There has been a lot of discussion about Unionville traffic, what it will take to fix it and whether moving New Britain Avenue is the answer. Now it’s your turn.
The Town Council will vote tonight on whether to approve the relocation plan, which would reroute New Britain Avenue down Wall Street to Burnham Avenue, coming out approximately where the Tailor Shop is. But first, residents will get to tell the council what they think about the plan during a public hearing, scheduled for the beginning of tonight's meeting.
The plan would require the state to partially or completely buy out and demolish a handful of properties along Plainville Avenue. Liquor Square, which started out as a temporary building, Nina’s Tailor Shop and the small building behind it, Airtool Sale & Service and LA Style Salon would be demolished and a couple of residences. McGillicuddy's and the Chinese restaurant sit far enough back so they would not be affected.
For the most part, Unionville Traffic Committee members, who have unanimously recommended the plan, say the residents and business owners who would be affected by the plan are accepting of it. The owners of Liquor Square is upset to lose his building, as is LA Style Salon owner Elizabeth Deprey, who said she’s worried about finding another 750 square foot building for her business. The other owners, including those whose businesses would be indirectly affected by the lack of traffic passing by, have not spoken out about the project.
The plan does a few things: moves the New Britain Avenue intersection up the hill and away from the bridge to allow space for more cars to queue, widens South Main Street and creates dedicated turn lanes, moves the entrance to Depot Place onto New Britain Avenue and allows bike path traffic to cross at a new light. It would also realign Mill Street with Riversedge Plaza and create turn lanes there. The old New Britain Avenue would become a deadend inaccesible from South Main Street.
Town Council member and Traffic Committee spokesman John Vibert says the plan will alleviate traffic throughout Unionville because the problems from the New Britain Avenue intersection cause traffic to back up over the bridge and into the five-way intersection. Moving New Britain Avenue, he says, is a solid solution that can be accomplished through state funding in a relatively short time period.
If approved, Keniston estimates the project would take 4 to 5 years to complete, with construction starting in about 2 years.
The pubic hearing will be at tonight's Town Council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at . A vote is expected later in the meeting.
The motion includes the conditions the town develop a design plan for the area, including South Main Street, New Britain Avenue and Railroad Avenue, which the Unionville Traffic Committee would oversee, and that the town offer assistance to affected businesses.