Broadway curb ignites social media backlash

A rogue business developer making changes to state roads with no authority or a necessary requirement implemented based on an approval from the police commission and Planning and Zoning Department?

That’s the question surrounding a recently installed curb that blocks the Main Street entrance to Broadway Road.

And while many theories continue to circle on various Facebook pages, all the voices in Trumbull combined can’t do anything to liquify the cement and remove the new obstruction that blocks drivers from driving alongside Long Hill Green toward Whitney Avenue.

“Who is the genius who is responsible for closing Broadway with almost no notice to the public? Were there any studies done as to the impact on Whitney/Main Street?” asked Stuart Wessler in the group Keep Trumbull Real.

Hours earlier, resident Tom Sciortino voiced his displeasure for the curb claiming that the town’s zoners “approved a shopping center without adequate parking.”

“Now it is the town’s responsibility to correct the developers mistake so now we will see how long before a major accident occurs on Main Street,” he posted.

According to Andrea Gottschall, three people have almost had collisions there in the last two days.

Theresa Doonan, who lives off Broadway, testified to that on KTR.

“[I] almost caused a major accident,” she said. “I was coming down Main and went to enter by Luigi’s where I always do, only to realize it was blocked so I did a major swerve and almost broadsided another car.”

The five-year curb

The Times was not alerted officially of the change from Town Hall or the police department; however, this much is clear: property owner Sam DeVellis is fulfilling a safety requirement that was imposed when his plans for the area were initially approved five years ago.

When reached for comment, Fred Garrity Jr., who took over as chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission in 2016, explained that the traffic changes were approved to be implemented more than half a decade ago by the town’s police commission and the state’s Department of Transportation.

“Clearly with multiple town departments, along with the state, the notification process to the general public — for safety awareness — could have been handled better,” said Garrity, who wasn’t serving as commissioner when DeVellis’ plan was approved.

Besides a sign that sits in front of the curb and reads “No Thru Traffic After June 20” to alert drivers, there hasn’t been any notification about what has been created on the road.

Garrity said that based on the state definition, the road is a “no thru street” — hence the sign.

“But what’s really been created is a faux dead end from both directions,” he said.

“But without a physical barrier, it can’t be labeled as a dead end,” he added.

“In this particular situation, the state DoT requires a ‘no thru street’ sign and the curb to be punched out.”

The pizza maker in question

Residents are still allowed to turn onto Main Street from Broadway Road at the intersection’s stop sign and can drive both ways on Main Street and Whitney Avenue.

They can also drive both ways on Broadway Road up to Franco Gianni's Pizza, located on 8 Broadway Road.

Despite how some social media posters feel, the pizzeria isn’t affecting the traffic change.

“When the police department was asked they said they have no knowledge of it whatsoever,” said Jim Finnegan in response to Wessler’s original post. “Curious how a pizza maker has the authority to make changes to a state road?”

The short answer is he doesn’t.

“The location being affected is Franco Gianni's, but the developer of the site is the one who’s responsible for the curb,” Garrity explained.   

Possibly not permanent 

The long answer to Finnegan’s inquiries is that there’s an application for an adjacent property that hasn’t been approved yet and that could end up closing Whitney Avenue to make it part of Long Hill Green.  

The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to hear that proposal Wednesday night and, if approved, the sign will be rendered temporary.

“If approved, there will be no more road,” Garrity said. “And that will ease the traffic issue.”