Following calls of concerns from Wilton High School parents and a request for action from First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, the Police Commission is taking steps to resolve the hazardous traffic conditions on Route 7 at Catalpa Road that in September led to two high school students being involved in car accidents in one week.
Vanderslice announced her call for police help at the Sept. 19 Board of Selectmen meeting at town hall, and the Police Commission responded at its meeting on Oct. 11 with a referral to the state Department of Transportation, because Route 7 is a state road.
The commissioners want the sight distance from the stop sign to be reviewed to verify whether border hedges create a roadside obstruction, and a review of whether the posted regulatory speed limit of 40 mph should be reduced in the area of Route 7 and Catalpa Road.
The commissioners noted it is an area of high congestion with a number of commercial driveways, and is also an area where speeding occurs and there have been a number of accidents.
The motion to go to the state carried 3-0, according to minutes of the meeting.
On Sept. 20, Capt. John Lynch confirmed that Chief Robert Crosby had been speaking with Vanderslice about the issue, and that a new study of the road’s safety was in the works.
Basically, it is an issue that has boiled for years. Police raised the issue in the past with the state, which controls Route 7 as a state road, and successfully got flashing lights installed. The speed limit is 40 mph, lower when the lights are flashing.
That hasn’t seemed to help in all cases, though, as the students in September got involved in accidents there after leaving local businesses like a coffee shop.
The first accident reportedly occurred on Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. during peak traffic at school pickup time, and the second on Sept. 19 at 8:30 a.m.
“Thankfully, there were no serious injuries,” Vanderslice said in September.
Last year, the state Department of Transportation modified the intersection of Route 7 and School Road, just south of the Catalpa Road intersection, because of numerous accidents that have occurred there.