To the Editor:
I have been alerting Newtown residents for years that the objective of Queen Street residents was, in addition to speed control, significant traffic reduction. However when the Police Commission installed two, then three, and then five speed bumps the public was lead to believe that traffic diversion and reduction wasn’t significant.
Now under the Freedom of Information Act we have learned the opposite. Traffic on Queen Street has been diverted by almost 1,800 vehicles per day. The tests showed a reduction of 12 percent after only two speed bumps were installed. The commission failed to test the diversion after three permanent spend bumps were installed, and proceeded to install another two. Those results were available on November 4th yet were not made public. The Police Commission did not discuss these dramatic diversion results according to Chairman Mangiafico. He said he did not see any reason to be concerned.
Traffic data reported on November 4th indicated that of the 1,800 reduced vehicles on Queen, none appeared diverted to Glover; in fact the report claimed that traffic on Glover was also reduced by 500 vehicles. So a total reduction and diversion of over 2,400 vehicles a day, and the commission has no idea where they have gone, nor have they asked or seem to care. So as the children’s books asks “Where’s Waldo.” It is clear the Police Commission does not care as long as they achieved their objective of reducing traffic on Queen Street by diverting 35 percent of its traffic to neighboring streets.
After three speed bumps were installed one Police Commissioner said that their objective of speed reduction had been met, yet two more bumps were installed. The Police Commission clearly had the data to predict that massive traffic diversion would occur. It is clear that speed was not the only objective, dramatic reduction and diversion of vehicles was a primary goal. Queen Street solved their problem by forcing almost 1,800 drivers to take alternate routes to get into and out of the center of town.
It is time for the commission to reverse course, fix the problem they created and focus on ways to manage speeders without diverting traffic to other residential street. Three years ago the former Police Commission chairman had budgeted money to have a consulting firm study how speed could be calmed without diverting traffic. Instead the money was used to engineer five speed bumps with no concern about traffic diversion.
Most resident know by now that some very prominent political appointees live on Queen Street. They have lobbied the Police Commission, the first selectman and other elected officials for these changes and now they must ask the Police Commission and first selectman to fix the problem they created. (Unless that was really their original objective.) Reducing vehicle speed is one thing, diverting traffic to neighboring streets is another! All residents deserve equal and fair treatment, not just Queen Street residents.
12 Glover Avenue, Newtown January 29, 2014