Clash over ‘scary’ intersection

MILFORD – Residents of Ledgewood Bay Condominiums want to avoid the notoriously difficult intersection of Nashua Street and Tonella Road.

Residents of Prospect Street don’t want additional traffic from 98 condominiums on their hilly residential road.

Both goals collided Monday when the two groups came together at a meeting of the town’s Traffic Safety Committee.

The committee has to make a recommendation on a request from the condominium’s board of directors to change Phillips Way, which connects the condominiums to Prospect, from one-way in, to one-way out so that condo residents can use Prospect as an alternative exit and avoid Tonella Road.

Dozens of people crowded the police station’s conference room Monday, Oct. 21, until it was standing-room-only.

Residents of the 55-and-
older condominiums said exiting their development by way of the
Tonella Road/Nashua Street intersection is “scary” and “petrifying.”

“It’s total murder,” said Tom Guerrere, especially when cars in the County Stores parking lot block the view of traffic. “You have to have four sets of eyes and three sets of ears.”

Prospect Street residents said the town made a mistake 10 years ago when it approved the Ledgewood development, which also includes an assisted living facility, and now they are paying the price.

Prospect, they said, is narrow, has only partial sidewalks and many children, and it has a steep hill that ends in a sharp turn that is difficult to negotiate in the winter.

“We have little children playing in the street, and people who are not as sharp as they could be” will be driving on it, said Gale Lee Woods.

Residents clashed on whether Prospect already has too much traffic and residents of that road said the change in direction would double its traffic.

Prospect Street resident Anita Johnson said it is not just Ledgewood condominium residents who would take advantage of the reverse direction. Assisted living facility guests and employees would also go down Prospect.

“I know how fast the employees go now and they are not going to slow down,” she said.

But everyone seemed to agree that the solution to the problem would be a traffic signal at the intersection of Nashua Street and Tonella Road.

Celeste Barr, of Prospect Street, noted that a traffic study rated the intersection as the town’s second highest area of concern, following the Oval at No. 1. No. 3 was Prospect Street at Route 13, she said.

By reversing Phillips Way, she said, “you’d be taking your problem” and giving it to Prospect Street.

Some of the Ledgewood residents said they’d been lied to by developers years ago who told them they could use Prospect to exit their development, and the map they were given shows a two-way street. Selectmen’s Chairman and committee member Gary Daniels read from the original plan for the development that Ledgewood was “designed, built and accepted by the Board of Selectmen as one-way in.”

Both groups have offered petitions to the committee.

Also before the committee are requests from Prospect Street residents that their street be posted for no-through truck traffic and the speed limit lowered from 30 to 25 mph.

People wanted to know the opinion of retired Milford Fire Chief Richard Tortorelli, who is a member of the committee. At the end of the meeting he was applauded after he said the traffic light on Nashua Street was the problem.

Some old versus young tension sprang up during the session, but one Ledgewood resident brought laughs and smiles when he extolled the friendliness of his Prospect Street neighbors and asked the police chief, who is on the traffic safety committee, “to show a little mercy” regarding traffic tickets.

The Traffic Safety Committee is an advisory board and it will offer a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen, who will make the decision on the issue.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or
kcleveland@cabinet.com.