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Aldermen Address Traffic Jams on Howe Avenue

Shelton's Street Committee passed a new ordinance prohibiting the blocking of downtown's main intersections.

If you've ever driven along Howe Avenue during rush hour, you know what a headache it can be. Which is why Shelton's Street Committee passed a new ordinance prohibiting the blocking of an intersection.

At the Board of Aldermen's regular meeting, held Feb. 9 in , the members nearly unanimously passed the motion. President John Anglace, Jr. said it represents a concerted effort by alderman Eric McPherson and the Street Committee to address the traffic congestion downtown.

"We need to put this into effect regardless of possible flaws," Anglace said. "But in order to make it work we need public support, not punitive action like signs and painted road markings." Such strategies are largely ineffective, he said.

As the ordinance stands right now, only downtown's main intersections will be affected by the "no block" rule, including Howe Avenue at Center, Bridge and White streets.

Nearly a year ago, Shelton Patch columnist Kaitlyn Carroll . "Poor traffic light timing and impatient drivers lead to daily tie-ups on Howe Avenue," she said in March 2011.

"With the problem ongoing for years, it is evident drivers are not going to cease blocking the intersection out of simple common sense," Caroll said. "As such, something more needs to be done to prevent an accident from occurring in the area."

Residents seemed to agree, then and now. "The lights definitely need to be timed differently," said Shelton resident Susan, who commented on Carroll's article. "I travel this road home from work daily and sometimes it takes 7-10 minutes to get from Center Street to the corner by the bank and - I've actually timed it!"

Mayor Mark A. Lauretti was the single Board member to vote against the ordinance last Thursday night. He said he was not in favor of it because he does not think it will do anything to solve traffic problems.

"They're [the traffic issues] are far more reachable than anything this ordinance will do. I want to be on record saying this is an effort in futility," Lauretti said.

Walt February 15, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Re-open Wooster St to bypass downtown to Derby, that was a mistake to have closed it.
Jeff February 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Thomas it makes sense on paper but there are several issues. I can't see how you can eliminate signals because you have 2 high volume head to head issues and that's at the corner of Howe and White in front of Mark's of Design and Center St and Howe by Liquid Lunch. I think it's unrealistic to think there are going to be cordial interactions of people merging into rotaries. I think you're asking a lot of tractor trailers to make all those turns some of which are very tight. You also are making residential areas where residents park their cars into major routes. I think also without signals and a more rapid flow of traffic, at least that being the premise, it's going to discourage people from partaking in the retail offerings downtown.
thomas harbinson February 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Wooster Street from Plumb to Howe was abandoned and property split to adjacent property owners. From Howe to Canal is under construction and will eventually reopen. Jeff: Never a head to head as all turns or straights have their own lane and then merges occur. Howe south traffic stacks at White due to limited flow at Bridge on traffic turning left, and Center south traffic stacks at Howe. Both are due to not enough capacity on Howe, and that's only improved by creating more traffic lanes, and that's achieved by eliminating current parking. Howe Ave North across from Marks Design has a straight lane that stacks 3 cars, and those passing that way have to jog from the left turn lane (which backs up) and into the curbside lane, only to jog back away from curbside due to parking in front of Pizza jt. Yes tractor trailers were thought of, and all turning radius is more reasonable (consider the current Center to Howe left, or How to Center right. Residential parking from White toward Plumb is already the Rte108 route and making it one way improves safety factors beyond what exists. Goal is not "rapid" traffic flow, but "steady" flow. Current flow is start/stop effected by signal lights, and give way or yield interactions improves that. Heavy volume rotaries can utilize signal lights to balance the flow within the rotary, but there is never a stopping of traffic so that vehicles can "cross" traffic because that is a flow "interruption".
Jeff February 16, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I think all this plus the elimination of parking on Howe and downtown retail becomes a ghost town and puts an end to the concept of downtown revitalization. Shelton will be unfortunate to not be able to have their cake and eat it too. Just my opinion.
Walt February 16, 2012 at 03:57 PM
If they take away about three feet of the sidewalk area along Howe, that is the area of brickwork and trees, this will allow for continued on street parking as well as true two lane traffic through the center. The traffic lights MUST still be better synchronized in order for traffic to flow through.

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