East Ave. Road Widening Public Hearing

Thursday night ¬†at City Hall the DOT will be holding a public hearing on the ongoing subject of widening East Ave. Maybe this would be a good time to point out the recurring crater on the East Ave. bridge over I-95. At the last public hearing on this subject held by the Common Council, I expressed my concern that the widening include wider sidewalks that include a green strip, not brick, between the curb and the sidewalk. The East Norwalk train station generates plenty of pedestrians who trek up the East Ave. sidewalks. Since then I’ve concluded that a permanent bike lane would be appropriate. This would actually fall under modern 21st century transportation practices, something Norwalk seems to be unaware of. (Did I just end a sentence with a preposition? zoinks)

The funny thing is that a long time ago, 10 decades or so, Norwalk’s streets had wide sidewalks, graceful trees shading the roads, trolley tracks in the middle and nary a pot hole in site. Of course that was because the roads weren’t paved, at least according to the sepia vintage postcards I’ve been looking at. Let’s reminisce shall we?

The hearing will be  Thursday, November 18 at 7 PM at City Hall.

10 comments

  1. Somebody Else

    Back in olden times, when I was a child, even West Avenue was relatively pretty. I think all things considered East Avenue is still fairly attractive, but you’re definitely right about the sidewalks.

  2. OLD TIMER

    That West Ave, North from Seymour Street is the view from about where the turnpike crosses. There were some very nice houses along that stretch on the West side, and there were several little side streets off West Ave. One property owner kept one goat and paid taxes on a large part of West Ave as farmland for years.
    The East Ave picture shows a little bit of 93 East Ave on the right and the building that is now Collins funeral home on the left, probably taken from about where Lockwood Lane meets East Ave

  3. OLD TIMER

    Once they make it possible for big vehicles to get under that RR bridge, and make the road wider, that “post Road” flavor will not be far behind. It makes sense to make the road there wider and have decent sidewalks, but opening it up to big trucks is, in my opinion, a mistake and a waste of tax money. There are ways to get anywhere in East Norwalk, using other ways over or under the tracks. Opening it up on East Ave will encourage trucks to use it as shortcut to and from South Norwalk

  4. turfgrrl

    I really have no problem with trucks running through East Ave. as it is also route 136, and is supposed to be an alternate truck route. The thing is, it shouldn’t be an all or nothing widening. Trucks, people, bikes and pedestrians can all fit, and the buffer of trees and other vegetation between the sidewalks and the road is what makes a road work for everyone. Too often these issues get boiled down to a pro or con position, when instead everyone should be focused on addressing what legitimate concerns can be solved.

    • David Marcus

      One thing to clarify…East Ave is not Rt 136. East Ave is a city road. Rt 136 runs along Winfield St out to Saugatuck.

      Other than that, I agree with your sentiment…there are some good things about this project, especially the station-area improvements and new sidewalks. I’m not convinced about the congestion-mitigating aspects. Also, I’m disappointed that no accommodations have been made for bikes and that the pedestrian environment will suffer from longer crossing distances and a busier roadway.

  5. Norwalk Spectator

    Last time I looked, the State does jurisdiction over portions of East Avenue, notably the area covered by the entrance & exit ramps of I95 northbound through to the exit and entrance ramps of I95 southbound plus a bit more beyond that. They also have control of a section of approximately two blocks from the intersection of Winfield Street to Van Zant, along with the area right adjacent to the railroad tracks. ConnDOT Rail actually has authority over the railroad underpass, not the City, as I understand it. Those are critical pieces of the street.

    Oh, and I’m curious. Diane Cece mentioned in her letter that the lower portion East Avenue would turn in to a “speedway” (I believe that was the word she used, but am not sure) if the changes were made. I guess I must drive it at the wrong times since the words “speed” and “East Avenue” never have occurred to me in the same thought. I’m thrilled when I get to go 35 miles per hour there.

  6. OLD TIMER

    The speed some people achieve on parts of East Ave is sometimes amazing. I suspect the only reason you never see speeding enforcement, is the lack of any place to safely pull over offenders. I don’t mean during rush hour traffic, but at other times. I have a pretty heavy foot, myself, and I have had cars breeze past me like I was stopped when I was well over 40 mph.