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Price quoted for traffic signals includes more than lights

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I just saw the article that you posted titled, “Norwalk Republican asks: Traffic signals are $850,000 each?”.   I just wanted to add some clarifying comments.

While yes, when the steel tariffs were imposed, we did see the prices and for traffic mast arms skyrocket and have yet to truly come down, that alone however is not the sole part of this project/grant.   In addition to the four new traffic signals, we are also upgrading eight signalized locations to adaptive signal control technology.  This automatically adjusts the timing of the traffic lights to accommodate changing traffic patterns and ease traffic congestion. 

This includes the four locations where we are installing the new signals, and four additional locations on Route 1.  Also, the grant will cover the optimization of 14 traffic signals (retiming of the traffic lights), and enhancements to the pedestrian experience at these locations.   We will also be installing new technology that measure the temperature and ice/snow condition on the road surface.   Our impact is greater than just the four new traffic signals.

All these improvements are aimed at reducing vehicle emissions, improving traffic flow and travel time reliability, reduce the need to manually retime traffic signals.  The real-time management of traffic systems is proven to work and Norwalk was the first City in the State to deploy this technology.

Jim Travers

Director

Transportation, Mobility, and Parking

7 comments

Patrick Cooper January 13, 2023 at 3:32 pm

@Jim Travers. While we have your attention – perhaps you can find time to look at this Norwalk made fiasco.

The traffic light and routing at the intersection of West Rocks Road and “Old” Route 7.

First – it is a given that West Rocks road is a very important “arterial” thoroughfare for Norwalk, as it brings traffic from Route 1 north, and Route 7 south – past 3 active schools. Far more traffic than East Rocks & Grumman, and equal to or greater than Chestnut Hill (Rt. 53).

Further – the connecting intersection is within ¼ mile of the Grist Mill connection to the Rt. 7 connector, a complete traffic mess every single morning – care of the Wilton and other NIMBY CT residents who didn’t want the connector extended. No – only Norwalk pays for regional infrastructure.

The issues. At present, when vehicles are exiting West Rocks and turning left onto Route 7, the traffic light provides no relief for those drivers, and the result is – vehicles leaving the I-Park (a “parking lot”) have presumptive right-of-way as they cross Rt. 7 and head south on West Rocks. I have experienced hundreds of times – in a line of 10-15 cars, maybe 2-3 eventually are able to access the turn before the light changes. You can sit there for 15 minutes.

WHY does a parking lot have priority over an arterial thoroughfare? It was either stupidity – or a bribe.

2nd issue: The WalMart zig-zag. Since it took over for Caldor – the WalMart parking lot access has been an utter fiasco. Whatever planning commission allowed it should be brought to trial on behalf of the city residents. WHO thought it was a good idea to have the 18 wheelers that bring merchandise to the plaza – have to turn right off Route 7 onto West Rocks, and then within 40-50 feet, have to turn left into that parking lot? Given the traffic issues related to the I-Park – that area becomes death-frogger for vehicle traffic – specifically when the 18 wheelers are rolling.

Compounding this is – the other access point to WalMart – 100 feet up Route 7, forbids left hand turns onto Route 7. So – that traffic (the majority) has to use this same little bend to access Route 7. Nice Walmart people that they are, they routinely cut off drivers on West Rocks in their desperation to get into the flow. Routinely they block the right section as well, preventing West Rocks traffic that wants to go north from accessing it.

I have traveled the US extensively, and have spent a night in all but 4 states, and I have never encountered such a cluster. This is planning mismanagement on steroids. Of course – add in that Route 7 is a state road, and the bizarre planning behind the connector as well.

BUT SERIOUSLY. Please – contact the state – and figure this one out. Every single commuter, and resident in Cranbury – would appreciate even the simplest of fixes. For example – a timed light so West Rocks has priority over a parking lot – for starters. And a Walmart parking lot that doesn’t create havoc for the residents – simply because they didn’t buy out the owner of the corner Shell station.

I beg you – spend just 1 morning on that corner. I’ll buy the coffee. You will see driving behavior that will make the “Wacky Races” seem like Bee Movie traffic.

Bradford Craighead January 14, 2023 at 10:11 am

Well Done TMP. Making Norwalk an appealing, walkable and livable city begins with solid infrastructure and sustainable, smart ideas around transportation.
Thank you.
Bradford P. Craighead
Norwalk Green Association

Bryan Meek January 14, 2023 at 3:33 pm

Of course the price should include a little more than 24 traffic light bulbs, stations, bases, trenched pneumatic strips, and some programming. I didn’t even need to see the bid package to reject on the pure sum. It would be nice if the bid package was made more public so others can draw their own conclusions.

I like what TMP is doing for the most part and Stamford did well in the past under current leadership. I hold them harmless for playing along with the public construction industrial complex scheme. The have no hold over that.

What I do know is for a few $ thousand you can control 10,000 plus Christmas lights, choreograph them to music, and government never seems to be that interested in finding ways to keep costs down. These prices are in line with what we ordinarily pay a premium for here. This project could be done at less than half the price in other states that are concerned about taxpayer monies. If only a few other cities and towns would reject what they don’t need immediately instead of chomping at the bit, maybe the prices would go down.

And for the Church crossing, why did we have to wait for a grant? We’re sitting on $81 million in the fund balance ($73 million unallocated and $8mm assigned) so it escapes me why if this was such an issue, why did we wait so long? $850k could buy a lot of police services to walk the congregation across the street a few 1000 times even if we couldn’t buy a few light bulbs and software due to supply chain issues a long time ago.

These are tough intersections, but not even close to some of the worst like West Rocks/ Walmart / Ipark. The state owns that intersection and to save you the usual excuse. You know, the same way DPW cuts the grass on the south side of Knowalot lane at different intervals from Parks (which reports to DPW now) that cuts the north side of the street. Fiefdoms rule there just like Main Ave. More excuses.

Bryan Meek January 14, 2023 at 3:39 pm

Off topic, while I do like most things TMP does, reverse angle parking is a loser. Hardly anyone in this city can drive forward let alone backwards.

Kenneth Werner January 16, 2023 at 12:19 pm

Bryan Meek has finally said something I agree with. Reverse-angle parking is a strange “solution,” and potentially hazardous.

Don Mastronardi January 17, 2023 at 10:18 am

I have heard a lot of talk about how these new funds will automate and make programming of lights more efficient. If that is the case then I assume some cuts to the budgets of these departments should be forthcoming? After all, technology making things more efficient should mean eliminating some jobs and streamlining budgets as well, correct? To Bryan’s point, government is never efficient with taxpayer money.

I am still baffled why the city of Norwalk had to hire an outside firm at hundreds of thousands of dollars to help with business development and tourism (during covid lockdowns) when they have a salaried person, making 150k, whose title is Director of Business Development and Tourism? Government is never efficient with tax dollars, ever.

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