Issues

“Why is there so much traffic on Main Street during rush hour?”

I hear you – looking out on Main Street from my office, I see how it gets during the morning and afternoon rush. I know some may think it comes from overdevelopment, but that’s not the case. There actually hasn’t been enough development in Ridgefield over the past few years to affect traffic in a meaningful way.

Research shows the three main reasons are:

  • People making turns off Main Street, which forces traffic to build up behind them.
    • Solution: As part of the 2020 Main Street Project, financed by the state, we’ll introduce turning lanes, close some alleys, and straighten out the intersection of Prospect Street and the CVS lot, which snarls traffic.
  • There are few alternative routes are other than Main Street! For example, the concrete blocks separating two parking lots on the east side of the street force drivers onto Main Street.
    • Solution: I am working to get them removed, but they are on private property, so it’s complicated. But I haven’t given up the fight!
  • The diverging jams on I-684 and I-84 are the biggest contributor to Ridgefield’s traffic jams. And this problem is not unique to Ridgefield!
    • Solution: I am in the process of working with municipal leaders and NY and CT transportation officials to find the solution.

NO, I DON’T WANT TOLLS

Let me set the record straight: I don’t want tolls. Who does? But it’ll take billions to fix Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure—far more than gas taxes alone can provide. So, where will the money come from? For years, there were just two alternatives:

1) raise taxes, or

2) introduce some form of tolling. Of those two evils, I‘ve long preferred tolls. It’s only fair that those who use the roads should pay for them. Further, 30-40% of toll revenues would come from out-of-staters (NY, NJ and MA expect us to cough up when we drive there). 

But now there’s good news. The state may have found a third alternative: cheap federal financing through something called the Build America Bureau. What’s exciting about this solution is seeing Hartford’s Democrats and Republicans agree on a major issue. If it plays out, this bipartisan program will render the toll debate moot and we should all be happy for that. Yes, traffic is an issue—and as first selectman I’ve been actively working to address it. For example, the Main Street 2020-21 project, financed entirely with state and federal dollars, will improve vehicle flow through town without affecting downtown character. And I’ve been working with other local leaders and state officials from NY and CT to urge state DOTs to address the actual source of much of our rush-hour traffic woes: the severe congestion where I-84 meets I-684. We, along with North and South Salem, have experienced heavy traffic due to people using Waze and other aps to divert in order to avoid this severe congestion. 

So, do I want tolls? No. But with the Build America proposal, we may not need them.


RUDY KNOWS SMALL TOWNS

Rudy Marconi is a small-town kind of guy. He was born and raised in Ridgefield (class of ’66!) when it was the smallest of small towns. For the past 20 years, he has managed Ridgefield’s growth to maintain our small-town feel.

Rudy is respected state-wide for his skills in leading towns like ours. In fact, he serves as President of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, the voice of our state’s 142 smaller communities.

“Being a small town isn’t just about how many people there are,” Rudy says. “It’s about a way of life. And that small-town way of life is one of the things that makes Ridgefield Ridgefield.”

You can find more information about the Connecticut Council of Small Towns at this link: https://www.ctcost.org/about-cost