Safety Matters: How One Connecticut Town Is Addressing Safety

safety_matters_logoSouth Windsor’s Local Road Safety Committee

After working with the Training and Technical Assistance Center (T2 Center) on Road Safety Audits (RSAs) and soliciting assistance from the Safety Circuit Rider program for other issues in town, South Windsor Director of Public Works Michael Gantick, PE, PWLF, saw a need for something more, in his words “a living road safety plan.” South Windsor already had a Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP), developed years prior, and had accomplished the major goals on that plan. In January 2015, the Town of South Windsor’s Local Road Safety Committee (LRSC) was created with enthusiastic support from all involved parties. The committee is currently comprised of the Town Engineer, Director of Planning, Police Department Traffic Sergeant (LTA), Superintendent of Streets, Tree Warden, Street Supervisor, Director of Public Works, Fire Chief, and the Board of Education Building Facilities Director. They hold monthly meetings on a variety of topics to keep their LRSP plan current and in motion and to be timely and flexible in addressing immediate, short- and long-term road safety issues. When asked to describe the committee, Director of Public Works Michael Gantick replied, “What is innovative about the LRSC is that it has cultivated another level of synergy and collaboration amongst the various road safety stakeholders while increasing the breadth of safety improvement opportunities in South Windsor, especially the high-easy type of improvements.”

south_windsor_town_sealThere have been many positive outcomes as a result of the LRSC. Each meeting has resulted in either some small improvement, like discussing and improving the traffic patterns around the Town Hall “circle,” or broader topics, such as moving forward with developing a townwide “Neighborhood Traffic Calming Policy.”  While the LRSC agenda has recurring/standing items, it also has afforded the group an opportunity to discuss issues in “real-time,” thus allowing almost immediate positive safety changes to be made where needed. Other topics covered in the LRSC meetings have included roadway signs, special events, town road projects, work zone safety, speed monitoring/surveys (including for truck traffic), Complete Streets, Road Safety Audits (RSAs) and the Community Connectivity Grant Program.  The LRSC really has taken a broad overview of all town activities that use and impact road safety.

Some other examples of positive outcomes from LRSC meetings have been:

  • Input on ADA Transition Plan
  • Installation/coordination of RRFBs for a pedestrian crossing on a state road
  • Review and input on state-funded projects and programs
  • Coordination of tree/road safety issues
  • Development of Buckland Road traffic system coordination project
  • Initiation and facilitation of two RSAs (Ellington/Peirce/Clark) for the Community Connectivity Program and (Graham/Nevers) general road safety improvements
  • Communication, coordination and debriefing of local civic events/special events impacting local and state roads
  • Sharing of training opportunities as they pertain to local roads
  • Identification of areas of concern and requests for enforcement
  • Sharing of data – Stealth Stat, crash history, traffic studies, construction projects as related to traffic safety and global effects on town infrastructure
  • Coordination of work zone safety/enforcement

The formation of a committee such as South Windsor’s Local Road Safety Committee is something every municipality can do. It requires a multi-disciplinary effort and focus on local road safety, but it can be tailored to your town’s needs. Committees like this can take many forms – the important part is just getting one started. Thanks to South Windsor for setting a great example on how to get it done!

For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at melissa.evans@uconn.edu.

About Connecticut T2 Center

The Training & Technical Assistance Center at UCONN provides education and technical assistance to members of Connecticut's Transportation and Public Safety Community, including municipal public works directors, street and road maintenance superintendents and staff, city and town engineers, Connecticut Department of Transportation employees, transportation planners and law enforcement professionals serving as legal traffic authorities. We are Connecticut's LTAP Center
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