Op-ed from First Selectman Fred Camillo
Setting the Record Straight on the Proposed Greenwich Avenue Improvements
May 6, 2022 - I want to address the recent misinformation regarding the proposed Greenwich Avenue intersection improvement project that the Representative Town Meeting will be voting on at its annual budget meeting on Monday, May 9. This project (encompassing the Greenwich Avenue, Arch Street and Havemeyer Place intersection and the Greenwich Avenue, Fawcett Place and Grigg Street intersection) was created to implement key safety measures and increase accessibility on a street that is heavily used by both pedestrians and motorists.
As we all know Greenwich Avenue is a popular shopping and dining destination that attracts residents and visitors alike, and the traffic data indicates that there are often more pedestrians traveling through the intersections on Greenwich Avenue than vehicles.
Recognized as a necessary project by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and WestCOG (Western Connecticut Council of Governments), 100% of the project construction costs will be reimbursed through a Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP) grant. It will not impact the Town’s tax mill rate. The funds from this grant can only be applied to this specific project. If our RTM decides not to move this project forward then the funds will be awarded to a projector projects that have been submitted by other local communities seeking grant funds.
In addition to the public safety and accessibility enhancements, this project adds 12 new parking spaces in the areas surrounding the two intersections. This includes designated ADA compliant
parking spaces with an unobstructed pathway to the sidewalk. Again, this project does not remove parking.
The Department of Public Works, Engineering Division, took into consideration and reviewed traffic data, crash data, pedestrian counts, vehicle counts, analyzed 23 studies and reports, and collaborated with various departments and groups in the community which include the First Selectman’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities, Greenwich Avenue property and business owners, Greenwich Commission on Aging, Greenwich Police Department, Greenwich Fire Department, Town of Greenwich Department of Planning and Zoning, and other major stakeholders. The team incorporated Complete Streets design elements in this project, which is an industry standard that is used by towns and cities throughout our region and all around the world.
Paramount safety features include reducing the distance pedestrians need to cross at the intersections (decrease the distance and time it takes to cross by up to 76%), improve sightlines and visibility between drivers and pedestrians, add designated ADA compliant parking spaces with an unobstructed pathway to the sidewalk, slow speed of drivers entering the intersections, flatten steep grades to improve general accessibility, and relocate lighting to improve illumination. A secondary benefit to this project is that it can help aesthetically reinvigorate the area.
You can learn how the Greenwich Avenue and Elm Street intersection improvement project has positively affected two accessibility advocates and longtime Greenwich residents through this video. Recognized as an exemplary project that showcases engineering expertise and innovation, the Greenwich Avenue and Elm Street Intersection Improvement Project earned the Achievement in Civil Engineering (ACE) Award from the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers (CSCE).
For more information, I encourage everyone visit the dedicated web pages for the proposed improvements at the Greenwich Avenue, Arch Street, and Havemeyer Place intersection and the Greenwich Avenue, Fawcett Place, and Grigg Street intersection.