New Crosswalk on South Avenue at Waveny Trailhead

ConnDOT officials, who have jurisdiction over all state roads, have responded to New Canaan’s request for a crosswalk that could make it even safer for people on Waveny trails to get back to cars parked at the YMCA.


About one year after the town requested it from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, a new crosswalk now connects those who park at the New Canaan YMCA with a heavily used entrance to the trails at Waveny.

Located just up South Avenue from the Y lot, the crosswalk is made with a high-texture, lasting paint, said Jim Cole, chair of the Police Commission.

“We have a lot of members at the YMCA, when the weather is really, really nice, they like to go outside and run,” Cole said. “They cross South Avenue and enter the park at the trailhead. There are several miles of trails. It's really quite nice."

Maybe not today so much.

The commission fields requests for traffic calming measures, and residents may start by filling out a form on the commission’s Web page (it’s also attached to this article as a PDF).

The crosswalk’s creation was prompted by someone who came to the commission saying that crossing South Avenue was dangerous.

“It’s really not, but we do these things,” Cole said.

Bar Dumbglen April 11, 2013 at 01:20 PM
People won't use extreme caution. Some new Canaan snobs think they own the road and will just walk out into traffic. Crosswalks have no place on a main road like this. Dumb idea
Canaanite April 11, 2013 at 02:46 PM
I don't think this is a good idea either . . . no sidewalks in the area, and pedestrians shouldn't be running back and forth across the street on a main road such as this. It's like crossing 123. If you want to run at Waveny, then park at Waveny and free up the limited spots at the Y for people who actually want to stay and work out at the Y.
Dr Leonaura Rhodes April 11, 2013 at 03:03 PM
The speed limit at that site is 30 miles an hour, it is single lane traffic: totally different to the 123. A perfectly sensible place for a crossing.
Amy Zinser April 11, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Canaanite wrote: "If you want to run at Waveny, then park at Waveny and free up the limited spots at the Y for people who actually want to stay and work out at the Y." I agree! My son attends the Y daycare, and I often cannot find a single space to park for 5 minutes while I go in and pick him up. I doubt that all of the people whose cars are in the parking lot are actually in the building.
Terry Dinan April 11, 2013 at 03:34 PM
When taking photos of this yesterday, about a half-dozen cars did not stop as I stood in the crosswalk waiting to get to the other side. When someone did stop for me in the southbound lane, another car heading north did not as I began to cross. One of the more unexpectedly-daunting photo assignments I've had (thank you brother).
Dr Leonaura Rhodes April 11, 2013 at 05:00 PM
In the early stages hopefully there will be some police enforcement. Stopping for pedestrians at a crosswalk is state law. Many people seem to be blissfully unaware?!?
Alexander A. Amarilios April 11, 2013 at 06:28 PM
You want to make things right, put a "walk - do not walk" traffic light at that location. And does the Y really believe that people who want to enjoy Waveny for walking, running, or just sunning themselves, should park at the Y??
chris April 11, 2013 at 07:03 PM
An accident waiting to happen...should have flashing lights on the signs warning of the possible crossings. Also even though its 30 mph zone, most people are actually going faster in that stretch. I have a hard time exiting the YMCA due to the high speed of drivers. Also with the volume of cars, visibility could be an issue in that area especially with quick stops for pedestrians.
MC April 11, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Alexander, I was wondering that as well. I'd assume that the Y doesn't want non-members filling their lot, only to have members like Amy unable to find a spot. The article states that NC requested this. I wonder if the Y was asked for input? The only reason for someone to cross there is if they've parked at the Y, but are not using the Y. Hmmm.
Dr Leonaura Rhodes April 11, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Here's to hoping this crosswalk will be successful for both pedestrians and drivers!
norm jensen April 11, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Coming off the Merritt into town I wonder how many folks drive the speed limits? I realize it changes from one section to another and one must pay close attention; or else you may have the blue and red lights behind you.
norm jensen April 11, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Hi Glen, I like your new name...
norm jensen April 11, 2013 at 08:47 PM
How about a push button stop light at the location of Schoolhouse Apts. and the Methodist church.
AD April 11, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Some may park at NCHS, walk through the woods to watch a ballgame at the Saxe field.
W. H. Taylor April 11, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Dr. Rhodes: Expecting cars traveling at 30 mph, or faster, to come to a complete stop is idiocy. A pedestrian crosswalk this far away from town is inviting the kind of accident you're trying to prevent. Let's reserve pedestrian crosswalks for congested, low speed areas, where cars are on high alert. Pedestrians have responsibilities too.
G McEvoy April 11, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Terry: not unusual ... i cross the street usually around mid-day 3-4 times a week to run in Waveny. A recent time no cars were coming north from the parkway, but a string of 6 were coming south from Town. I went almost halfway across the street carefully. The first 5 cars -- all with CT plates and 4 with either "Go Rams" or "Ram Pride" --- flew right by. The 6th car slowed down and stopped for me ... it had Colorado plates. So much for local civility!
G McEvoy April 11, 2013 at 10:26 PM
It appears what many of you don't know is that this is a REPLACEMENT crosswalk. There was one for many years that went right across from roughly the middle of the Y property almost to an old trail head that is no longer there. When the Y had its entrance/exit reconfigured 3-4 years ago the State required them to slightly widen the road in front of the Y so that traffic would not get snarled as people turned in ... and in another place turned out. Someone forgot to include the crosswalk in the new plans so it has taken 2+ years to get State approval to put it in again. In the meantime, Tiger Mann and his excellent crew put in a new trail head where many kids come directly from the high school every afternoon. The replaced crosswalk meets that path head on. For those of you bitching about people shouldn't be crossing there, note that no matter what, kids will be coming from school and crossing South Ave to get to the Y. And, from personal experience traffic does sometimes come to a complete stop to let people going in both directions to get across. In closing: 1) ANY CROSSWALK IS BETTER THAN NO CROSSWALK AT ALL. 2) THE Y ITSELF (ALONG WITH SOME CITIZENS) HAS BEEN PUSHING FOR THE 2+ YEARS TO GET THIS CROSSWALK IN. 3) I AM CONVINCED THAT IF PATCH AND T. DINAN PUT OUT AN ARTICLE THAT WAS JUST A BLANK PAGE, THAT MANY OF YOU WOULD COMPLAIN ABOUT THE ISSUE!!
Esprit de Corps April 11, 2013 at 10:52 PM
G McEvoy April 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM
edc --- dumb idea! afraid to use your real name?
Terry Dinan April 12, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Good to hear from you Mr. McEvoy...hope all is well! Now that the weather has finally turned, I'll be running those same trails. Hopefully drivers will adhere to the crosswalk law with more consistency as more people will be using it.
Esprit de Corps April 12, 2013 at 03:14 AM
Call me Mel Blanc
Peter Rowley April 12, 2013 at 08:35 AM
I think there should be a "push button" crosswalk every 50 feet, on every single road in town. You never know when someone might need to cross the street! I wonder how I grew up without being killed on my daily walk to school... (Both ways were up hill, of course, in three feet of snow, but there were no crosswalks.)
Lisa April 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM
The problem with the placement of this cross walk is that it is just above the exit from Y. Anyone crossing South Ave is not only going to have to account for traffic heading north and south but also cars turning right out of The Y and accelerating into traffic. The natural tendency of driver turning right from Y will be to look left first for cars heading north on South Ave. They will not immediately see someone crossing as they turn. Also likely that the walker will not see the car turning from Y as they are focused on cars going N/S. In final analysis a good idea but bad execution. Cross walk would have been better placed between the entrance and exit of The Y.
Kendall L Owott April 12, 2013 at 11:13 AM
"If you come to a fork in the road, take it." Yogi Berra
MC April 12, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Lisa, good point. I find that when I' mmaking a left up Elm St. from South Avenue, it's the crosswalk by Ann Taylor that is dangerous, because it's so hard to see cars coming from your right up Elm Street. So the tendency is to inch forward until you can see it's clear, then accelerate. You have to be very conscious to remember you are turning right into a crosswalk. If that is how it's designed at the Y, I really hope people are careful in crossing, and in exiting. I know crosswalks are there to help, but again, on roads where cars travel 30 mph, the inclination to come to a complete stop to let someone cross is not a natural one, and it can often present other traffic danger.
Lisa April 12, 2013 at 01:22 PM
MC , the Elm / South turn is exactly what I thought of. There is a bit more distance from Y exit to cross walk but same general issue. People have been hit by cars making turn from South onto Elm. When making that turn onto Elm you have to look back down Elm for on coming traffic but still be conscious that someone may have entered crosswalk. At least cars are going slower in town.. Cars travel at a more rapid pace by The Y so margin for error is less. Location of cross walk well intentioned but not well thought out.
Dr Leonaura Rhodes April 12, 2013 at 01:29 PM
comment 3) too true. Makes me smile!
Dr Leonaura Rhodes April 12, 2013 at 01:35 PM
My last comment on this matter is: 1. the crosswalk is here to stay 2. that I dearly hope this crosswalk will turns out to be safe 3. I hope that drivers, will show some humility, compassion for others and good sense and slow down to allow people to cross safely. 4. I hope that pedestrians will be cautious (as they should be at any crossing, they should assume that drivers are not going to stop until they are sure, they have) 5. an old English phrase "let the proof of the pudding be in the eating"... we'll see. Over and out
Alexander A. Amarilios April 12, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Since people have been crossing at that location for a long time without a crosswalk, it would be interesting to hear from the police department if and how many accidents have happened there over the years..
norm jensen April 13, 2013 at 06:06 PM
Well said George. Norm


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