I am not convinced that eliminating the lights on Route 9 will cause all problems to disappear with them. I worry that the accidents on route 9 will move instead onto Main Street, which will be wider with more-rapidly-moving traffic. As Jen says, faster-moving traffic in Meriden and New Britain does not seem to have solved all problems north and south of those cities. I do not know what the answer to the current dilemma might be, but the proposed plan did not seem likely to work particularly well.
However, it is certainly worth noting some of the problems and solutions that were mentioned in comments at the recent hearing. I would like to offer some of them along with some of my own solutions that could be implemented before the Route 9 master plan is arrived at.
1. Since the state now believes that Miller Street and Bridge Street can be safely accessed from the opposite side of the railroad tracks, please do it now. Concrete Jersey barriers could be placed along the intersection with Route 9 and the alternative passage could be constructed this spring.
2. The right turn onto Spring Street at the base of the Arigoni Bridge is quite abrupt and dangerous. This could be obstructed and the intersection closed to all vehicles, except for right turns from Spring onto Main. That would prevent people from cutting across this dangerous intersection to get to the bridge or onto Hartford Avenue. It should also reduce the cut-through traffic that dismays and endangers residents of the North End.
3. Since the left turn from Grand Street onto Main is awkward and dangerous, Grand Street could be made into a one-way street heading west. This would eliminate vehicles cutting through the neighborhood to go north and east, while still allowing access to the neighborhood. The east-west side streets on the other side of Washington Street are one way with parking along both sides. This could be done north of Washington, too.
4. If Grand Street becomes one-way going west, Liberty Street could become one-way going east. This would reduce the advantage of cutting through the neighborhood going west and north, since there would be only a one block advantage to taking Washington Street as the major route east and north from downtown.
I am no traffic engineer and there may be many problems with these ideas, but I'm hopeful that we in Middletown can come up with solutions that work for us, cooperating with the state where our interests converge and negotiating the best possible solutions for all where our interests do not. There is no reason why some of the solutions to traffic congestion cannot begin now with constructive discussion and imaginative input from all who would like to participate.