The Weston Police Commission and the Police Department will continue to look at ways to improve safety on Old Mill Road in Weston, especially the northern portion in front of the Cobbs Mill Inn.
At a meeting May 16, Weston police Chief John Troxell updated the Board of Selectmen on traffic calming measures and possibilities for controlling speeding on the narrow, winding road that often serves as a “cut-through” for commuters. Residents have complained that conditions are dangerous, and the selectmen have indicated they are concerned about more pedestrians crossing the road when the Cobb’s Mill Inn opens for coffee and breakfast; the parking lot is across the street from the restaurant.
Chief Troxell offered a mea culpa for remarks he made at an earlier meeting suggesting that work was not done in a timely manner by the town Highway Department. Chief Troxell said when he went back and checked, he had not, in fact, sent in writing some requests that he thought he had made.
Those requests have since been “hand delivered,” he said, and he and Joe Lametta, Highway Department supervisor, and John Conte, town engineer, have visited Old Mill Road together.
Chief Troxell said they discovered that several things requested by the Police Commission — signs warning of pedestrian crossings, children at play, no parking, no through trucks, etc. — are in place. In addition, the crosswalks in front of the restaurant are scheduled to be re-painted after the end of the month.
However, Chief Troxell said they also discovered some deficiencies. Many of the signs are old and faded. A large stump is too close to the road. And some shrubs need to be cut back from the road.
Of greatest concern was the discovery that an improvement plan approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission several years ago for the Cobb’s Mill Inn parking lot has not been completed. Chief Troxell said the plan called for moving the parking lot entrances farther north and making them one-way (one entrance and one exit). There were also a number of shrubs the restaurant’s owner, Drew Friedman, had said he would address, but apparently he hasn’t, Chief Troxell said.
First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said she and the town engineer will speak with P&Z to see what the status of the plan is.
Going forward, Chief Troxell said the Police Department will continue to monitor speed on the road and will continue to occasionally put an electronic message board on the road that warns drivers to watch their speed.
In addition, the Police Commission is developing a speed hump policy for the town and it will look more closely at whether speed humps are appropriate on Old Mill. There are already speed humps on the southern portion of the road, which is in Wilton; the road becomes Cobb’s Mill Road when it crosses into Wilton.
Chief Troxell said he believes a coherent, clear policy on when and where speed humps are appropriate will be helpful for residents throughout town — not just on Old Mill Road — who may wonder if the humps could be installed on their roads.
The Police Commission is also looking at what kind of traffic cones may be appropriate on the road.
Sgt. Pat Daubert warned, “Traffic cones can have a crazy effect on traffic. It really has to be well thought out.”
Bill Brady, chairman of the Police Commission, said discussion of a clear plan for Old Mill Road is on the commission’s agenda for its June meeting.