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Police Officials Pursuing Main Street Streetscape Concept

Published: May 15, 2017 at 12:00 am

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This illustrated overhead aerial photo depicts conceptual plans for measures intended to improve pedestrian safety along the central section of Main Street. The Main Street flagpole intersection is at the center of the image.  (Fitzgerald & Halliday…
This illustrated overhead aerial photo depicts conceptual plans for measures intended to improve pedestrian safety along the central section of Main Street. The Main Street flagpole intersection is at the center of the image. (Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc graphic)

Police Chief James Viadero said this week that after having met with regional planners for the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (COG) on the viability of the Main Street Streetscape Concept, local police officials now plan to meet with officials from the state Department of Transportation's (DOT) Region 4 office on the matter.


The streetscape concept, which was developed by a planning firm for a local businessman, suggests a variety of ways to improve conditions for pedestrians along the central section of Main Street.


COG staff members suggested that local police officials discuss the streetscape concept with Region 4 staffers, who are based in Thomaston, rather than initially approaching the transportation planners at DOT headquarters in Newington, according to Chief Viadero.


A major question that police officials have involves whether the streetscape's suggestions for enhanced pedestrian conditions would be practical measures to implement on Main Street, the police chief said. Main Street is a state road and falls under DOT's jurisdiction.


In April, Police Commission members discussed with about ten members of the public the streetscape concept, which has been advanced by businessman Chris Hottois. The overall study covers the section of Main Street lying between Edmond Town Hall and the site formerly occupied by The Inn at Newtown, with a focus on the Main Street flagpole intersection.


Flint Ridge Development, LLC, commissioned the conceptual study by Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc, a Hartford-based community planning firm. Flint Ridge recently renovated a historic building at 33 Main Street that holds Dere Street, a restaurant/bar. Mr Hottois is one of the owners of 33 Main Street and a partner in Flint Ridge.


Proposed pedestrian enhancements would include installing curbline "bump-outs" to selectively narrow Main Street's width to slow traffic and also shorten crosswalks; constructing "refuge islands" for pedestrians in the center of the street at crosswalks; and placing flashing lights at crosswalks to gain motorists' attention about the presence of pedestrians there.


If the plan is fully implemented, the number of crosswalks along central Main Street would increase from three to six. The plan lists traffic-calming improvements, including the installation of textured medians and textured road shoulders along Main Street, as well as a large circular textured pavement area at the Main Street flagpole, in seeking to reduce vehicular speeds. Also, the number of parking spaces in the area would increase.


In late 2015, the Police Commission had a traffic consultant prepare a traffic study on resolving the traffic problems posed by the flagpole intersection of Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street. That intersection has the second-highest accident rate in town. In that study, Frederick P. Clark Associates, Inc, of Fairfield, recommended installing traffic signals, altering the geometry of the junction, and modifying some traffic patterns. Police Commission members, however, have opted to pursue various incremental changes at the intersection, rather than major modifications.


In January, the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) endorsed the streetscape concept. The P&Z is the borough's planning agency.


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This Week's Poll

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is presenting or coordinating on six weeks of special events. Which event are you looking forward to the most? (Visit our Features page for a full story with details about all of these events.)

“In The Bag” exhibition, on view to September 28
0% (0 votes)
The Lords of 52nd Street concert, September 14
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Arts Festival weekend, September 15-16
33% (1 vote)
“An Evening of the Arts,” September 15
33% (1 vote)
“The Fox on the Fairway” production by Town Players of Newtown, weekends September 21-October 13
0% (0 votes)
“The Main Street Replica Project,” launching September 25
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series screenings of “The Blues Brothers,” September 30
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Photography display “In Our Rearview Mirror” by Marleen Cafarelli, et al, October 1-30
0% (0 votes)
“Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb” with Tinky Weisblat, October 3
33% (1 vote)
Newtown Day, October 6
0% (0 votes)
The 3rd Annual Newtown-Sandy Hook Restaurant Week, October 8-14
0% (0 votes)
Basket weaving workshop with Tina Puckett, October 13
0% (0 votes)
“Courageous Conversations in A Complex World,” October 17
0% (0 votes)
Live at ETH: David Wax Museum concert, October 19
0% (0 votes)
The 2nd Annual Fall Carnival at Fairfield Hills, October 19-21
0% (0 votes)
Connecticut Author’s Reading Series, October 21
0% (0 votes)
Natalie’s Open Mic, October 21
0% (0 votes)
“The Wordsmiths,” October 24
0% (0 votes)
Pianist Konstanza Chernov, October 28
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series double feature screenings of “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Beast with Five Fingers,” October 29
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 3