Plans to continue with traffic calming measures hit a road block Monday night when the Legislative Council tabled a request to spend $20,000 on a number of different items aiming at getting drivers to slow down.
The town had gone out to bid for the work but received no response, Chief Administrative Officer Curt Balzano Leng said. So instead the administration asked the council to approve a bid waiver to buy $20,000 worth of speed humps, speed tables, traffic circles and other traffic calming tools from Traffic Logic.
But when Leng and Police Chief Tom Wydra couldn't pinpoint exactly what the money would be used for and what streets would be targeted, the council decided it needed those details before it could approve the money.
"I hate to say yes to $20,000 when if someone asked what the money was going for I can't tell them," said Councilwoman Carol Noble.
"I'm a little uncomfortable agreeing to this without knowing the cost of anything," Councilman Jack Kennelly said.
Why no one bid on this work is a mystery, Leng said. Traffic Logic is a company that has worked on traffic calming measures in New Haven, he said, but did not bid on the Hamden job.
"We are going to go back out to bid on a more extensive package," Leng said, but in the meantime the administration wants the $20,000 to keep the project moving.
But what exactly that money would go for hasn't been determined, Leng and Wydra said. It would depend on which streets are targeted and what the needs are there, they said.
Everything purchased would be temporary items rather than permenant fixtures, Leng said, and the temporary measures generally cost more than the permanent fixes.
The town contracted with the firm Fitzgerald and Halliday to come up with traffic calming plans for the Whitneyville and Spring Glen neighborhoods and presented preliminary plans for those neighborhoods at a meeting last week.
There are eight streets that will be initially targeted, Leng said. The entire project could top $1 million, he said, which would include the installation of an extensive network of sidewalks that would take pedestrian traffic off the roads.
"We think this is doable over the course of several years," Leng said.
If the $20,000 were approved, the firm would evaluate the targeted streets for what is needed and then come up with the cost, Wydra said.
"We would get the vendor out to take the measurements and come up with a price," he said.
"I don't think we should do anything until we know exactly what we're doing," Kennelly said.
"The goal was to keep the process moving," Leng said.
"The administration needs to educate the council as to what has been going on [concerning traffic calming]," said Councilwoman Kath Schomaker, who was named Monday the chairman of the council's new Traffic Committee.
"We need to have a road map and in the future a traffic calming policy," Schomaker said, "and how we are going to expand it to other parts of town."
"The long-term plans are a concern of mine," said Councilman Austin Cesare, who was elected to the council in November after serving on the Board of Education.
"When I was campaigning, after taxes the issue I heard about most was traffic calming," Cesare said. "It's a concern for residents."
The town is now in the process of negotiating with Fitzgerald and Halliday for a traffic study of the West Woods area, as well as for town-wide traffic calming plans, Leng said.
Since the council tabled action on the request for the $20,000, the town will again go out to bid for the work, which will happen before the council next meets on Dec. 27, Leng said.