Traffic lights — the bane of Westport drivers — may all but disappear from Westport roads soon.
Governor Dannel Malloy will announce later today that Westport is one of 3 Connecticut towns chosen for a pilot project that — counter-intuitively, but logically — will remove traffic lights in an attempt to improve traffic flow and ease accidents.
Studies show that dangerous intersections without lights — such as Westport’s complex Easton Road/Weston Road intersection near Merritt Parkway Exit 42 — have far fewer accidents than less complex intersections with lights. The reason is that drivers proceed more cautiously through tough, light-less intersections.
The plan — developed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation — involves the removal of 80 percent of traffic lights in 3 towns (Westport, Guilford and West Hartford).
“Rather than attempting to ‘beat lights,’ we expect drivers will come to full stops at all intersections without lights,” a DOT report said. “They will proceed with caution, alternating through previously lighted intersections much as drivers do now at 4-way stops controlled by stop signs.”
The pilot program will run from early August through the end of the year.
It is projected to cost $2.8 million. Funding — which includes removal of red lights, installation of stop signs (and warning signs), and a contingency legal fund in case of lawsuits — comes from the DOT and Eno Center for Transportation.
Coincidentally, William Phelps Eno — who developed many modern traffic techniques, including red lights — lived for many years in Westport.
DOT is requesting input from Westporters as to which lights should be included in the 80% that will be removed, and which should remain. Click here to suggest lights for removal or retention, or click here to offer feedback on the plan.