Ridgefield adds electrified crosswalk to Main Street construction project

RIDGEFIELD — Town officials have answered a call to make crossing Main Street safer.

Pedestrian-activated crosswalk signs will be added at the mid-block crossing between The Cake Box and the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance. The installation coincides with the thoroughfare’s realignment, slated to break ground this spring.

Earlier this year, resident Lisa DelGiudice organized a change.org petition advocating for safer crosswalks downtown. It garnered more than 500 signatures.

Former Planning & Zoning Commissioner Charles Robbins, who acts as a liaison on the project, said DelGiudice’s petition was the impetus to include an electrified crossing in the plans.

“Many of the residents … felt there was a need for a more distinctive crosswalk signal as opposed to just a sign,” Robbins said. “We decided within the last month … that a flashing crosswalk sign would be advantageous to the town and the residents who cross there.”

These signs will be installed on both ends of the crosswalk. The push of a button activates the flashing lights, signaling drivers to stop for pedestrians who wish to cross.

Phase two

Work on Main Street’s realignment will resume April 23. Twenty percent of the $4 million project is being funded by state dollars, and the remaining 80 percent is being funded by federal dollars.

Construction will begin at the intersection of Main and Prospect streets (near the ingress/egress of CVS) and proceed south toward Governor Street, Robbins said. Workers will add three dedicated turning lanes and bumpouts in addition to the pedestrian push buttons, as well as new trees and plantings along the sidewalks.

Realigning the travel lanes will allow for a “quicker” flow of traffic at the intersection near CVS, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

“That is the biggest problem with getting cars through Ridgefield right now,” he added.

The construction will take six to seven months, bringing the overall project to completion by Thanksgiving. All of the work will take place during “evening hours,” Robbins said.

Marconi assured that the work would not interfere with the Battle of Ridgefield celebrations taking place at the end of the month.

Robbins is working on a public relations campaign to keep residents abreast of the project’s progress.