Potted plants are coming to some dangerous intersections in town, as a plan to spend $400,000 on 26 “traffic-calming” projects advances down the road to fruition.
City transit chief Doug Hausladen unveiled a preliminary version of that plan at the most recent weekly meeting of the Resource Allocation Committee, which reviews how money gets divvied up to pave streets, fix sidewalks, and slow down cars.
The preliminary table Hausladen passed out includes $300,000 in construction and $100,000 in design and professional costs for jobs selected from recommendations by neighbors to slow vehicles and create safer environments for pedestrians or bikers.
Hausladen emphasized that the list is a draft, not a final, approved document. It’s shown here.
A number of the proposed repairs are permanent, such as curb definition. Some are more temporary, such as paint markings and traffic delineators.
In addition to speed humps, which have popped up around town in recent years, Hausladen added some new ideas — such as flower baskets placed on the sides of streets — that he said will narrow the road and encourage drivers to slow down.
Bumpouts are planned for Clinton Avenue, Cleveland Road, and Hall Street. Speed humps are planned for Hallock Street.
“Visually, if something’s in the road, it makes you think ‘Whoa,’” Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Pugh (at right in photo) said during the meeting, which took place last Thursday afternoon at the municipal office building at 200 Orange St., as committee members and city officials discussed the mental effects on drivers of shortening street widths.
Hausladen (left in photo) explained that crossing distance on a street is proportional to the speed with which people drive down it. So for every foot of crossing distance the city narrows, either on main arterial roads or in residential areas, traffic should slow with it.
In addition to beautification, flower baskets provide quicker solutions for dangerous roadways than bump outs or speed humps. Hausladen said he proposed the baskets for Greenhill Terrace, Hemlock Road and Truman Street because Urban Resources Initiative Community Greenspace groups are active in those areas. So the city could draw up contracts for maintaining the potted street plants.
Neighbors should not expect to see many city streets lined with flowerpots soon, since more of the projects recommended paint and plastic post delineators (aka “rubber duckies”) that can be bolted to the pavement (such as the type currently in use on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard).
Hausladen said some of the more urgent and temporary projects can go into effect this fall. Others would make sense to wait for coordination with the Department of Public Works, to see if the city could coordinate constructing speed humps with streets already undergoing repaving, he said.
He said his department plans on returning to areas that submitted these requests for traffic-calming measures and receiving feedback about their proposed solutions. Pugh asked him to keep the other members of the committee informed about neighbors’ responses.
Paving Planning Continues
Before Hausladen presented his draft of proposed traffic calming measures, the group discussed revised versions of the street paving and sidewalk repair draft budgets.
As planned for at the previous week’s meeting, DPW Chief of Operations Jeff Pescosolido, Municipal Civil Engineer Joseph Krupa and Assistant City Engineer Larry Smith coordinated between the city’s DPW and Engineering Department to determine which budgets to tap and whether certain streets were slated for multiple reconstructions.
Chief Administrative Officer Michael Carter said earlier that day he had walked down High Street, which DPW recommended the city mill and fill, and observed that Yale University appeared to be finishing up the construction projects on Old Campus.
“We’re probably going to recommend they get that done before the students come back,” he said, indicating the project is slated for completion before Aug. 20.
Krupa also handed out a revised draft of the sidewalk repair proposals, including three additional streets that could possibly make up the remaining $153,000 in un-allocated budget.
Work on the three stretches of repairs on Elm Street, Emerson Street and Dayton Street would cost $236,250, so Krupa said the group would have to discuss which projects should be prioritized.