In Slow Motion

I-95 long ago surpassed its design capacity, and while there are plans to alleviate congestion and delays, the thruway remains the state’s longest parking lot.



Bob Capazzo

Scott Weiner knows about clogs. As general manager of southern Connecticut operations for Roto-Rooter, the Riverside executive helps clear hundreds of them every week. But there’s one kind of blockage his company has trouble with, the kind you find every day on Interstate-95 in and out of Greenwich.

“You never know what time of day you’re going to get hit with a traffic jam,” he says. “It can take one to two hours to get from the shop in Stratford to Greenwich. Even getting off at Exit 6 or 7 is a challenge for us, because the traffic overflow goes into the Post Road, and because, being in emergency services, we can’t always be there as quickly as we’d like.”

Weiner has been in his present position for five years, long enough to see the traffic problems of I-95 mount, while his company continues to use the thruway to reach Greenwich and Stamford customers who comprise nearly half of his office’s revenue. In 2005, Roto-Rooter set up a high-tech dispatch system utilizing computer software and traffic reports for calculating optimal routes. Because circumstances change quickly on and around I-95, the system has had limited success. “There are a lot of surprises out there,” he notes.

Peter Sutton agrees as he watches from his ringside seat.

As executive director of the Bruce Museum, his office overlooks the Connecticut Turnpike near Exit 3, where he can see traffic backups as commuters coming into town queue up to the traffic-light-controlled exit every morning, trusting fate or caprice they won’t be rear-ended by a passing truck. “It was always dangerous, but now it’s a mob scene,” he says.

Guest speakers have arrived late at the Bruce on account of the thruway, while Sutton’s commute home to Westchester County frequently takes three times longer than it should.

A slow-moving I-95 is not only frustrating, it’s also a handicap as the museum expands its patron roster with exhibits that garner national attention.

“Most of our visitors come from a radius of thirty miles, and that is limited by the snarled difficulty of the roads,” he says. “While we are very glad to be close to I-95, it’s a problem, too. We have an expression at the Bruce: ‘We’re easy to find and hard to leave.’ ”

You could say the same for all of Greenwich: The checkpoint for New England is rapidly becoming the chokepoint, as its main thoroughfare swells with ever-increasing traffic volumes.

“Everyone agrees that it has become noticeably worse, particularly in the morning and afternoon rush hours,” Greenwich First Selectman Jim Lash says.

When it opened in January 1958, the Connecticut Turnpike was designed to accommodate 50,000 vehicles daily, 70,000 at most. According to the state Department of Transportation, charged with maintaining and monitoring road conditions along the highway, the average daily number of vehicles passing in both directions along the Greenwich-Stamford border rose from 129,600 in 1996 to 146,400 last year. The Greenwich Chamber of Commerce estimates I-95 now operates at 212 percent of its design capacity.

State Senator Bill Nickerson of Greenwich calls the situation “unsustainable,” a detriment to the town’s quality of life, economy, even its air and water. “It is a very serious problem, and I’m pleased that in the last two to three years, more effective action is being taken to address this than has been taken in some time,” he says. “The legislature and the governor understand this better now than ever before.”

To read the complete story, pick up a copy of GREENWICH Magazine.

 

Greenwich Agenda

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    2014.09.13
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    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

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    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Isaia Fall Trunk Show

    2014.09.19
     @ Richards

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

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  • SoulCycle GWCH for Make-A-Wish CT

    2014.09.20
     @ SoulCycle

    Make-A-Wish Connecticut is thrilled to be partnering with SoulCycle's Greenwich location for a charity ride on Saturday, September 20th!...

  • Wall Street Tennis Challenge

    2014.09.20
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    The goal of The Wall Street Tennis Challenge is to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts while spreading awareness...

  • Nam Cho Trunk Show

    2014.09.20
     @ Richards

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

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  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
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  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

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     @ Tudor Investment Campus

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    2014.06.15
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    2014.09.22
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