Letter: Smarter planning for Ridgefield

To the Editor:

We are architects and designers who believe that the proposed Main Street construction project, designed by the state Department of Transportation and scheduled to be presented to the public in a meeting on March 22, will not benefit the town.

Firstly, it is foremost a traffic plan designed to move vehicles quickly through our historic town center. We believe that the primary focus of any Main Street improvements should be on the safety and pleasure of pedestrians and shoppers and the success of local businesses.  

Ridgefield needs a people-centered plan that focuses on enhancing the experience of walking, shopping, and meeting friends at local restaurants, a plan for improving the sidewalks and planted areas along the street that have deteriorated over the last 20 years. In short, the beauty and ambiance of our historic street should be enhanced.

Troubling segments of the plan include aligning the CVS parking lot entrance with Prospect Street and widening Main at this intersection. Locating the roadbed close to Ballard Park would eliminate the adjacent quiet parking lane, necessitate a substantial retaining wall along the park, and eliminate the planted bank that screens the parking lot. It would also facilitate higher speed entering the lot.

Another disruptive element of the plan calls for excavating the roadway in front of the Ridgefield Hardware-Addessi Jewelers-Squash’s block, merely to reduce the crest in the street.

A third piece of the plan calls for inserting a truck-loading zone inside the Historic District in front of St. Stephen’s campus.

This major construction would cause months-long traffic delays.

Though we appreciate the efforts that DOT engineers have invested in this study, we urge the town to reject it.

Helen Dimos ASLA

Elizabeth DiSalvo AIA

Sean O’Kane AIA

Ridgefield, March 12