Stamford Improves Commute Times And Parking Downtown
Governor Lamont is right in citing transportation and infrastructure are a major concern of Connecticut residents. While the Governor can handle State-level efforts, Stamford has shown us that there are improvements that can be made on the municipal side that will improve the commutes of their residents.
One of the most interesting changes that have been made haven’t been made at road level, but way above with the familiar street signals. The average commuter may notice on their daily commute the timing between two traffic signals — they always hit two greens or two reds in a row, for instance — but they may not know how crucial that timing is to preventing congestion in high-traffic areas.
In his State of the City address, Mayor David Martin had cited a major traffic light resynchronization on Long Ridge Road, High Ridge Road, and West Main Street that improved the flow of traffic.
According to Mayor Martin, the last time Stamford took on this effort was in 1991, and since then new technologies have been made available. The city made use of fiber optics, one of the fastest connections available on the market to allow street lights to respond more quickly and accurately. Figures from the Stamford Advocate suggest that there have been reductions in commutes by over 30% on some streets.
Ironically, because these lights are optimized for the posted speed limits, the more you speed, the more red lights you will hit. That means that in addition to making traffic smoother, they are making it safer at the same time.
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With the initial success, the project will be moving forward to Stamford’s downtown area. Mayor Martin says that the City’s Traffic, Transportation and Parking Department has begun work on the downtown area, and expects work to be done by the end of summer.
Once downtown, commuters will have an easier time parking due to upgrades to the parking meters, which now accept all forms of payments including cash, credit cards, and mobile app synchronization for ease of use. Not only are they more people friendly, but they are solar-powered, which means that there’s minimal carbon footprint on their costs.
One highlight of this new system goes to commuters who are unwittingly trying to pay for parking when they don’t need to: “the new meters will refuse payments if a resident attempts to pay outside of operating hours.”
A municipality’s infrastructure is the one way a resident interacts with their town on a nearly daily basis. Stamford’s efforts to make their town more accessible, safer, and traffic quicker is one of the reasons that the city has seen such growth.