Town police have received approval for an almost $17,000 grant, and plan to use the money for traffic speed enforcement now through the end of September, and also to acquire some new radar-based speed detection equipment.
Lieutenant Christopher Vanghele said August 15 police received word on August 13 that the state Department of Transportation’s (DOT) High-Risk Rural Roads Speed Enforcement Program has endorsed Newtown receiving the funds.
Police plan to spend $3,495 to buy some new radar speed detection equipment to replace older equipment, and also spend $13,400 to cover police overtime costs for specialized speed enforcement work shifts running from August 18 through September 30.
Lt Vanghele said that the speed enforcement will focus on state roads, on roads which have many motor vehicle accidents, and also on roads that have high-speed travel due to their use by motorists as cut-throughs or short-cuts.
Speeding along Main Street will be targeted, he said.
Speed enforcement there is expected to improve motorists’ compliance with crosswalk laws because slower-moving drivers are more likely to see pedestrians in crosswalks waiting to cross the street, he said.
State law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians who are standing in crosswalks and waiting to cross the street.
Also, police who are using radar speed detection equipment along Main Street would enforce any crosswalk violations which they witness, the lieutenant said.
At an August 5 Police Commission meeting, a Main Street resident urged that police heighten their traffic enforcement on Main Street, including speed enforcement.
Other problems listed for that area by the resident include traffic congestion, rude drivers, and the presence of “oversize load” trucks.
Lt Vanghele said police will use an electronic message board posted along local roadways to educate and warn motorists about the dangers of speeding during the six-week enforcement project.