Ridgebury’s arrow signs may be fewer some day

A multitude of arrow signs were put up to help drivers negotiate the big curve on Old Stagecoach Road. — Macklin Reid photo
A multitude of arrow signs were put up to help drivers negotiate the big curve on Old Stagecoach Road. — Macklin Reid photo

The numerous arrow signs that appeared in Ridgebury late last year — 17 on the sweeping S-curve of Old Stagecoach Road, and another 26 along winding Ned’s Mountain Road — may be reduced in number. Eventually, town officials hope.

“The good news is that we will eventually be able to take signs down,” Police Commission Chairman George Kain said after he and Police Chief Jeff Kreitz met with state officials.

“However, there are some things that we need to investigate further before we proceed, including consulting with town counsel, because there are some legal liability issues that need to be addressed,” Kain said. “Because the state was mandated to follow federal guidelines in erecting the signs, we should not take them down without first being sure that we are in compliance with the guidelines.

“We learned, for example, that if we were to take steps to lower the speed limit from 25 to 20 MPH, the mandate for the chevron signs would be removed. However, lowering the speed limit on town roads involves another legal process we must adhere to.

“Once we are clear on how to proceed, and providing we follow all proper procedures, we will begin taking steps to eventually remove most, if not all, of the signs,” he said. “Some of the signs may remain because they simply make sense, but they would be few in comparison to what we have now.”

Town officials began seeking removal of some of the signs after a number of residents complained about them, saying there were many more than needed and so many yellow signs with black arrows diminished the rural atmosphere of the neighborhood.

“We are not the only town in Connecticut that is facing this problem,” Kain said. “We learned that there were 10 other towns that accepted assistance under this federal grant and many towns are now reconsidering their decision to have the signs erected.  

“I should note here that neither the state nor the federal government made any mistakes concerning this issue,” he said. “They were both following mandated guidelines in erecting these signs both here and in the other towns. It seems that there was, however, a communication problem in towns' understanding exactly what kind of — and how many — signs would be erected.

“The state was more than understanding and sensitive to our concerns,” he added.