Letter: Many opportunities to reduce idling

To the Editors:

The “No Idling” effort to shut cars off rather than have them idle for more than 1- seconds is a good idea. I’ve read that it started in New York City. But here in Wilton, and in Connecticut, we have many other more beneficial ways to cut car idling.

A few years ago, Route 7 was widened to four lanes through much of Wilton. By my count five new traffic lights were added. These are clearly necessary to allow cars to enter Route 7 during peak traffic periods. By why are the lights working 24 hours a day?  At off-peak periods we all have to stop and idle even when there is no appreciable traffic.

Same thing with the light where Old Ridgefield Road meets Ridgefield Road. Recently coming out from Old Ridgefield Road I idled for 65 seconds after the few cars stopped on Ridgefield Road went through the intersection. During this time five additional cars went through. There were numerous opportunities for me to proceed (and not idle for 65 seconds) if the lights were turned to caution.

Why can’t these lights be on caution/blinking during the 20 hours a day when they’re not needed?

Recently I came out of Nod Hill Road onto Ridgefield Road during the morning commuting period. The traffic was backed up from the stop sign at Drum Hill Road past where I was entering. A kind driver let me in. I then waited — idled — for eight minutes before I got to Drum Hill. We have this quaint system where everyone waits their turn and goes through the intersection one car at a time. But the result is traffic obstruction, not smooth traffic flow. And the same thing repeats where Belden Hill Road meets Wolfpit Road. Here we could use traffic lights — or maybe live police officers? But please, only during peak traffic periods.

At the state level we have entrance ramps on the Merritt with no system to “pace” the entering traffic (like California has done for years) resulting in gridlock at most entrances. They mow the grass during the day when it could be done at night. Some states permit — even ask — that cars involved in minor accidents be moved out of the traffic lanes to keep the lanes open. Why can’t Connecticut do this? These all sound like good ideas to me.  

The gas we’re wasting is a serious issue. But much greater to me is the time we’re all losing. Somehow officials are never concerned if we are delayed. Our wasted time means nothing to them.

So, I agree to not let my car idle unnecessarily. But there are so many other simple actions we could take that would save a lot more. How about it town and state leadership? Anyone want to move up to more meaningful changes? Many of these require no additional expenditures of taxpayer money, a few only a small amount.
Art Linden
Teapot Hill Road, Nov. 23