New Canaan Seeks to Ease Tough Left Turn Downtown [VIDEO]

Officials say eastbound motorists often have to wait for two or even three light cycles to make a left onto Main, into the heart of town.


Town officials say they’ll ask the state to look at tweaking a traffic light at the intersection of Main and Cherry Streets to ease traffic flow.

Eastbound motorists approaching the intersection (down from St. A’s, library on the right) often have to wait two to three light cycles to make a left onto Main, according to Tiger Mann, assistant director of public works and senior engineer with the New Canaan Department of Public Works.

“We can ask the state to see,” Mann said at a meeting of the Traffic Calming Work Group, held Tuesday at the New Canaan Police Department. “You can never make the turn. It takes two cycles, sometimes three. I know that South and Cherry is very tight on timing and Main and Cherry is the same thing.”

One solution may be to reduce the westbound traffic at the intersection by giving those trying to turn left/north onto Main Street a green arrow (similar to turning left from Elm Street onto Park).

Work Group members Jim Cole, who is chairman of the Police Commission, and police Capt. David Bender, also were in attendance.

Bender said he recently received a complaint from a resident about the intersection, whose corners include a parking lot, library and bank.

Cole offered that motorists who have trouble with the intersection may consider turning onto Main further south, such as at Church Street or Harrison Road. However, Bender noted, many motorists may be coming from areas such as Pine Street, leaving the only viable detour to come through Morse Court—itself accessible by another difficult left, onto South Avenue from Cherry.

Two state roads—Rte. 106 and 124—run concurrently where Main and Cherry intersect downtown, meaning Connecticut Department of Transportation approval is needed to change the traffic light.

Betty J. Lovastik February 13, 2013 at 12:40 PM
The same is true in the reverse. If you are at the intersection of Main and Cherry (facing South Avenue), you have to wait 2 or 3 cycles in order to turn left on Main.
Dave February 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Lets blow more money on this huge huge huge problem, it's so hard to wait an extra five mins I have to get the kids off to school so I can sit around drinking wine going out with the girls or I mite miss my Exercise , grow up new Canaan worrie about our kids schools police fire emt befor we waist more time I lame crap like this I can't be leave people are crying about waiting WANT A SIMPLE PLAN LEAVE EXTRA TIME GO AROUND "IDOTS" have glen pushithe light Button
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 13, 2013 at 01:16 PM
"Dave" thank you for sharing your thoughts. To be clear, nobody is talking about spending money on a huge or even huge huge huge problem, as you say. Our town officials are responding to an inconvenience presented by a New Canaan resident, and if one resident takes note then it's likely that others such as Betty (thank you, Betty, for using your full name here on Patch) also are experiencing this inconvenience. At this point the Work Group is tapping the state with a possible solution because we're talking about DOT jurisdiction. I don't think anyone would prefer that they ignore what they hear from New Canaan residents. You also say "have Glen push the light button" in your message. Not sure what you mean by that, but if you're attacking someone personally in this thread then please don't bother expounding. Thank you again for your sharing your thoughts.
Glen K Dunbar February 13, 2013 at 01:29 PM
I personally do not mind that traffic. People have to get where they have to go. If we have to wait a few cycles then we have to wait. For me...I am NEVER in a hurry to get home. If you all knew how I lived (like an animal) you would know why. I'd much rather hang out at my secret favorite place w/the ONLY friends I really have in this town
Baffled Resident February 13, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Correct. It would be much easier to go East Ave. to Hoyt to Main during peak travel times. For anyone coming from Pine and attempting to make a left on Main, i'd suggest making a left on Park and then a right through the back of Town Hall and a right onto Main.
Ade February 13, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Dave - I will happily wait 5 minutes in exchange for you using punctuation and a spellcheck app (Might, worry, before, waste, believe). If you live in New Canaan, I can't imagine why because you seem to have such a low opinion of the people in this town. Personally, I think it seems like a waste of everybody's time and money that we can't control the traffic lights in our town without state officials being involved. That entire stretch from the PO to the library is almost always backed up especially when you have people attempting to go in and out of the narrow entrance to CVS.
Dave February 13, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Your right @abe my point is that really,this is a problem we have to face theses days in our town traffic lights and yes @mic din this will Eventually cost the town money. The town will probably hire some firm to take alook at our traffic Conditions charge All lot of money for probably a easy fix. How about Patients we wait for tons of things and like I said leave more time If you have to travel down that way. If there is. Complaints about this then those are not smart Enough to go around or avoid this light
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 13, 2013 at 02:15 PM
To your point, Betty, that's what I was wondering about too. If the traffic coming from the other way is halted so that people can turn left onto Main toward town, what happens to the people who want to turn left away from town? I'll ask Tiger about whether it's feasible to put a thing in where both directions get the left-green signal at the same time, and I'll circle back here when I have an answer. The impression I got yesterday was that what you want to avoid is changing the overall time the lights are red or green.
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 13, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Dave, thank you, what you are saying here makes more sense to me. What I will say is that our DPW and other departments operate within the budgets they have—budgets supported by selectmen and then approved by finance board members and the Town Council, and at each stage you and others have the chance to weigh in with a comment at a public meeting. Here's a for instance: Tiger had looked at putting a "traffic island" in at the corner of 106 & Park so that people wouldn't speed into that sharp left onto Park (past Mead and into town): http://patch.com/A-k4Mw ... Found out yesterday that the DPW capital budget doesn't include funds to advance that project right now, so the town is tabling that traffic island until next year.
Esprit de Corps February 13, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Madame Ade, thank you for quality checking Dave's post. Out of curiosity, I ran Microsoft Word's review function on your post and it says you should hyphenate spell-check app. Otherwise, your post seems to be of the highest quality. We all applaud your strict standards for punctuation, grammar, content and interest in this thread and elsewhere on Patch New Canaan. If English is your second language, then your language capabilities are outstanding. We all should aspire to such linguistic heights.
Sarah Norton February 13, 2013 at 02:22 PM
I am surprised Jim Cole suggested using Church or Harrison streets he must not read his own Police Commission meeting minutes where residents have also asked for traffic calming measures in writing over the last few years. Same applies to Hoyt, Oak and Summer streets which are also cut-through, traffic light avoiding streets with high speed drivers and have also been mentioned as needing traffic calming in writing. Do we need state approval for a modified left turn traffic light that delays on-coming traffic? Probably.
Baffled Resident February 13, 2013 at 02:29 PM
I was scratching my head about Cole's suggestions as well. I'm guessing that NCPD officers have told him they use Harrison. They need to bring their speeds down a bit when they use it though. You're traveling too fast on that road, NCPD.
Betty J. Lovastik February 13, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Re: Mike's reply: "To your point, Betty, that's what I was wondering about too. If the traffic coming from the other way is halted so that people can turn left onto Main toward town, what happens to the people who want to turn left away from town? I'll ask Tiger about whether it's feasible to put a thing in where both directions get the left-green signal at the same time." Mike, well stated! That's EXACTLY what I suggested to Rob Mallozzi right after he was elected. All too often I have seen "turning" cars stop in the middle of the intersection, wait for the light to turn red, (it's illegal) and then turn quickly against the light. Yes, in a nutshell, the proposed turned signals at the intersection of Cherry and Main should work like the turn signals at the intersection of Farm and South --- left hand turns from both directions should go at the same time. Thanks for the article and opportunity for comments. Please keep us posted.
Ade February 13, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Esprit - English is only one of many languages I speak, and (thanks for the compliment) is not my first language. Perhaps I should have simply said, "Dave, if you want people to read your posts thoughtfully, and not mistake them for schizophrenic rants, you should consider using complete sentences.
God Bless New Canaan February 13, 2013 at 09:32 PM
4:45 and the traffic is backed up at the Post Office because of the log jam of Main & Cherry. Back in the day (Gawd, how I hate that term), if the Police saw a traffic problem, they used to step up (Or out into the intersection as the case may have been and taken command of the intersection directing traffic until the back up was under control...but that was another day. Now either it is not in their contract, there aren't enough police on duty to man an intersection for a few minutes, or they are just scared what might happen if they stepped in front of some of these drivers.
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 15, 2013 at 12:43 PM
@Betty: I spoke to Tiger Mann yesterday about this (Tiger, if you're reading, thanks for your time). Ultimately the state itself will come down and look at the intersection and decide what is best. One thing to keep in mind in terms of a "double green left arrow" for both directions on Cherry at Main is that there are only 16-17 seconds total in that light. As Tiger said: "There’s not a lot of room in the light." Drivers would be frustrated to wait longer overall because "green only" time has been added, so the best solution likely will work within those 16-17 seconds. As Tiger said: "It might be that there simply is not enough time in that light to do everything." The question becomes: What's the priority? "For me," Tiger said, "the problem is Cherry onto Main northbound [toward town] not southbound." I hope that helps bring some more context to a decision at this intersection. -Mike
Suzanne February 17, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Patience and care does not cost anyone anything, saves lives and accidents. Perhaps police presence to teach people how to wait would be the best solution. I have driven that intersection many times and it is nothing when compared to others I have consistently and safely driven in other municipalities. Patience, New Canaan. And perspective. You are lucky that this is all your town has to worry about.
J Bauer February 19, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Oh stop Suzy Q, there is no need for you to preach to all the new Canaan folks. We are all perfectly aware of what a lovely town we have. However, this does not mean we do not want to optimize traffic patterns.
Suzanne February 23, 2013 at 01:17 AM
J Bauer, you have just fallen right into the "New Canaan folks" stereotype. And you have certainly proven why there are many who would NOT want to live next door to someone as unkind as you profess to be in your comment. You can "optimize traffic patterns" by slowing down. There! Not a penny spent!
J Bauer February 23, 2013 at 04:44 AM
I prefer my neighbors to pontificate a bit less, so I am not upset that you won't be moving in next door.
Esprit de Corps February 23, 2013 at 05:19 AM
Glen K Dunbar February 23, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Suzanne. I am so glad you like this town so much.. I do NOT. This town has ruined me


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