|Proposed double roundabout on Main Street Extension.|
Presented by the DOT's engineer, William Britnell, the two formal proposals include a proposed solution to rid Rte. 9 of stop lights (Project 82-318), and to remove a stop sign at the Rte. 17 on ramp (Project 82-316).
Find more complete information here.
Britnell explained that the Rte. 17 on ramp was high on the list of DOT accident sites. The plan calls for a widening of the overpass over Union street to create a standard acceleration lane on ramp. In addition the plan calls for a redesign of the intersection of River Road and Harbor Drive, the conversion of Harbor Drive into a cul-de-sac and the construction of a double roundabout at the Main Street Extension entrance to the Rte. 17 entrance to Rte. 9.
Few in the crowd were concerned about the entrance ramp redesign, though former Planning and Zoning member Catherine Johnson noted that the double roundabout on Main Street Extension seemed to be a case of "over-design."
Roundabouts figured large in the proposed redesign of new entrances and exits from Rte. 9 to eliminate traffic lights from the highway.
Britnell explained that the traffics, which many in the city and state see as nuisances, create regular traffic jams, and are the cause of accidents.
|Britnell explains the proposed plan.|
Britnell conceded that there would likely be increased traffic at these exits and entrances, and associated increase traffic on Main Street, Washington and DeKoven, but he portrayed the increases as inconsequential. To mitigate increased traffic, and to promote pedestrian safety, Britnell and the DOT propose a series of curb bump-outs at intersections all along Main Street.
In addition, the plan calls for the construction of a pedestrian bridge from the site of the current city parking garage adjacent to the court house, over Rte. 9 and to the river. Britnell called the pedestrian bridge "a lovely space" from which to view the river.
|The pedestrian bridge.|
One of the chief complaints about the new highway bridges was that they would block the view of the river for a significant length along DeKoven.
Common Council member Gene Nocera expressed concern about the obstruction of view.
"I hope this project will be done creatively so as not to obstruct the view of the river," Nocera said.
|Washington Street roundabout and Rte 9 bridge.|
Another concern was the increase flow of traffic on Main Street and through other adjacent neighborhoods downtown. Business owner Rich Bergan called the plan another assault on the North End, which is already plagued by traffic problems. Dmitri D'Alessandro, a Main Street business owner also noted that the increased drive-through business would be a detriment to traffic and business, and that the Bridge Street neighborhood where he lives would be further isolated from the city.
Many who spoke indicated that they thought traffic would snarl on Middletown's Main Street, and that the curb bump-outs would only exacerbate the problems.
Planning and Zoning Commissioner Stephen Devote expressed an alternate view, urging the DOT to consider adding additional traffic lights to Rte. 9 to make it more like highways that run through cities like Manhattan and San Francisco.
|Main Street bump-outs.|
The DOT urged those who could not attend, or would like to raise questions, concerns or make suggestions to send those concerns by mail to: William Britnell, Transportation Principal Engineer, Department of Transportation, PO Box 317546, Newington CT. 06131-7546.
D'Alessandro suggested that if the DOT were really interested in input, they would allow suggestions to be made online, or via email.