Vanderslice plans for fall Route 7 information session

Artist’s conception of the proposed roundabout, available at the town clerk’s office.
Artist’s conception of the proposed roundabout, available at the town clerk’s office.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice confirmed July 12 she will arrange an informational meeting in the fall to follow up on the state Department of Transportation public session held in June on the proposed Belden Hill/Wolfpit Road roundabout.

At that meeting, residents asked that improvements be made to Route 7 in an effort to move traffic off of Belden Hill Road.

“I thought it would be helpful to have a meeting to provide information on traffic patterns and volumes in town during peak and off-peak hours, and what are the possibilities for Route 7 and the obstacles that would need to be addressed to achieve those possibilities?” Vanderslice said.

To that end, in the fall, when residents are back from summer vacations, she hopes to host a public information meeting with representatives from the police and Wilton’s Traffic Authority along with local state representatives.

“It is still in the development stage so no firm date has been set,” she said.

The meeting is being planned because 50 people packed the DOT hearing June 5 on the proposed roundabout for the intersection of Belden Hill Road and Wolfpit Road and gave a solid no thank you.

One of the outspoken neighborhood residents was David Cristini, who has formed a closed group on Facebook to share information about the proposed $2.6-million safety improvement project.

His fear, and that of many others gathered at the Trackside Teen Center for the pre-project public information session, was that a roundabout would improve traffic flow and invite more congestion to the residential road.

“I’ve lived here 14 years, and I can see the congestion from my dining room. I don’t want any more traffic volume. I’m concerned about the quality of life for my family,” Cristini told the DOT engineers who conducted the session, as well as the audience, who applauded him.

The state identified this area for a roundabout because of high crash frequency over the last three years, with 19 accidents, three of which resulted in injuries.

The DOT analyzed the intersection from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and found that 7,043 cars pass through. The morning peak is from 8 to 9, with 1,480 cars, and the afternoon peak is 5 to 6, with just under 1,400 passing through.

Belden Hill Road is used as an alternative to Route 7 to get to the Route 7 connector in Norwalk.

DOT officials reminded residents no official project has been initiated, therefore there is no funding source or schedule available. Given the existing fiscal environment, if the concept is well received and the DOT initiates a project, it will still need to be prioritized against all other active projects.