DPW Input Session #5: “Jawdropping” Speeds on Weaver St, Palmer Hill, Prospect St

May 1 was the fifth in of a series of six meetings hosted by the Greenwich Dept of Public Works for the public to share feedback on troublesome spots for pedestrian and traffic safety.

The meetings have continued despite the Board of Estimate and Taxation voting against funding the town’s $100,000 share of a $500,000 grant through the federal Safe Streets for All program to develop a Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Plan.

DPW Deputy Commissioner Jim Michel and First Selectman Fred Camillo have said they plan to request an interim appropriation from the BET.

While previous input sessions focused on specific neighborhoods, the May 1 meeting was open to all parts of town.

Among those on the dais on May 1 were Greenwich Police Sergeant JD Smith, Captain John Slusarz, DPW Deputy Commissioner Jim Michel and DPW Engineer Michael Kiselak.

Hot spots that came up included Weaver Street in Glenville where people test drive cars from local car dealerships and drive at “jawdropping speeds.”

There were comments about Prospect Street and Oak Ridge in central Greenwich, residential side streets where cars speed and there is limited on-street parking made worse by employees of car dealerships.

Residents of North Mianus said speeding cars, especially on Palmer Hill Rd, endangered families, dog walkers and bike riders.

Weaver Street near intersection of Flintlock.May 6, 2024 Photo: Leslie Yager

Corner of Flintlock and Weaver Street. May 6, 2024 Photo: Leslie Yager

Weaver Street

Joanne Hupal described the behavior of people test driving cars.

“They come whipping around the corner by Flintlock, shoot down that hill and then super-power it up the next hill,” said Hupal. “You would think you are standing on I-95. It’s incredibly dangerous.”

Hupal said many people walk on Weaver Street, but to get to the sidewalk is a challenge.

“You only have a matter of moments to get out of the way. And when they floor it to go up the next hill, not only are they putting the public at risk, they’re putting their own selves at risk,” Hupal added.

“There are a lot of walkers,” she said, adding that residents gesture to the drivers to slow down, to no avail.

“I’m hoping the police could somehow talk to them (the car dealerships). Any chance of that?” she asked.

“It seems like there used to be a lot more police traps there in the past,” Hupal added. “You don’t really see that any more – police with the radar. It’s not just a little bit over the speed limit. It’s phenomenal and we need your help.”

Prospect Street approaching the light at Railroad Ave near entrance to I95. May 6, 2024 Photo: Leslie Yager

Prospect Street / Oak Ridge

Laura Noe testified that there were issues on Prospect Street, where she had lived for 35 years.

“At the intersection at the end of Prospect Street and Old Field Point Road (and Railroad Ave), we need a (walk/don’t walk) light.”

She said there was merely a five-second window to walk across before oncoming cars from the other side of Prospect Street turn left.

Prospect Street is a straight road that connects Route 1 to Railroad Ave. A stone’s throwaway, just beyond the railroad bridge is an entrance to I95 south.

“It is so dangerous. We have so many dogs in the neighborhood now. We have so many people walking, so many babies, and the increase in traffic,” she said.

“We have people speeding to beat that light at the end of Prospect Street. They see it’s green and they gun it to get through it.”

“It’s almost at the point where you should be carrying rocks with you, and throwing them at these people. And a lot of them are people after work coming from the car dealerships,” she continued. “They all park on Prospect Street, which is another problem. We all have resident parking permits but it is never enforced.”

“When we call the police they say they have to mark the cars for 24 hours. When they’re parking there without a sticker, how does that rule apply?”

Ms Noe said there was a resident in the neighborhood with a limousine business who created a problem.

“They park their Suburbans right up to the edge, and no one can see over them to get out of Bridge Street. That’s a disaster right there,” she added.

Greenwich Avenue

Ms Noe said she walked on Greenwich Avenue every morning and described drivers going through the stop signs.

“I really think the police men should be put back on Greenwich Avenue. That was a big deterrent to cars and people who just keep walking,” she said. “No one has any consideration for the cars that need to cross the street either.”

As for the proposed affordable housing development at Oak Ridge Street, (The P&Z commission closed the hearing and plan to vote on that application at their May 14 meeting) she said, “I can’t even imagine what that’s going to turn out like.”

“Everybody just blows through stop signs,” she said. “We need enforcement on Prospect Street almost every night when people are getting out of work.”

Ms Noe said her daughter was t-boned when she was traveling through a green light and another driver ran the red light on Prospect Street.

“I’ve see the change in this town. We need help in the enforcement department.”

Palmer Hill Road and Critical Intersections

Abigail McCarthy and Francia Alvarez shared input from the North Mianus neighborhood in the area of Palmer Hill Road.

McCarthy said residents had gotten together and one particular issue united them.

“We want to be able to walk, ride our bikes, ride scooters, push kids in carriages, have kids cross the street safely, and just be able to use the neighborhood safely outside our cars.”

She said there was no safe way for children to cross the intersection of Sheephill and Palmer Hill  to get to school.

Second, she said the intersection of River Road and Palmer Hill was treacherous.

Third, at Old Orchard and Palmer Hill, she said the crossing guard’s life was in danger because cars and trucks speed on Palmer Hill while cars attempt to come out of Old Orchard or turn onto Old Orchard Rd. She said this was a particular problem at school pick up and drop off.

The fourth intersection they flagged emerged from conversations with PTA presidents at North Mianus School. She said there was a lack of awareness of the bus stop near Florence Road on Palmer Hill.

“It’s really scary. If you’re careening down the street you don’t know there’s a bus stop,” she said.

Lastly she said she and Ms Alvarez were putting together a survey for the neighborhood, and looked forward to sharing the results with DPW.

Ms Alvarez said she was also working with Ms McCarthy on a project to turn Palmer Hill Road into a scenic road.

She said the Eastern Greenwich Neighborhood Plan had been completed and adopted in September 2015, and at the time, residents generally supported traffic calming on local roads, as well as enforcing speed limits.

“Even though the speed limit is 30 miles per hour, no one goes 30 miles per hour,” she said. “And with all the children and the mothers with kids on bikes going down Palmer Hill and coming back at the end of the day, it’s really very concerning.”

“I know you put in great, new sidewalks which is terrific, but with little kids on a bike – one wrong turn and they slip off and they’re right in the middle of the road where cars are not going the speed limit.”

Alvarez urged the town to install speed cameras, noting they were now legal in Connecticut and grants were available.

“The other thing with the speed cameras is that the first ticket is waived to let you know to go slower, and there is a fine the second time, and a bigger fine going forward,” she said. “Somebody getting a ticket once, they’re going to slow down.”

Ms Alvarez said the most troublesome intersection was Palmer Hill Rd and Old Orchard Road.

She said while the crosswalk on Old Orchard Road was used by children while speeding trucks on Palmer Hill Rd are unable to stop quickly.

The last meeting in the series is on May 16, to focus on the backcountry (RTM districts 10, and 11).

See also:

Residents Urge Town to Add Crosswalks, Sidewalks, Enforcement in Old Greenwich & Riverside

Outpouring of Cos Cob Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Concerns Despite Uncertainty over Funding for Study

Central Greenwich Feedback to DPW: “We’ve Talked about the Same Intersections for 20 Years”

Plenty of Feedback to DPW on Traffic & Safety in Byram, Chickahominy, Glenville, Pemberwick