Have you ever driven east down Main Street and gotten a little confused when you got to Svea Avenue? About four to five car lengths ahead there’s a stoplight and crosswalk at the intersection of Main and Ivy streets. If the light is red, the white line painted on either side of the crosswalk beckons some drivers to pull up and wait for the light to change. The reality is if you do pull up to the line and block the entrance and exit to Svea Street, you’re ignoring the two-foot by two-foot “Stop Here on Red” sign posted at Svea. If you’ve messed this up before in your travels, chances are you’re not alone.
“I always stop at the first line,” said Jenn who works at the nearby . Her co-worker Jo Ann Stempeck quickly chimed in, “but most people don’t. I think they should block that intersection.”
While blocking the intersection is not being consider, at last week’s monthly meeting, the group voted to allow to modify the sign at the intersection to make it larger. According to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devises, Public Works Director Art Baker said the sign needed to be changed to reflect the current requirement of being black and white; the old sign was small and blue and white. Early last week the sign was changed by PWD.
The request posed to the traffic committee to look into a new sign and the intersection in general came from Joe Martin of the . His front door faces the crosswalk that is often clogged up with traffic. Of the awkward stopping requirement, Martin was quick to note, “It has no impact on the store but you sit there and say, ‘It could be so much easier.’”
Martin has owned the Shoppe for 12 years and said he sees the eastbound traffic piling up the hill with cars getting stuck between the offical “stop” line and the actual traffic light. Set up in what can be viewed as an offset T-intersection, the reality is that the three-way stop in the area is two side streets feeding onto and off of Main. Martin sees the issue in both directions. Cars traveling east often think they are going to make the light and get stuck blocking Svea; cars traveling from Ivy Street making a right often get stopped up because someone can’t make a turn due to the overcrowding of cars.
Martin’s solution, though he did not propose it to the traffic committee, is to take the east-facing stoplights and mount them on a pole near Svea Street.
Branford Police Chief Kevin Halloran said the department is looking into the issue in addition to changing the sign, which was required by law anyway. “We’re researching a light to see if it’s a feasible option,” said Halloran.
“It’s not a question of the size,” Martin said of the new sign, “it’s as big as they make them. It’s that drivers don’t expect it.”
Anthony Consiglio, 38-year owner of nearby the intersection said he thinks the new sign looks the same as before. Venturing outside to get a better look at it Consiglio said if the sign is going to be the fix for the intersection, “They have to put a highway sign here, three-foot square.”