Driving north on Shepard Avenue by the Department of Public Works, one passes a sign that says the speed limit is 40 mph.
Not too many yards up the road is another sign that says the speed limit is 30 mph.
That is a problem, according to Francisco Gomes, a traffic engineer with Fitzgerald and Halliday, who is conducting the traffic calming study of the West Woods area of town.
Gomes led a workshop Tuesday night on the results of a survey done this summer on what residents think are the problems with traffic in the northern part of Hamden.
Speed is the one factor most mentioned by the 440 residents who responded to the survey, Gomes said. Those who responded live on 110 different streets, he said, representing a broad section of West Woods.
Other concerns include reckless driving, a lack of sidewalks, lack of maintenance and unsafe intersections, he said.
Between 2000 and 2009, there were 115 accidents that resulted in property damage, 157 with injuries and two fatal accidents on town roads, Gomes said. Both fatal accidents were one-car accidents in which the driver was drunk and hit an object such as a telephone pole, he said.
Whitney Avenue is not included in the study because it is a state-owned road, he said.
As a result of the survey, there are several roads that will be the focus of the town's efforts, Gomes said:
- 1,400 cars per day
- 1.6 crashes per year
Survey comment: "We live on Todd Street and over the years the increase in car and truck traffic has reached dangerous levels. Speed is the major problem. As it is, it is unsafe to walk or ride a bicycle to the rail trail."
West Todd Street
- 2.2 crashes per year
Survey comment: "The traffic volume is high on West Todd and at times cars travel at excess speeds which is a concern with West Woods School being on this road."
- 3,100 vehicles per day
- 4.3 crashes per year
- 30 MPH
- 9.8 crashes per year
- 40 MPH
"Does anyone else refer to it as the Shepard Avenue Speedway?" Gomes asked. "It looks like a residential area but it is a wolf in sheep's clothing where speeding and traffic volume are a concern."
West Woods Road
- 1,600 cars per day -- Western segment
- 3,400 cars per day -- Segment east of York Hill
- 2.3 accidents per year
Gaylord Mountain Road
- Narrow road, no shoulder
- Speeding, cut through traffic
- No sidewalks
Survey comment: "Many people walk this street and the road is so narrow there is no place for pedestrians to go. I've had to duck into the woods to get out of the way."
Still Hill Road
- 1,200 cars per day
Survey comment: "There are so many joggers, walkers, children and dogs and almost no sidewalks available. If there were sidewalks available we could reduce busing at West Woods School."
- 1,100 cars per day
- 0.4 accidents per year
Survey comment: "Having walked and ridden horses between River Road and Tuttle Avenue for the last 30+ years I've seen an increase in cut-through traffic and speeding with which many drivers negotiate this windy hilly road. I'd like to stop cut through traffic or at least slow traffic down."
"We have a lot of work to do," Gomes said. There will be another meeting in November, he said, at which time recommendations will be made as to what traffic calming measures should be taken.