At each Monday’s P&Z briefing and Thursday’s assembly, the principle attraction was the proposed intersection enhancements on Greenwich Avenue: Havemeyer/Arch and Fawcett/Grigg, although most feedback centered on the previous, which is positioned in a Historic Nationwide Register District.
First Selectman Fred Camillo, who has passionately advocated for the enhancements, stated that again within the Nineties there was an effort to do one thing comparable on the Avenue. He famous that was previous to cell telephones and the more moderen inflow of out-of-towners.
Camillo stated the enhancements have been absolutely funded by a state grant and the hassle had the assist of Greenwich Police, Greenwich Fireplace Dept, Greenwich Communities, Fee on Getting old, and the First Selectman’s Committee for Individuals with Disabilities, in addition to house owners of native companies and eating places.
“It not solely beautifies the world, however breaks up a concrete boulevard and enhances public security,” Camillo stated.
DPW deputy commissioner Jim Michel stated the enhancements included Full Streets ideas of shared duty for security between drivers and pedestrians.
“Drivers need to be partially chargeable for their habits after they undergo these intersections. Drivers are human and make errors,” Mr. Michel stated. “If there may be the opportunity of a crash, that autos are touring at slower speeds to allow them to transfer slowly by way of the intersections and influence of crashes is minimal.”
Police Officer directing visitors on the intersection of Havemeyer, Arch and Greenwich Avenue. Cops have been taken off visitors responsibility in 2021. File Picture
One-Method Facet Streets?
The fee requested Mr. Michel in regards to the concept of creating Arch Road a technique, northbound.
“The intersection of Sound View and Arch Road has one of many highest variety of crashes,” stated fee chair Margarita Alban. “The cease signal is horrendous and folks get bored with ready there. That is what is going on now at Elm Road.”
Mr. Michel stated DPW had checked out a wide range of security choices for downtown, together with constructing parking constructions and pedestrian malls, in addition to making facet streets one-way, similar to Arch, Elm and Lewis. He stated analysis confirmed making facet streets one-way would lead to elevated visitors volumes, particularly on Greenwich Avenue, Mason Road and Milbank Ave.
He stated most crashes on the Avenue stemmed from parking, not dashing.
Mr. Michel reminded the fee that the Avenue was initially designed previous to widespread possession of automobiles.
He introduced up considerations about paving the swath of garden on the Havemeyer property with a purpose to straighten out the intersection, which might lead to a sidewalk a lot nearer to the Bolling monument.
Mr. Michel stated that part of garden was inside the city’s proper of approach.
Additional, he stated the proposal was not for a raised intersection, which was completed at Elm Road.
That stated, he added, “We’ve mentioned the crosswalk on the slip lane being raised, which might assist individuals decelerate from flying across the nook.”
As for the driveway popping out of the Senior Middle, which is occasionally used, he stated which may change. The rendering exhibits it popping out to the Avenue, somewhat than to Havemeyer, which it does presently.
The driveway from the Senior Middle/Greenwich Arts Council constructing is redirected immediately onto Greenwich Avenue within the present rendering.
Massive “patios” can be “assortment factors” for pedestrians ready to cross. Jim Michel from DPW stated they might dovetail properly if the city determined to put in visitors lights on the intersection.
Bolling monument on the garden of the Havemeyer constructing, residence to the Board of Schooling. July 8, 2022 Picture: Leslie Yager
Automobiles ready on the intersection of East Elm and Greenwich Avenue. July 7, 2022
Ms Alban stated quite a few emails to P&Z had fallen into 4 broad classes:
• Parking and visitors
• Consistency with Historic Nationwide Register District and respect for the historic monuments
• Aesthetics, together with the quantity of inexperienced house, landscaping, design of the landscaping, and environmental sustainability
“Beginning with security, the criticism we get in a ton of emails is the Elm Road bump outs haven’t eradicated a number of the considerations for pedestrians coming throughout, and there may be nonetheless confusion at Elm Road,” she stated, although she shared that she favored the idea of bumpouts to reinforce security and supported the target general.
“We (the commissioners) have been strolling it on a frequent foundation. The visitors and pedestrian quantity is large, and the Avenue is vibrant – and bump outs actually aren’t the entire resolution. That’s why (the fee) raised the thought of contemplating visitors indicators and discovering historic ones from the Thirties which are in step with the contributing constructions.”
Mr. Michel stated visitors lights on the Avenue can be required to “dangle” over every lane, per code.
Ms Alban disagreed. “Why?” she requested. “We’re not getting federal or state funding (for lights).”
Mr. Levy agreed. “Different cities have completed this. Particularly in historic districts.”
On the subject of the “patios” on the intersection corners, Mr. Michel stated they might function “assortment factors” for pedestrians ready to cross, and would dovetail properly if visitors lights have been put in sooner or later.
He stated as much as 800 pedestrians cross by way of the intersection of Arch and Havemeyer per hour.
Of the 90 crashes on Greenwich Ave over the previous three years, Mr. Michel stated they have been unfold alongside the size of the Avenue, and that the intersection of Havemeyer/Arch didn’t stand out for having crashes.
Later, throughout public remark, Steph Cowie, from the First Selectman’s Committee for Individuals with Disabilities, stated visitors knowledge didn’t account for quite a few close to misses.
“Mishaps are by no means reported,” she stated, including that there was no knowledge on the variety of individuals driving the incorrect approach up Greenwich Ave.
The commissioners stated they have been involved in regards to the quantity of pavement within the type of bump outs, patios and large sidewalks, and most popular inexperienced house.
However throughout public remark, Alyssa Keleshian cautioned in opposition to the proliferation of flower beds within the bump outs as a result of DPW didn’t having the manpower to keep up them.
“There’s a whole lot of weeds up and down the Avenue and on the curbs. There’s overgrown weeds within the flower beds outdoors Hinoki – the weeds at the moment are taking over flowers.”
Weeds within the current bump out on the nook of Fawcett and Greenwich Avenue. July 7, 2022
Weeds within the current bump out on the nook of Fawcett and Greenwich Avenue. July 8, 2022
Plantings in bump out beds on the Elm Road intersections. July 8, 2022
Keleshian added, “In case you have a look at even the Elm Road bump outs, whereas they’re fairly now, within the winter they’re barren and there’s mulch everywhere. I do know the (DPW) manpower is tight, earlier than we put in any extra greenspace we want to have the ability to handle it. There’s brown grass all around the Avenue.”
Ms Alban responded that easy-to-maintain evergreen plantings in step with the Nationwide Register District have been being thought of.
“We’re headed within the course of historical past, and the historical past seems to be decrease upkeep. We expect which may be a win-win.”
Mr. Michel stated plantings would have to be salt tolerant. He defined that since there is no such thing as a place to retailer snow eliminated by snow plows, the city depends on salt to soften the snow.
He additionally agreed DPW and the Parks Dept struggled to handle current panorama beds, and that they might search for native companies to volunteer to take care of them.
Ms Keleshian stated it was crucial to protect as many parking spots on Greenwich Ave as potential.
Michael Spilo, chair of the RTM Public Works committee, stated the lack of parking spots on Greenwich Ave and creation of latest parking spots within the neighborhood of the Ave was “not apples to apples.”
“I need a extra complete checklist of the place the parking spots are added,” he stated.
Mr. Spilo stated he had considerations in regards to the intersection design, and its influence to visitors stream.
He prompt dashing was not an issue on Greenwich Ave. He stated in response to state knowledge, the common velocity on the Ave was simply 19 miles per hour.
Matt Popp, an area panorama architect, stated the intersection design was “very engineered.”
“The walkways don’t align and the panorama beds are cluttered,” he famous.
“I can’t work out why there’s a bypass lane in the course of the bump out,” he continued. “That is too vital a undertaking to be designed in-house by DPW employees.”
“The POCD tenet No. 1 is to protect group character and sense of place. The Historic District Fee voted 8-1 in opposition to (the design) and this software failed to fulfill that tenet.”
Alex Popp stated the fly lane was unsafe. “And I don’t assume it will increase security. It’s one other hazard for individuals driving down the Avenue.”
David Wold listed considerations together with a troubling sight line for individuals strolling north on Arch Road within the space of Bolling Place and the BOE parking zone.
“You may’t see the visitors coming southbound,” he stated.
Additionally, Wold stated that with the addition of the fly lane and island, pedestrians ready to cross would have a number of choices to cross, and that may confuse drivers.
“That’ll lockup automobiles within the intersection,” he stated.
Design Delicate to the Historic District
At Monday’s briefing, commissioner Peter Levy urged a making a design delicate to the Beaux Arts structure within the neighborhood.
“This sort of design was not meant for such a sophisticated intersection,” Levy stated. “The thought of imposing this design is a generic one, and I don’t assume you may simply…do it anyplace. It won’t be an acceptable concept for this intersection.”
Levy talked about preserving “the uneven axiality” of the historic district that features the obelisk and triangle in entrance of the historic publish workplace constructing.
Referring to Elm Road, he stated, “The issues there appear to be repeated right here.”
“The purpose is to do no hurt,” he added.
Levy additionally stated the “island” by the proposed fly lane was complicated for each pedestrians and drivers.
“It’s very awkward,” he stated. “That could be a very powerful factor to ask a pedestrian – to cross to the island. It’s not a very good resolution. Relying on the visitors stream, it may well create a whole lot of confusion and I don’t assume it’s very secure….You may have 4 corners, and now rapidly, somebody who goes onto the island is within the visitors stream as an alternative of being shielded from the visitors stream.”
The problem of being in step with the historic district was additionally topic of a prolonged dialogue among the many Historic District Fee on Wednesday, June 22 (HDC Suggestions on Havemeyer/Arch Bumpout: Respect ‘The Soul of Greenwich’). (HDC is advisory to P&Z).
Proposed patios on the corners of Hinoki, Mediterraneo and Meli-Melo.
Grigg and Fawcett Intersection
There was much less dialogue in regards to the Grigg/Fawcett intersection.
Mr. Michel stated HDC had prompt making the crosswalk at Fawcett “extra parallel than askew.”
He defined that the patio areas at Meli-Melo and Mediterraneo eating places have been initially going to be inexperienced areas, however have been switched to pavement, however general, he stated the intersections would lead to a discount in impervious floor.
(Additionally, the preliminary design was for an Uber drop off space in entrance of the Apple Retailer. That has been eradicated.)
“One concern that surfaced on the briefing is that 3 eating places are getting pretty sidewalk eating, however not the remainder of the Avenue, and that doesn’t appear honest,” Ms Alban stated.
Mr. Michel responded, saying, “The patios are put in for security to make the intersections operate higher, to not give some individuals unfair remedy.”
Throughout public remark, Jonathan Martin stated creating patios for restaurant use with tax payer funds was “grossly inequitable to retailers.”
“How the out of doors seating is now, it may be eliminated within the winter,” he stated, referring to the jersey boundaries forming ‘nodes.’
“Retailers depend on 60% of their enterprise between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Mr. Martin stated.
“Turning one thing right into a patio for 2 eating places isn’t honest to the neighbors,” he added.
Visitors on Greenwich Avenue at nightfall approaching the intersection of Havemeyer and Arch Road Picture: Leslie Yager
Thursday’s P&Z dialogue ended with an settlement that P&Z would refer the design to the Greenscape Committee, which incorporates two panorama architects – Richard Hein and John Conte – in addition to illustration from the Conservation Fee, Mr. Michel from DPW, JoAnn Messina from the Greenwich Tree Conservancy, and Tree Warden Dr. Greg Kramer. The committee additionally consists of city planner Katie DeLuca, however deliberately doesn’t embody P&Z commissioners.
Ms. Alban stated it was vital that the design be in line with the historic Beaux Arts design and that it “carry the attention to vital monuments.”
“There is no such thing as a curiosity in the neighborhood for one thing that appears fashionable, techie and engineer-ie,” Alban added.
The chair requested Mr. Michel to not be dissatisfied. She stated she hoped the Greenscape Committee might current a brand new design to P&Z by August or September.
No movement was wanted to confer with the Greenscape committee.
“We’re hoping we are able to tackle sufficient points that this can change into non-controversial,” Alban stated.
“Mr. Camillo saved the Avenue alive throughout Covid,” she added. “And I believe that is one other step to preserving the vitality of the Avenue, and it’s only a query of getting the execution proper.”
In 2015 an indication was erected reflecting that the world together with the intersection of Havemeyer and Arch are a part of the Greenwich Municipal Middle Historic District. Pictured former Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei and former city planner Diane Fox. Picture: Leslie Yager
In 2015 an indication was erected reflecting that the world together with the intersection of Havemeyer and Arch are a part of the Greenwich Municipal Middle Historic District. Picture: Leslie Yager
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