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Residents Raise Concerns About Hazardous Traffic

In their role as the town/borough traffic authority, Police Commission members hear from many residents about traffic safety problems on local roads.

At a September 3 session, commission members heard about problems on several town center roads, as well as problems on the outlying Brushy Hill Road.

Resident Richard English of 3 Curry Drive told commission members about problems in that area. Curry Drive is a dead-end street that extends from Currituck Road.

Currituck Road serves as a “cut-through” street for motorists driving between Main Street and Route 25 in Brookfield, he noted. He especially urged that police enforce speed limits on the section of Currituck Road lying between its intersections with Main Street and The Old Road. A heightened police presence is needed there, he said.

Additionally, Mr English said that motorists speed on the section of Route 25 lying between the town’s war memorial and Route 25’s intersection with Reservoir Road.

He suggested that police regularly use radar and also use travel-speed displays there as ways to enforce the traffic speed laws.

 Mr English also said that the volume of “wide load” truck traffic traveling on Main Street (Route 25) through the town center has increased. He urged that police promote having such wide-load trucks enter local roads at Exit 11 of Interstate 84 and then travel via Wasserman Way to Route 25, rather than entering local roads at Exit 9.

Mr English said he often sees truckers who are driving heavy commercial vehicles speaking on handheld cellphones in violation of the law.

He added that although five broad speed bumps, known as speed tables, have been installed on Queen Street as a way to lower travel speeds, he does not support such measures for the problem areas that he mentioned. Speed bumps pose a hazard and a nuisance, he said.

The installation of speed bumps on Queen Street should not serve a s model for solving traffic problems in other areas, he said, adding that each area is unique.

Police using speed-detection radar is a more effective enforcement method than speed bumps, he said. He  suggested that radar enforcement be used on cut-through roads including The Boulevard, Schoolhouse Hill Road, and Elm Drive.

Mr English presented commission members with a detailed list of traffic issues and his recommended solutions.

Resident Cris Fadus of 5 Sunset Hill Road told commission members that there are serious sight line issues for motorists who seek to enter Currituck Road from Sunset Hill Road. The narrow, winding Sunset Hill Road links Currituck Road to Hanover Road.

“It’s hazardous,” Ms Fadus said.

Vehicles traveling northward on Currituck Road and approaching its intersection with Sunset Hill Road are accelerating, making entering the low-visibility intersection from Sunset Hill Road hazardous, she said.

“Please look into it,” she said.

Local traffic conditions are getting worse, she said. More traffic is using local roads, that traffic is traveling faster, and there are more distracted drivers than before, she said.

Ms Fadus said she wants police to patrol the Currituck-Sunset area as a deterrent to speeding.

Resident Sandra Smith of 6 Sunset Hill Road said she wants better traffic safety on Currituck Road, noting that Currituck Road is a main road.

Traffic safety improvements need to be made as soon as possible, she said.

 In another traffic matter, resident Frank Corigliano of 174 Brushy Hill Road urged that a traffic hazard warning sign be posted on northbound Brushy Hill Road near 170 Brushy Hill Road, where a fatal motor vehicle accident occurred in mid-August.

Police Chief Michael Kehoe said that a traffic warning sign had been posted there, but that it had been stolen.

In the August 14 nighttime accident, the motorist went off a curve in the road and struck a massive stone wall.

The site is a hazardous place where many accidents have occurred, Chief Kehoe said. The police department’s traffic unit is investigating, he said.

Mr Corigliano urged that a traffic hazard warning sign and some reflectors be installed in the area to alert motorists of the danger.

Police will work to improve travel safety in that area, Chief Kehoe responded.

Of the traffic concerns raised by Mr English, Ms Fadus, and Ms Smith, Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico said that excessive speed is an issue across town, stop signs are often violated by motorists, and the illegal use of handheld cellphones and texting devices is common.

“This behavior is unacceptable…Chief, we have got to increase our (traffic) enforcement.”

Drivers often greatly exceed posted speed limits, Mr Mangiafico said.    

Police enforcement of traffic violations must increase to the point where people conform with the traffic laws, the chairman said.

Police Commission member Joel Faxon noted that the number of “traffic stops” made by police for enforcement has been increasing following the 12/14 shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

However, the number of such traffic stops remains much lower than the number of stops that police made before 12/14, he said.

Although the number of traffic stops has been rising, it needs to rise faster, Mr Faxon said.

“It (traffic enforcement) really does have to be looked at on a comprehensive basis,” he said.         

Comments

Traffic

Really? Move more trucks to Exit 11 in Sandy Hook? We have enough traffic on Rte 34. Many Many Many tractor trailers speeding down the hills and taking turns to wide! TO even suggest that they move more to Rte 34 is unbelievable.

Currituck

Problems on Curritcuk should not come as a surpoirse tothe Police Commission. Its much longer than Queen and thus drivers can really crankthe car up. Other similae roada are Poverty Hollow and Toddy Hill. Not to mention Main Street and Sugar, and Elm. The questionfor the Police Commission is now waht. They made it clear that their standard is to prevent auto from speeding, period. Currituck has now checked in, will they get Equal Protection or is Queen Street really gettying special treatment.

Is There Really Such a Big Problem

While I don't appreciate people whipping past my house either, I can't help but think two things:
1. Will signs and the threat of traffic stops deter kind of people who really do drive dangerously and steal speed signs, or will they mostly inconvenience the other 99% of us.
2. Not knowing the folks who were quoted in the article, I couldn't help but speculate that they're also grumbling about "those young people and their rock-and-roll music," as well as just about anything that falls outside their own image of how things should be.

Can most of us drive slower and safer? Undoubtedly, the answer is yes. But is this such a huge problem that it's worth taking up all the time and attention that is does? I don't think so.

Not such a big problem: mostly the grumblings of a few

Very well said, it is much the same story as it has always been: people who are going to speed and drive dangerously aren't going to be deterred by signs. Increased police and radar presence is mostly going to inconvenience residents and spend town resources only to yield very little results. From time to time we step things up on speed enforcement, it might make drivers more cautious for a few weeks, but speeders ultimately resume their typical driving behavior following those few weeks. Travelers know where the radar and cops sit, they know where to look. Increasing those types of things will only slow people down until they're around the corner and out of sight. The reality is we're bisected by two main routes, we have a high level of people passing through each day as part of their commute and since December we've also become a bit of a pilgrimage site. Signs for purposes of warning for dangerous areas, blind turns and things to that effect in known problematic areas might be helpful, but generally the rest is rather rubbish and seems entirely to be grumblings. Everyone in town knows its a problem, most of us aren't so saintly on the road to begin with ourselves. I agree with the above, the measures suggested involve a great deal of time and attention, not to mention a drain on town resources. You can't control every individual driver that comes through town. To try would be both unrealistic and a misappropriation of our towns resources.

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