Southington motorists have been irritated over the years regarding road intersections, poor traffic light timing, too many retail plaza driveways and of course, too many traffic lights.
Behold, the town is going to improve a traffic situation that has nothing to do with all of the above. At long last someone at the town and state have discovered, after years of public complaints, that the intersection of busy West Street and Jude Lane needed attention.
Cars turning left from West Street onto Jude Lane must beat the quick left hand turn light or remain in place, thus backing up north-bound traffic. Lack of road space, which could have been secured by eminent domain, forces cars to sit and wait because they can’t get past the waiting car.
Now bids are being advertised for contractors to improve the situation. The bid details may sound complicated but by reasonable terms, all that it needed is another 10 feet of roadway in front of a home. However, no matter what happens, traffic should flow much easier.
The next irritating traffic issue is the driveway of Dunkin’ Donuts in Plantsville Center. Years ago the coffee chain was allowed to have a tiny parking lot with an entrance that stacks up traffic when one potential customer waits for oncoming cars to allow him to enter the lot. In the meantime cars coming from the intersection are backed up to within feet of the traffic light.
And then there’s the intersection of West Main and Summer streets facing the tavern on the corner. Motorists trying to turn left face a wall of the tavern while trying to sneak a few more feet beyond the stop sign to see oncoming cars entering the center of Plantsville.
Let’s consider what the future holds for motorists in our town and beyond. It is a statistical fact that each household will soon own at least three or more cars, since most new motorists like teenagers get ownership of a car. The number of cars on highways and rural roads will increase dramatically in the next decade and beyond. Yet, current roads will never be expanded. That means nearly triple the amount of traffic still driving on the same roads our grandparents did.
West Street, for example, can’t be improved to allow quicker traffic flow because there’s just no room for an extra lane. During mid-afternoon, it’s quite a sight to see how many cars are backed up coming from the Bristol line. Most are heading for Interstate 84. West Street, with or without more retail outlets, will unfortunately remain a congested road for years to come. Good examples of the constant whizzing of cars with little breaks especially for those trying to exit Cava Restaurant or trying to turn left into WineWorks liquor store.
Let’s examine several other frustrations. Motorists exiting High Street while facing an exiting car from Merrell Avenue at the Barnes Museum. Who goes first?
At the south end of the town green a large sign states, “No Left Turn” but it has become invisible to many drivers who neglect the sign and turn left.
Want to enter the town hall parking lot? The only way in or out is to pray for a generous motorist to stop early to allow you in or out. Cars do not realize they are blocking both the entrance and exit for the tight town hall lot.
Continuing toward Center Street forces attention on both sides near the three-story building. The parking spots on both sides are tight, making it a squeeze when exiting or entering.
Roads will never catch up with increasing traffic. Experts believe motorists will be forced onto rural roads when anticipated tolls on specific highways become a reality. Therefore, we can expect to get used to frustration as we face the rear of the other car moving slowly on Berlin Avenue, Liberty Street, Main Street and of course, good old West Street. Take a bus.