Two of the top issues in Danbury that always drives residents insane are irresponsible development and traffic congestion. In looking back at some of the key moments in Danbury from 2007, the bizarre opening of Elmer's Diner best highlight both of these concerns.
While we'll go back and report on the origins of this development and set the record straight about how this diner came to existence, when the diner opened, I wanted to make a point to show the various traffic problems this business created for commuters who travel daily on North Street.
As 2007 comes to an end and we enter 2008, we'll also update readers on what happened in terms of the traffic problems after this write-up was posted.
NOTE: The cached link to the original News-Times article is dead. We now have a server in place that takes a daily snapshot of the site so things like this can be avoided in the future. I'll have to do a Lexis-Nexis search to find the original online article and editorial and I'll update the site once that's done.
Originally posted in May 2007.Why is the City of Danbury allowing this dangerous parking on a busy road to take place? Why aren't there any NO PARKING SIGNS in front of the diner? Isn't this just a disaster just waiting to happen?
While I was working on a full background post on Elmer's Diner scandal, since the News-Times did such a poor job
with their story on the Diner nightmare, I felt compelled to start rolling on my footage.
If EVERYONE in the city knew that Elmer's Diner would be a traffic nightmare, why did City Hall drop the ball?
The situation is quite simple and everyone knew the drill...with the limited parking space at the location, the high traffic conditions on Padanaram Road (one of the busiest streets in Danbury) and the grumblings from the public since the start of the diner's construction, EVERYONE who travel the roads in Danbury daily were fully
aware about the serious traffic problems the opening of Elmer's Diner would create (including a mayor who lives in that general area and has had an earful from the public for months).
Given this fact, one has to wonder why the traffic conditions at the diner's highly congested location were not properly addressed? Think about it.
Elmer's Diner consist of 22 parking spaces
for a place that seats 88 people
the diner ONLY has 22
parking spaces for 88
Now, based on that fact alone, you know you're going to run into some problems. Oh, lets not leave out the fact that there is no stop light present, no crosswalk, and it's only a two lane street.(click photo to enlarge)
Since the parking is limited and the parking area is extremely tight, customers are doing two things that are recklessly irresponsible:• Park on the shoulder of Padanaram Road
People opening their car doors while not parking properly off the shoulder and are too far into the road, customers leaving the diner AND MAKING AN ILLEGAL U-TURN INTO TRAFFIC, customers leaving the parking lot are limited in the amount of traffic they can view due to the cars parked an the road).• Park in the strip mall and dart across the Padanaram Rd
WHAT'S EVEN MORE DANGEROUSLY are the customers who have no regard for the traffic laws (or didn't notice that there isn't a crosswalk in the street) and are parking across the street at the strip mall, taking their lives into their hands, and darting across the busy street.
Note the irresponsible parent rushing across the street to the diner WITH HER KIDS IN HER HANDS.
Now, again, with the limited parking, the major traffic congestion on this stretch of road, and the parking on the other side of the street, EVERYONE in Danbury knew the exact problems we now face were going to happen.
What will it take for Mayor Boughton and those who are in charge in keeping our roads safe will show a marginable amount of leadership and get this situation taken care of before someone gets hurt?
• Will a MAJOR accident do the trick?
• Will someone getting hit by a car to get City Hall to deal with the situation?
Unfortunately, the city HAS done nothing about the TRAFFIC DISASTER that everyone knew was coming.
According to the News-Times, Mayor Boughton hasn't gotten around to addressing the EASIEST traffic problem that should have been addressed months ago...sending a formal request to the state to post NO PARKING SIGNS IN FRONT OF THE DINER.
Nearly 25,000 motorists drive on Padanaram Road between Hayestown Avenue and Golden Hill Road each weekday, according to city traffic statistics.
Capt. Robert Myles said even though police haven't handed out tickets for parking on Padanaram Road, vehicles could be towed if they jut out into the road.
"There is a wide shoulder, but you can see where it could be a hazard," he said.
Myles said the police are talking with the state Department of Transportation about putting up three "No Parking" signs along the state road.
Judd Everhart, a DOT spokesman, said a formal request for signs from the city had not been filed as of Tuesday.
Once it's filed, a state worker will check out the scene. Everhart could not set a timetable for the process, but said it would be "weeks compared to days."
To give you a real idea of just how bad things are over on Padanaram right now, I present to you this following video footage of the location. While your watching the trainwreck, take note of the following situations:
• AN ELDERLY WOMAN CROSSING THE STREET WITH THE USE OF A WALKER.
• A customer leaving the diner in a SUV, after parking on the shoulder of Padanaram Road, and MAKING A U-TURN.
• A woman making a ill-advised left hand turn out of the parking lot which could have resulted in an accident.
• Customers having problems turning in and out of the diner parking lot due to cars on the street, which are blocking the view of the road.
• The sound of brakes locking up on a truck that is driving too fast, which during the winter would certainly hit the set of cars pulling out of the parking lot.
After almost being a victim of an accident while videotaping the traffic from the sidewalk, watching a senior citizen crossing Padanaram Road (using a walker) to a parking spot that was not designated for the diner, and incident after incident of diner customers causing traffic violations, it's my sincere opinion that the current administration has once again failed the residents of Danbury by not taking the necessary steps to keep one of the most heavily trafficked road in the area safe.
In other words, this whole traffic situation this diner created should have been foreseen and properly addressed before the diner was allowed to open. Seeing that the city hasn't requested that the DOT place NO PARKING signs in front of the diner (which would at least solve the problem with cars parking in the shoulder and being in the way of emergency vehicles) speaks volumes about the foresight of this administration.
Again the problems stemming from the opening of the diner is NOTHING new to anyone who has been keeping an eye on the construction of the site. This very blog has commented several posts on the traffic conditions in the road that connects Danbury to New Fairfield going back as far as late 2005. When the mayor addressed the diner in the media, he felt it better to use the overused
political card of placing the blame on the previous administration instead of maybe addressing the matters the diner created that could have been addressed by the various departments under his own watch.
Again, this portion of the News-Times article speaks volumes about the foresight of this administration.
Judd Everhart, a DOT spokesman, said a formal request for [NO PARKING] signs [in front of the diner] from the city had not been filed as of Tuesday.
I guess the mayor was too busy playing the role of the immigration czar (here
, and here
), to address real issues in Danbury that people are up in arms about.
Well keep an eye on things and let you know when the first person is hit by a car, someone pulls a stupid traffic move that causes a major accident, when parks on the side of the road, opens a car door and it gets ripped off by a passing car, or any other host of traffic problems that even Stevie Wonder could see happening months ago.
If anyone gets hurt, you know which way to point the finger...