Letter: Proposed Roundabout on Sound Beach Ave Would Be Destructive to Perrot Library and the Beautiful Entry to Old Greenwich

Letter to the editor submitted by Margot Mabie of Old Greenwich, May 7, 2018

To the editor:

Here in Old Greenwich, many are alarmed about plans to enlarge the roundabout in front of the Perrot Library and raise the grade of Sound Beach Avenue between Wesskum Wood Road and Arch Street.

At 100 feet in diameter, the proposed roundabout is way out of scale. In addition, it will eat into the land in front of the library by 8 feet.

The proposed raising of the roadway by up to 3 feet will put the library’s front door below ground level. Would you sit on a bench in front of the library while cars and trucks whiz by at eye level just a few feet away?

This project started with the poor condition of the Cider Mill Creek bridge, to the east of Binney Park, and mushroomed with the possibility of using state funding for construction costs.

The requirement that the replacement bridge be 2-1/2 to 3 feet higher to deal with flooding, which in turn necessitates the road-raise, is attributed to FEMA regulations, and the requirement of a 100-foot diameter for the roundabout is attributed to federal standards. Please note that the applicability of both FEMA regulations and federal standards for this project is being challenged.

Yes, we need to replace the Cider Mill Creek bridge, but a 2012 study of the Cider Mill Creek watershed commissioned by the town advised that adding railroad culverts would address the problem of flooding, so raising the bridge is not necessary.

And yes, a larger roundabout would be a real improvement, but raising the road and building a gargantuan roundabout would do great violence to the beauty and accessibility of the Perrot, surely a gorgeous architectural gem that we should be doing everything we can to protect.

The Planning and Zoning Commission came within a hair’s breadth of approving this project at its meeting on May 1, but put off its vote for hydrological studies and sectional drawings to be made available.

I hope the commission will vote against this project when it comes up at its May 15 meeting.

It is destructive to the library and the beautiful entry to Old Greenwich, and the vast majority of the village’s citizenry vehemently oppose it. But as we work to resolve this conflict, it’s worth giving thought to the allure of state funding for municipal improvements. Are we so eager for state funding – money provided by us, state taxpayers – that we will accept tortured designs for it?

Margot Mabie
Old Greenwich

See also:

Residents Persist Against DPW’s Proposed Bridge and Traffic Circle for Sound Beach Ave  (May 1, 2018)

ridge/Rotary Project on Sound Beach Ave (April 4, 2018)

Residents on Bridge Fix and Raised Rotary in Old Greenwich: “Fix the Railroad Culvert, Not the Rotary!” (March 8, 2018)


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