TORRINGTON — Traffic. Congestion. Pedestrian safety.
Those are among the biggest concerns residents have about the city’s East Main Street corridor.
That is a according to a months of work that included multiple interactions with residents in a variety of ways, officials said.
Specifically, traffic in the area of the Route 8 entrance ramp near East Elm Street is an ongoing issue of big area of concern for many people, according to Va Ferro of Good Earth Advisors, one of the organizations analyzing the roadway for the city.
The BSC Group and Good Earth Advisors for the past several months conducted the in-depth analysis of the roadway, which is home to numerous businesses ranging from car dealerships to coffee shops, retail stores to restaurants.
Now, the city’s study of the East Main Street corridor, which began last fall, has been completed, and officials are ready to share the full findings with the public.
Included in suggestions for improving the roadway have been improved traffic signals and timing, addressing problems with driveways used for deliveries, developing a sidewalk plan and adding pedestrian safety measures, according to officials.
The study focused on the section of East Main Street from downtown to the New Hartford line. This section of road is not only the city’s western gateway, but also an economic center for the region. The road is heavily commercial, interspersed with residential properties and developments; lane number and width varies, ranging from two to four lanes, traffic signals and turning lanes.
The study, paid for through a grant from the state Department of Transportation, looked at commercial growth along the corridor and adjacent residential development. Consultants reviewed data on traffic congestion, crashes, safe pedestrian and bicycle options, as well as potential development opportunities.
They went to the public, collecting input from business owners and residents living on and around East Main Street. Several online forums were held to hear residents’ concerns.
“We’ve been able to connect with people in various fashions. ... We’ve held online forums and public meetings, and we’ve met with individual property owners and had smaller workshops with residents and businesses, where we just sat down for a chat,” said Ferro, during a forum in December. “We’ve worked to identify opportunities for connectivity and transit, find funding sources and strategies, and we’ve started to develop some transportation improvements to see what we can do, now, to improve the conditions out there.”
“‘The Route 8 area is dangerous,’ is what we heard,” she said at the time. “People also said they use back roads to avoid East Main, that they’d like to see better bus routes, more crosswalk signals and a way to get people to stop making illegal left turns.”
Good Earth suggested ways to lessen that problem with restricted turns, traffic islands and improved traffic signals, as well as managing the many driveways on the road and how they’re used by delivery trucks, for example.
Traffic engineer Michael Santos said there were ways to improve the East Elm/East Main area, keeping in mind that East Main/Route 202 is a state road, and that any ideas first must be approved by the state DOT.
The team’s ideas included include a better intersection, improved signal timing, replacing of pedestrian signs and addition of signaled pedestrian crossings at intersections. The city also is working on a sidewalk plan for the roadway that would improve safety, Santos said.
Any recommendations from the study will be discussed and possibly incorporated into the city’s future development plans.
An online forum will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 10 via Zoom.
To attend the Feb. 10 forum, go to zoom.us/join, meeting number 889 3936 7578, passcode 331244.
Residents can see the first presentation at www.torringtonct.org/economic-development/pages/e-main-street-corridor-study.
For information, contact Economic Development Director Rista Malanca at 860-496-5920 or email Rista_Malanca@torringtonct.org.