Drivers zipping along Route 106 into New Canaan may soon be forced to slow down to make a left-hand turn toward .
A popular route to downtown New Canaan, the left-hand turn from Route 106—also called Old Stamford Road—onto Park Street, often is treated more as a veering fork than a hard left by motorists exceeding the 25 mph speed limit.
All that’s expected to change if the New Canaan installs a curb-height “refuge island” (see attached rendering) at that intersection in the middle of Park Street, creating a sharper left-hand turn.
“We’re really trying to address the speed of traffic coming northbound on Park Street,” Sgt. John DiFederico told Patch. “People coming off of Old Stamford Road really take a straight shot and don’t have to slow down [to make the left-hand turn].”
The plan includes three major components: painted stripes across both Park Street and 106 for pedestrians, the refuge island itself and a change to the asphalt on either side of the island so that vehicles don’t approach it.
Tiger Mann, assistant director and senior engineer of the town DPW, said the project would cost about $175,000. New Canaan would pay for all of that, though Connecticut Department of Transportation approval still is required because the island would sit at an intersection with a state road.
State DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick told Patch that projects similar in scope can take up to two months to approve.
New Canaan’s process for approving a project like this is itself lengthy. The New Canaan Police Commission said in a press release that it supports the plan and has been working with the town’s public works officials. The and already are aware that it’s on the DPW’s radar.
With the DOT’s approval, the project would need to go through:
- The town’s budget cycle (because no money has been allocated for it), including the Board of Selectmen, and Town Council;
- The town for adherence with the Plan of Conservation and Development;
- The Town Council separately for use of town land;
- The selectmen again to award the contract.
Mann said that the refuge island would include a “Keep Right” sign at either end, but wouldn’t have any room on it for plantings. The asphalt on either side of the island—for readers looking at the attached rendering, think of it as the head and tail of the tadpole (the raised refuge island itself is the white oval)—would be level with the road but treated differently to indicate that it’s part of the island, possibly with asphalt treatment or Belgian block. It needs to stay level because it’d be “mountable” by tractor-trailers making wide turns at the intersection.
Once approvals are won and a jackhammer’s in the ground, the project is expected to take about one month to complete, Mann said.