Whether or not you think parking under/near the Stony Creek railroad bridge on Thimble Island Road is a problem depends on you; according to the local association, as of now, it’s not.
In June, the Traffic Committee was contacted by Halls Point Road resident, Michael Baron, regarding a parking situation that he encountered on Thimble Island Road immediately north of the bridge. The resident said parking under/near the bridge posed a safety issue for drivers.
The Commission deferred the issue to the Stony Creek Association for feedback' they passed the matter onto their own police and traffic committee. SCA president Dan Bullard said he and traffic committee chair, Linda Reed, determined that there was no need to take physical action to change the railroad bridge signage to indicate “No Parking” or to paint the curb yellow – both suggestions posed to them.
Not taking action, Bullard said, was mostly due to the fact that he and Reed think the rouge parked vehicle was an “isolated incident.”
“It never happened before,” said Bullard, “and I didn’t think it was necessary to put signage up or mark the road.”
The speed limit on the roadway is 25 mph and there is a pedestrian lane on both sides of the road under the bridge. There is parking south of the bridge, about 100 feet from the end of the stone on both sides of the road. There is no official parking north of the bridge.
In a letter to Branford Police Commissioner, Jill Marcus, Reed stated, “Given the paved road width, the roadway configuration (e.g. combination of slope and curve), and limited site lines, parking on either side of Thimble Island Road in this particular area is obviously unsafe. It appears that the individual, who elected to park there, clearly did not weigh these factors. It is also possible that the driver had an emergency, which forced him/her to stop in that precise spot.”
Bullard said that while he does not believe parking under the bridge is a problem, the area is a known hazard for drivers given the nature of the curve, slope of the roadway and a drainage ditch, which forced cars and bicyclists to perform tricky navigation. Car accidents have occured there many times over the years, including a last May.
“If I ride my bicycle down there, I literally have to go in the middle of the road to avoid the drain,” said Bullard.
In the fall, Bullard said Director Art Baker will be fixing the drainage ditch to help alleviate some of the safety concerns with driving under the bridge.
At the time of the Branford Board of Police Commissioner’s meeting on Monday, the group was unaware of the correspondence Reed sent to Marcus. Because of the miscommunication, the Board of Police Commissioners could not take official action to address the resident complaint about parking. All final decisions regarding change of signage or adjustments to the roadway must be passed by the town board, even if the association makes a recommendation.
In addition to discussing the potential hazards near the railroad bridge, Bullard mentioned a concern residents had over parking near the SCA dock. Bullard said cars often park in front of the gate blocking egress from the ramp and making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through. He said he’s looking to remedy that problem at this time.
While parking issues are mostly relevant to those who live in the Creek, the question of parking in the area applies to the town given that there is a public beach in the association. Do you find parking in the Creek to be a challenge? What issues concern you?