Study Analyzes Toddy Hill Traffic Trouble
A traffic engineering firm that has performed a detailed study of traffic conditions on Toddy Hill Road has made a range of recommendations to the Police Commission about measures that could be taken to improve overall safety, potentially improve motorist sight lines, and improve visibility, including an improved pavement-marking plan.
Those recommendations come in response to longstanding complaints from some Toddy Hill Road area residents who have been urging police to better control traffic problems, including speeding, on that north-south town road, which many commuting motorists use as a shortcut while traveling between Sandy Hook and Botsford.
The southern section of the roadway is known as Botsford Hill Road. The two-lane roadway, which is 3.5 miles long overall, connects Berkshire Road (Route 34) to South Main Street (Route 25).
Traffic engineer Michael Galante, the managing principal of Frederick P. Clark Associates of Fairfield, presented the results of the study to Police Commission members at a September 3 session, which about 15 members of the public attended. The Police Commission is the local Traffic Authority. The Clark traffic study cost the town $5,000.
In the past, the police department’s traffic unit has conducted traffic studies of Toddy Hill Road, but those reports did not go into the detail of the current traffic study. The town commissioned the Clark traffic study following a May 7 Police Commission session during which some Toddy Hill Road area residents emphatically protested the traffic conditions occurring on the two-lane road.
Complaints about Toddy Hill Road traffic first surfaced at a May 2, 2017, Police Commission meeting. Early on that morning, a serious one-car accident had occurred on Toddy Hill Road, near Clear View Drive, galvanizing those residents.
A June two-way traffic count on Toddy Hill Road, north of its intersection with Long View Road, indicated that the street carried about 7,400 vehicles daily.
Some of the measures which the Clark study recommends already are in the planning stages by the town. The study recommends that:
*All traffic control and warning signs along the road should be replaced;
*New Stop signs and new stop bars on the pavement should be installed on each side road where it intersects with Toddy Hill Road along Toddy Hill Road’s full length. (The study does not recommend installing Stop signs on Toddy Hill Road, as some residents have recommended);
*A painted double-yellow center line and painted white shoulder lines should be placed along both sides of the road for its full length, or at least its northerly section;
*Toddy Hill Road should be repaved in the area lying between a new bridge at its northern end and its intersection with Quarry Ridge Road;
*Curve Warning signs should be installed on Toddy Hill Road in the area between Turnberry Lane and Quarry Ridge Road;
*Curve Warning signs should be installed in both directions along Toddy Hill Road in the vicinity of Settlers Lane;
*Speed humps should not be installed on Toddy Hill Road. (Some residents have suggested installing speed humps to slow traffic);
*The currently posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour should be maintained;
*Permanent electronic speed displays, which warn motorists when they are exceeding the posted speed limit, should be installed on both sides of the street in at least two locations. (The town has already purchased two such permanent solar-powered speed displays, which are planned for installation on Toddy Hill Road).
In response to the ongoing traffic complaints about Toddy Hill Road, police have greatly heightened their traffic enforcement there. Also, a large portable electronic speed display often is positioned on the road to warn motorists of their travel speeds.
In the past, after the town had received continuing complaints from the residents of Queen Street and Key Rock Road about speeding problems in their neighborhoods, the town had traffic consultants study how “traffic calming” techniques could be used to hold down traffic speeds. In both cases, the town installed “speed tables” on sections of those roadways — five on Queen Street and four on Key Rock Road. Speed tables are broad speed bumps that have a shallow pitch designed to have motorists observe the posted speed limit in the area. A yearlong drive for speed table installation by Pearl Street residents did not prove successful. Police, however, heavily increased their traffic enforcement there.
During the public comment section of the September 3 Police Commission meeting, Candace Slinko of Toddy Hill Road said she wants the painted stop line on the northern end of Toddy Hill Road, at its reconfigured intersection with Berkshire Road, to be “pulled back,” or moved southward, to create safer conditions for motorists who are waiting at a red traffic signal at that stop line. Some motorists traveling eastward on Berkshire Road, who then make a wide right turn onto southbound Toddy Hill Road at that blind corner, abruptly encounter those waiting motorists, risking a collision.
Carolyn Sepe of Toddy Hill Road recommended that the geometry of Toddy Hill Road near her home be modified to make travel there safer.
Police Commission Chairman Joel Faxon pointed out that altering the geometry of a roadway makes for a very expensive project.
Laurie Mapes of Toddy Hill Road said she drives on that street regularly and encounters motorists who are driving 50 miles per hour. “They speed,” Ms Mapes said.
Bill Duffy of Pilgrim Lane noted that on stormy, foggy nights, poor visibility makes it very difficult to see clearly while driving on Toddy Hill Road.
Patrick Ross of Toddy Hill Road said that street’s speeding problem is concentrated in the area lying between its intersections with Deerfield Drive and Clear View Drive.
Police Chief James Viadero said police will be reviewing the various recommendations made in the Clark traffic study with Fred Hurley, director of public works.
Mr Faxon said that some additional traffic engineering will be performed as part of the traffic study. He said that during the past year, Toddy Hill Road has received more attention from police than anywhere else in town in terms of traffic enforcement.