Darienites provides input on Route 1 study
Published 5:33 pm, Thursday, April 15, 2010
Darien residents helped create a patchwork of Post-Its last Thursday, during the Darien Route 1 Corridor Study Open House. The slew of suggestions scribbled on sticky notes covered a jumbo-size map of the 2.3 mile area surrounding the Post Road in Darien.
The town of Darien, the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the South Western Regional Planning Agency are encouraging Darienites to add their comments regarding ways to improve this corridor as part of the information-gathering phase of this study, according to Jeff Parker, a Clough, Harbour & Associates planner.
The goal of the study is to "study will evaluate the current transportation and land use conditions along the Route 1 corridor and investigate opportunities to make improvements," according to the study's Web site.
About five dozen people attended the open house to chime in on the improvements they would like to see, Parker said. During that time, Darienites made notes about gaps in sidewalks and concerns about pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as well as motor-vehicle traffic on Post Road in Darien, he said.
"We're getting a lot of feedback about issues associated with the area around the railroad bridge; drainage issues and traffic," Parker said.
A sample of comments stuck to the map include a request to "add a pump station to remove drainage water and prevent flooding under train bridge;" a complaint about the "very bad turning here, people going in and out of Starbucks hold up traffic;" and a suggestion to "put triangle of soil/vegetation at Post and West."
The issue of traffic diversion from Interstate 95 came up frequently in his talks with residents as well, Parker said.
The Corridor consists of the portion of Route 1 between Nearwater Lane and Old Kings Highway North in Darien, and also stretches to other adjacent roads and streets, which are often used when Post Road is backed up. These include: Old Kings Highway South; West Avenue; and Noroton Avenue.
"Right now, we're trying to compile information and see where the concentration and themes are," Parker said. "We want to get out and talk to people who use the corridor everyday, and help draw the complete picture of the corridor.
"All the input we receive is important. Anecdotal information is just as important as numbers. We need to address the needs of the own, so they can support the recommendations we ultimately make, and lead to actual improvements," Parker said.
The study group is currently in the first of three phases. Once it concludes the Identification of Issues and Opportunities phase in mid-2010, it will move forward to the Development of Alternative Concepts and Strategies, before moving to the final phase: Development of Implementation Plan, between late-2010 and mid-2011. Each of the three stages will include opportunities for public involvement.
At the end of the third stage, the study group will develop a plan with recommendations, priorities, costs and where to go next, according to SWRPA's Senior Regional Transportation Coordinator Sue Prosi.
"The recommendations will be centered around the thought of `What can we do that' doesn't cost a lot of money,'" Prosi said.
"Comments from the public have been very positive so far," she said. "It gives us the opportunity to identify operations and establish priorities."
While the public information session has come and gone, Prosi said Darienites can still add their suggestions online, at www.darienroute1study.org.