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Save the Ville, Traffic Committee Discuss Extent of Problem, Solutions

Speakers at Save the Ville/Unionville Traffic Committee meeting differ on whether the town has a traffic problem and what, if anything, should be done.

The Unionville Traffic Committee met with Save the Ville leaders Wednesday night to regroup after the New Britain Avenue Relocation Plan was passed, challenged by Save the Ville, and rescinded. Questions remain about whether the plan can be altered and saved, if residents have other solutions or whether to leave the area alone.

The small group at the traffic meeting disagreed.

Megan Parsons, a Save the Ville leader who lives above Parson’s Hardware, said there simply is no traffic problem.

“I don’t think it’s a priority in our town. I think there are other things that could be focused on,” Parsons said. She indicated many of the people she talked to during the petition signing agreed.

A few others did not.

Something has to be finalized,” said committee member Tim Eagles, also a Unionville Business Cooperative member. “There are a lot of businesses saying traffic is one of my problems … We have businesses in town we want to support and we’ve lost a lot of them partially because of traffic.”

Sue Anne Ward, who put in the majority of hours soliciting signatures outside of Parson’s, said about 30 percent of the people she talked to said there was no traffic problem. Sixty percent, she estimated, admitted there is a problem but felt the committee’s plan was not the answer.

Committee spokesman John Vibert said they would not go forward with a project residents are opposed to but that the committee wants to get a sense of how the public feels about it.

“One of the real blessings here is people are finally focused on the issues. What we want to do is capitalize on this attention to lay out a full range of options,” Vibert said.

To gauge public sentiment, the committee will hold a townwide informational meeting in the future. A date for that has not been set.

The committee will meet again Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Police Department to hear from the Save the Ville group. The committee asked the group to present a list of concerns with the New Britain Avenue Relocation plan.

The traffic committee and the Department of Transportation have discussed possible ways to assuage residents’ concerns about the relocation plan, including moving LA Styles back instead of demolishing it, getting property estimates and doing architectural sketches of the design.

The committee also asked the group to present a list of possible solutions gathered from speaking with the 1,700 people who signed the petition.

Save the Ville members made a few suggestions Wednesday night, including a green arrow to turning traffic at New Britain Avenue at the beginning of the green light, desynchronizing the walk lights on either side of the bridge and using police officers to direct traffic during peak hours.

Some said traffic backup is not caused by cars waiting to turn left onto New Britain Avenue, as the traffic committee has said, but congestion coming down Route 4, into the five-way intersection.

A few speakers named an additional bridge as the answer.

DOT engineer Tom Borden said again that the state lacks the money to support its existing infrastructure and a new bridge is not likely. Even if a permit for the bridge were approved, it would take 15-20 years to complete, he said.

Ted Lindquist, who has served on four traffic committees, said the previous traffic committee recommended widening the existing Unionville bridge and it was rejected by the public.

Lindquist made a motion to add a new member to the committee to replace Bernie Erickson, who resigned to join Save the Ville. John Vibert seconded the motion, which was approved. The committee will discuss the addition at the next meeting.

Robin Lindstedt January 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Okay, what town do the Save the Ville folks live in exactly? No traffic problem really? Do they walk to work?
Sas January 12, 2012 at 12:36 PM
WE live right in this town, that's where we live. Robin the entire state has traffic problems. The problem is with the sync of the lights and a rapid growth that the town has not taken into consideration. Families have four vehicles these days not two. Kids, at 16, do not walk anymore, they drive. We have buses that stop at near every single house along their routes NOW! The people who expressed their firm beliefs that the traffic was not their major concern realize that a plan as drastic as the one we are opposed to will do much more harm than good and the only selfish person witnessed last night has zero credibility when he speaks. He made everyone uneasy with the bull. So if this plan is the one you want and if traffic is such a problem that it is ruining your life, then put up a table in front of your business and spend 90 hours explaining to the town folk just how you feel this plan is the solution. I will be the first one at your table to listen. I was at meetings 30 years ago and 20 years ago about this very issue. Not one thing has improved other than a beautification on the North side.
April Rogers January 12, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Why do you need to be a rocket scientist to solve this?? If the traffic backups are caused by the 5 way intersection traffic getting stuck at the NB Ave light as they say, then go buy a 5 dollar can of spray paint, mark a TURN ONLY lane to turn down NB Ave so that the cars move over far enough for the cars going straight up the hill to get by, resync the light with the proper turn arrow time and wah lah! done!!! And btw, how is any of this going to solve the traffic coming down the hill? Its not. And lastly, the ulitmate solution, STOP BUILDING IN THIS TOWN!!!!! SAVE THE VILLE!!!!!!!!!!
Kaitlin Glanzer (Editor) January 12, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Robin, let's be polite. I believe the sentiment of the speakers (and they are free to comment) was that the traffic problem is not significant enough to warrant "drastic" traffic projects and that living with it is not a problem. They don't mind a few more minutes wait in exchange for preserving how things are now.
Kay Higgins January 12, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Having lived both in Unionville, and elsewhere in town, I can say, with confidence, that Unionville traffic is a problem for everyone who drives through that part of town during peak traffic hours. I'm also absolutly certain that a good portion of our residents regularly opt to drive longer distances to avoid the back up. I suspect that some who commute through Farmington do the same. In my thinking, that means less exposure for the area buisnesses, not more. I hope that when the town wide meetings are held, there will be a more balanced discussion of this issue.
Deborah Netto January 12, 2012 at 02:51 PM
No $ from the state for our infrastructure but we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars for a bus route from NB to Hartford that people have to actually drive off of I- 84 to get on?? No, our priorities are not upside down...the solution above takes care of the Ville, but the bigger problem still exists---THE BRIDGE
Robert Parker January 12, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Amen. A simple relining of the intersection would solve 80% of the problem. The other 20% would be solved by restricting left turns out of Riversedge plaza during peak hours, eliminating the "cut thru" traffic.
Patricia January 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Kay makes a valid point--that many people choose to go a different way to avoid the traffic. As many transportation studies can demonstrate, though, when you expand an existing road to ease traffic current traffic congestion, you simply end up with more cars coming through and it's only a matter of time before the congestion returns. Accordingly, by improving traffic flow through Unionville, the drivers that choose to go another way now will then choose to come through Unionville and we'll be back where we are now: with traffic congestion through Unionville. As long as people are dependent on their cars for transportation, there really isn't a permanent solution to the traffic congestion.
Matt Pogson January 12, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Sadly I was unable to make the meeting last night due to illness. However, I’d like to say that I believe that no matter what the towns people say or do the Unionville traffic committee is determined to make changes to address the traffic issue and I thank them for that effort. Now whether you believe there is an issue or not, something is going to be done eventually and I believe the key here is to make some propositions that make changes and relieve traffic congestion during peek times. I believe these changes can be made with minimal impact to businesses and through means that do not re-route New Britain Ave. Again, no matter what we say or do money will be spent to “fix” the traffic situation and I believe we should see this as an opportunity to put that money to good use and improve the buildings and layouts of the intersection(s). I’m personally planning to come up with some plans myself and I plan to propose them to the business owners before presenting them to the traffic committee or town council. I welcome and ask for your input on the matter and would be happy to set up a meeting at some time to discuss these ideas outside of a traffic committee meeting. Anyone interested from the Ville or from Farmington should feel free to contribute. If you are interested please contact me via Facebook and hopefully we can coordinate something that will work for everyone. It’s OUR town and we should all be happy with it.
Sas January 12, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Patricia is correct.....expanding the roads to ease traffic will end up with more cars passing through. There will be no need to stop any longer as most of the businesses will be razed or closed due to lack of traffic flow while the vast construction will be going on. So basically we will be a highway to get from and to Canton, Avon, Simsbury and Bristol. Let's change the real traffic problem.....the North side. So Kay....what you are saying is that no one stops on the North side to do business because it is too congested?????? There is no comprehension in that statement.
Robin Lindstedt January 12, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Perhaps the stat should look at how traffic issues are handled in other states, for example Minnesota meters the traffic that can enter the highway with lights, I have experienced this first hand and while it doesn't reduce the traffic amount, it allows a better flow...that is of course beyond the scope of Unionville's problem.
Megan McArdle Parsons January 12, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I didn't want to comment on this article, but I feel I must clarify something. In this 2 hour meeting, I said alot of things. I didn't say there simply is no traffic problem. However, I so say that traffic in Unionville, on the most part, is not as bad as other places. I also commented that if traffic in Unionville is the biggest issue effecting the quality of your life, then God bless you. You have a good life. Robin, I don't walk to work, I drive, through the rush hour traffic.
Alastair Creavy January 12, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Did anyone notice how easy it was to drive though town during the during the last power cuts. The traffic moved quite quickly. I come from a country that built bypasses around villages in the late 60's and 70's also we are famous for Roundabouts. I am not saying we didn't have congestion. I think we need to have change of the Traffic Light Pattern at New Britain Avenue/ Railway Avenue and at Mill Street/Riverside Plaza. So when the light goes Green on New Britain Avenue, the light remains Red on Railway Avenue and same for Riverside Plaza goes Green, Mill Street remains Red and visa versa. Also I would have the Stop Light Cameras as the Enforcement stick to bring in some revenue. If nothing is done in Unionville in the future it will be one big nightmare in the years to come.
Sas January 12, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Alastair I love the camera idea. Hit em in the pocket, they will stop trying to cut.
Sherri January 12, 2012 at 09:47 PM
I am new to Unionville. This is the first town I have lived in that the traffic is like this. Yes, I do find it to be during rush hour that it is the problem. But how sad is it that I do not do any business in Unionville because of the traffic. Even going to Stop & Shop is a nightmare. My daughter & I started to time our travels. Leaving Stop & Shop during rush hour - it takes between 15 - 21 minutes. My drive home - Rte 4 to New Britain Ave - anywhere from 13 - 22 minutes. I am not sure if people are just used to it, but in my eyes it is crazy to have to wait that long to move less than a half of a mile. And, I do belive that Unionville business are losing out. I am one of those people who prefer to stop in Avon or West Hartford to do errands. Something has to change.
Sharon January 12, 2012 at 10:53 PM
So many people are all of a sudden so concerned about the businesses "losing out" because of the rush hour traffic situation. What about the businesses on the south side of the bridge that were going to be taken by eminent domain, relocated, or have a huge flow of traffic taken away from their store front....no one seemed concerned about those people and their small businesses. Everyone would turn their heads, cover there eyes,and let them go under to get through town 5 min less.Thank god for the save the ville organization.
Stephen Kay January 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM
I know of many people who choose NOT to move to town or at least the West side of town because of the traffic problem. It would be interesting to compare the property values of those who do not have the traffic "problem" with those who do. If there is no problem, then similar homes would sell for similar prices. Having looked to move a few years back... this was not the case.
Sas January 12, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Stephen you actually know MANY people who chose to not move to the West side of town because of the traffic problem? Thank you! That is what we have been saying all along, the problem is not South of the bridge, it is Rte 4 and points West. Thank You!
Kay Higgins January 13, 2012 at 09:09 PM
I'm sorry, but I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I'm not in the habit of speaking in absolute terms, but I am interested in hearing about workable solutions, even temporary ones, to this problem. I still think that, if we keep our minds open, we just might stumble across a fix that is acceptable to most, if not all of us.
Sas January 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Extra Quality time with your daughter! That is a good thing!
Janet Colturi January 28, 2012 at 02:17 PM
As a former member of the traffic committee, I am glad you appreciate all the effort that went into the solution that the traffic committee submitted to the town council. I don't understand why you feel the need to exclude the expertise of the people that have put so much time and effort studying this matter. I also want to thank you for your service and any progress you make toward a solution.

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