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Greenwich Street Rallies To Reduce Speed Limit

GREENWICH, Conn. — A neighborhood petition drive aimed at speeding on Almira Drive brought results Thursday when the Board of Selectmen approved a request to get 25 mph signs on the street.

The board also approved the installation of warning signs so drivers would be aware of the bus stop at Almira Drive and Hawthorne Street. Melissa Evans of the Department of Public Works’ Traffic Section said a proposal has been submitted to the Highway Division to install school bus signs as soon as possible.

Charles Juergens of Almira Drive organized his neighborhood in the fall to submit a petition in which residents voiced their concerns about speeding.

“I have witnessed people accelerate their cars while going down the hill and speed up the hill until they reach Weaver Street," resident Henry Tejada wrote. "I have witnessed parents walking with their children going and coming from the park with strollers almost being hit by cars.”

Residents complained that motorists using Almira as a cut-through street drive too fast in an area where walkers, joggers and children use the road. There are no sidewalks on Almira Drive, and parking is allowed on both sides of most of the street.

“It is long overdue that this issue should be addressed. Almira Drive has become a speedway in both directions,” wrote petitioner Richard Conklin.

The town met with the neighbors Dec. 2 and a consensus was reached to establish a 25 mph speed limit so the Police Department could enforce it. However, Officer Roger Drenth, a traffic technician and accident reconstructionist for the Greenwich Police Department, says speeding in residential areas is difficult to monitor.

"We can't be everywhere at once," said Drenth. "But whenever we ask residents to take surveys in Greenwich, the No. 1 quality of life complaint is speeders. It’s not just a Greenwich problem, its’ a nationwide problem."

Drenth says that Almira Road has one of the steepest grades of any street in town. But despite the unique challenges the road presents, he says the accident rate is not high.

“The reason why people speed is you’ll drive the way you feel comfortable,” said Drenth, adding he has found that most people who speed are the ones who live close by. "The more you let your guard down, like in an area where you are comfortable driving, the more likely an accident tends to be."

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