As a long-time resident of Newtown, there are many topics on which I could opine, but the one most on my mind now is traffic safety as students from K to 12 return to school. I am reminded, almost daily, of the reckless disregard for drivers using not only our state roads like Routes 25, 302, and 34, but local roads such as the road I live on, Juniper Road, and Elm Drive.
A small group of Queen Street residents attended a Police Commission session this week to thank that agency, which serves as the local traffic authority, for having had five permanent speed tables installed on the southern section of the mile-long street that links Church Hill Road to Mile Hill Road.
The town recently installed two new speed tables on Queen Street, bringing to five the number of such speed-calming devices on the north-south road. The town installed the initial three speed tables late last year.
I am wondering what the thought process was which had two temporary traffic lights installed in the Underhill Road area on Wednesday. Center Street is now closed to through traffic due to bridge construction on I-84, and local residents must travel the “long” way through Underhill Road to Alpine Drive, and back.
Town crews were out early this week painting the speed bumps on Queen Street school-bus yellow, to raise the visibility of the raised pavement at five spots along the length of the popular thru-road between the town’s commercial center and Wasserman Way. The street is distinctly less popular these days. The “traffic calming devices” in the road are not having a calming effect on the frustration levels of drivers, who must alternately accelerate and brake along the short unimpeded interstices as they prepare to clear one bump after another.
Over the past few weeks I have read with interest several letters concerning the speed tables on Queen Street. About nine years ago, shortly after buying properties on Queen Street, I attended my first meeting to discuss traffic issues on Queen Street. I left that meeting thinking that action would be taken.
The Police Commission, who approved five speed bumps on Queen Street, and Pat Llodra, who authorized their installation, have done a huge disservice to Newtown. It has negatively changed the character of the Borough and Newtown forever. The number of bumps is a clear indication that the primary objective was to divert auto, truck and bus traffic off Queen Street, not speed.