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Downed Norwalk traffic lights totaled 435 pounds

NORWALK, Conn. – Traffic lights will hang again at the intersection of Main and Wall Streets, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling said.

The lights came down with a crash a little over a week ago when a pole collapsed for no obvious reason. Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord, who now says the lights weighed a total of 435 pounds, said he would have a temporary pole put up as soon as possible.

Some people have said that the intersection is working better with stop signs but Rilling said that is not going to be a long-term change.

“I’ve heard the same sentiments expressed recently, albeit only from a very few sources,” Rilling said in an email. “The claim is traffic moves more smoothly through the intersection.  Obviously we could not leave the signs in the middle of the road, they would have to be erected like other signs at various intersections around the city.  However, that is a relatively busy intersection and with two turning lanes coming off Wall Street, it could be a bit dangerous.  I do not believe that intersection is a good location for a three-way stop sign.  There are no plans for the Traffic Authority to look at that intersection.”

There were eight downed traffic lights visible in a photograph taken by a passerby and sent to Nancy On Norwalk. Alvord did not immediately know how much each light weighed but said this week that they came to a total of 435 pounds. The weight of the lights ranged from about 35 to 60 pounds, Alvord said, depending on how many lenses the light had and what kind of equipment was in the housing.

Alvord said recently that the pole corroded from within. On Monday he speculated that there could have been another cause.

“At the time of night someone could have hit it with a vehicle,” Alvord said.

Wouldn’t it have a dent?

“That’s what we thought, too,” he said. “So I’m not going to make that claim, and it’s almost impossible to make at this point.”

The NoN commenter going under the name of Spanner said there had been an accident in that vicinity the night before. Norwalk Police Sgt. Terry Blake provided an accident report of that incident: On July 10 a car parked in the rear parking lot of El Mexicano restaurant at 22 Wall St. suffered minor damage when it was struck by a hit and run driver. The light fell on July 12.

Alvord said that DPW is going forward with its plan to put up a wooden pole there as a temporary solution.  Then, “We’re going to be replacing that signal as part of the traffic signal program,” he said.

Comments

8 responses to “Downed Norwalk traffic lights totaled 435 pounds”

  1. John Hamlin

    Why not take the unnecessary poles and lights at the Ft Point and Van Zant intersection and move them to Main and Wall. Then there would be only one set of unnecessary lights instead of two.

  2. Mike Ward

    Leave the stop signs. It is easier to cross the street by foot now and faster. No waiting for the crosswalk lights. Traffic is also much better with the stop signs. Wall street is not backed up twice an hour to Mill Hill with wheels buses.

    As for Mr. Alvord’s comment “At the time of night someone could have hit it with a vehicle”, what 7:30 PM???

  3. TLaw

    Well, so much for the contributor who claimed that those lights weighed 280lbs each.

  4. Suzanne

    The fact that these lights fell at all and no one was seriously injured or killed is the point. The question is, why did the pole fall? Can we expect potentially other dangerous, possibly fatal, accidents to occur with neglected infrastructure?

  5. Don’t Panic

    Hal’s public statements say it all. First the claim, then the walk-back when challenged on lack of evidence, then the statement that he’s not going to make that claim.
    .
    All due respect Mr. Mayor, we should not be making decisions on “belief” about what is best for an intersection. We have umpteen traffic studies to tell us what should work there. The citizenry thinks it’s better. Why spend money putting up a traffic light that isn’t needed…oh wait, there’s those state dollars we got for “free” to put up those expensive new traffic lights.

  6. ” Obviously we could not leave the signs in the middle of the road, they would have to be erected like other signs at various intersections around the city. ”

    Why is it obvious that the city can’t keep the stop signs in the middle of the road? If it works, and makes this troublesome intersection safer and more efficient, why not?

  7. Colin G

    @Jeff Hall Agreed, we need a bit more experimentation in Norwalk, as I posted on another thread stop signs are about $100 each and that’s for a really large one, which is tens of thousands of dollars less than a light (the new black ones I believe we’re reported to cost $300,000 each). Annual maintance and operation costs of stop signs are $0 and they work fine when the power is out.

    Also who says the traffic pattern needs to stay, paint is cheap and there is a plan on someone’s desk to revamp the area across from Fat Cat with a Road diet and public plaza, this would be the perfect time to implement that. If there is aversion to actual construction take a page from the NYC playbook and use plastic bollards. Green paint and stop signs in the middle of the road till you feel it works. Moving something that’s not cemented into place is much easier, and paint can be removed or painted over.

    Wall Street sees about 10k cars per day according to 2012 traffic numbers it would probably be fine with 1 lane in each direction and a center turn lane. If the heads at city hall really wanted to spin add a bike lane too since HUD have the space after removing a lane of traffic that’s not needed.

    I’ve been hrough this intersection about 2 dozen times on my bike to and from work in SoNo and it has been substantially safer for me to navigate, I’m not holding anyone up and traffic moves through the intersection at a reasonable and predictable pace even the busses.

    Last item on the wish list is to remove the light at Fort Point and VanZant as mentioned above, it is extremely obvious that this has caused more traffic than the 3-way stop that was there before.

  8. Dennis DiManis

    The center of Norwalk: a dump with decrepit crumbling tenements and garbage all over the sidewalk that nobody will pick up.

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