing traffic speed concerns on the road which links Church Hill Road to Mile Hill Road. Since late last year, the town has installed five permanent speed tables on the southern section of Queen Street to hold down traffic speeds. 

A local man who has long pursued traffic issues on Queen Street thanked the Police Commission this week for its efforts in that regard, especially the recent installation of speed tables on the southern section of that street.

“Thanks for all your work on Queen Street,” Robert Geckle of 35 Queen Street told Police Commission members at their September 3 session. The Police Commission also serves as the traffic authority for the town and the borough.

“Thanks for helping Queen Street,” Mr Geckle said. “It’s always been about public safety,” he said.

Mr Geckle told commission members that it took “conviction and courage” for them to act correctly in addressing Queen Street residents’ concerns about the hazards posed there by speeding motorists.

However, the presence of the five broad speed bumps, known as speed tables, on the southern section of Queen Street has proved unpopular among some motorists, with those drivers honking their vehicles’ horns in protest as they travel over the devices, which are painted bright yellow for visibility.

Many people have pursued improved public safety along Queen Street for a long time, Mr Geckle told commission members.

“It’s an issue throughout town,” he said of similar traffic issues elsewhere.

“Thanks for doing the right thing,” Mr Geckle said. The speed limit on Queen Street is 25 mph.

At an August Police Commission session, a group of Queen Street residents told commission members that the presence of speed tables has effectively reduced traffic speeds on that road.

In response to complaints about traffic speeds on Queen Street, police conducted a traffic enforcement crackdown there in the winter of 2012.

During a 20-day period, police stopped 369 drivers on Queen Street for various violations. Those violations primarily involved speeding. Among those 369 motor vehicle stops, police issued three misdemeanor summonses, 166 infraction tickets, 155 written warnings, and 45 verbal warnings.

Also attending the September 3 Police Commission session was Dan Shea of 44 Queen Street, who has long pushed for Queen Street traffic safety.

Mr Shea noted that at a recent tag sale on Queen Street, a parked vehicle was struck by a motorist who had been using a texting device while driving.

Drivers who text while driving pose a serious public safety problem, he said.

Also, speeding is a large cultural problem in the US, he added.

Mr Shea told commission members that traffic traveling on Church Hill Road poses many public safety problems. Many motor vehicle accidents occur on Church Hill Road in the vicinity of a gas station at 47 Church Hill Road, he said.

Also, groups of schoolchildren who walk across the heavily traveled Church Hill Road to reach an ice cream shop at 51 Church Hill Road are engaging in hazardous behavior, he said. The area has few crosswalks.

Church Hill Road has effectively become an extension of Interstate 84 and the traffic that travels on I-84, he said.

Mr Shea told Police Commission that he would like to have I-84’s Exit 10 closed down to limit traffic’s access to Church Hill Road, adding though that he realizes that such a closure is not going to happen.

Mr Shea stressed that the high volume of traffic traveling on Church Hill Road “is ruining the center of town.”

While Queen Street is a town-owned road, Church Hill Road, also known as Route 6, is a state-owned road which is overseen by the state Department of Transportation.

More stories like this: Police Commission, Queen Street, speed tables


Diversion of traffic the real goal

Mr Geckle and Mr Shea have a long history of wrapping their objective of reduce traffic on Queen Street in a blanket called saftey. The fact are undeniable that Queen Street is one of the safest street in town with almost no accidents on the lenght of the road. What Mr Geckle did not mention was his visits to town merchants asking them to instruct their delivery truck to not go on Queen Street and to divert them to other roads such as Main Street, to Glover and Church Hill. Now Mr Shea says we should Close Exit 10 because of the traffic on Church Hill which then may drive onQueen Street. Mr Geckle also met with school transportation officals and asked them to divert school busses off Queen Street and to use Glover, Church Hill and Main Street because it would be safer. RT 25 Main Street has the most accidents of any road in Newtown. So the issue has never been saftey, Its always been reducing traffic and diversion. One only has to read years of Police Commission minutes to see how many times Mr. Shea has appeared and complained about the volume of traffic. Whats next on Queen a sign saying "Residents Only."
It is time to Restore Balance and focus on making all of Newtowen safer for drivers and pedestrians. No more special treatment for Queen Street, we all deserve equal protection. A starting point might be more enforcement and education. This activity of the Police Commission has dropped sharply over the last two years. Completing the sidewalks which would allow pedestrians the ability to walk the entire loop around the downtown would make things safer. Sidewalks at the courner of Churh Hill and Queen are long over due, as are safer sidewalks down Church Hill. How about the flag pole intersection, or the speedway on Toddy Hill Road.

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