Complex curb: Main Street entrance to Broadway Road to be closed off
Adjusting to change takes time.
And that’s what the Town of Trumbull is asking its residents for in the coming weeks and months — a combination of patience and a modification of driving habits when it comes to the intersection of Main Street and Broadway Road — as plans to expand the Long Hill Green business district continue to move forward.
Following an on-site meeting with several town departments Wednesday, June 22, the state Department of Transportation authorized permanently closing the northbound entrance to Broadway in an attempt to rectify a dangerous traffic situation that a newly installed curb created, drawing the frustration of Trumbull drivers throughout last week.
“The curb was supposed to be a traffic-calming modification to ease drivers into the transition that’s going to be taking place at that corner,” explained Public Works Director John Marsilio, who stressed that the site’s developer built out the curb to meet state approval requirements that were voted on five years ago.
“It ended up creating a confusing situation and so we all thought it was best to remove it,” Marsilio told The Times Tuesday.
While the curb is currently removed and no traffic changes will be imposed until after the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the town does expect to have chevron roadway warning signs to arrive in Trumbull by the end of next week— markings that, once installed, will officially mark the road’s closure before it eventually turns into greenscape, per the town’s 2014 Plan of Conservation and Development.
“As a consequence of the curb being removed, Public Works has been tasked with creating something that is more visible to drivers in the short term that will tell them that northbound entrance off of Main Street is no long a thru street anymore,” Marsilio said of the warning signs, which were ordered this week following an expedited permit request to the state Department of Transportation.
“The application that we submitted usually has a couple of days turnaround,” he explained. “And that’s why the change won’t be happening until after the Fourth of July.
“We want to make this transition as safe as possible,” he added. “That’s why the curb was taken out and all the signs were bagged because what was done initially made it all too confusing.”
Marsilio, who attended the June 22 site meeting with members from the building, planning and zoning, and police departments, said that the curb was initially built to accommodate residents who lived the two houses adjacent to the development.
“They can exit right out of their driveways onto Broadway and turn at Whitney to get out,” he explained.
“It was both the state and town who formed a consensus at that meeting to make things more simple there,” he said. “We looked at the state of the traffic at that time and decided to it was best to remove the curb and make a more permanent arrangement — and that’s what we agreed to do...
“It was a simple solution to a complex problem.”
Additionally, drivers looking to access the Long Hill Green shopping center can drive 150 feet, he said, and turn onto Whitney Avenue to park and walk.
“Once the project for the corner is fully approved, then that will solve all the problems there,” Marsilio added.
As Planning and Zoning Chairman Fred Garrity told The Times last week, “If approved, there will be no more road and that will ease the traffic issue.”
The decision to abandon the road was made years ago by the Department of Transportation and the police commission.
While the state and town have decided to reconfigure the applicant’s traffic requirements to create a short-term fix, the long-term solution remains the same: expand the Long Hill Green to allow for increased foot traffic in the area where the road currently lies.
The town currently has a Main Street innovation grant application submitted to the state which would secure $475,813 worth of funds that would go towards increasing the space Long Hill Green as well as connecting sidewalks to make the business district more accessible to residents in who live in surrounding neighborhoods.
“It wouldn’t be seen as a roadway anymore,” explained Rina Bakalar, the town’s economic and community development director.
“It will take time for people to get used to it,” she added. “But there is a long-term plan there and I know it will be really great for this community going forward.”