The Connecticut Department of Transportation is proposing to construct a of routes 110 and 111 as a way to slow traffic, but keep it going in a steady flow. All with no left turns allowed. That poses a problem for residents living in the Hurd Avenue neighborhood, who would no longer be allowed to turn left while going home via Shelton Road (Route 110).
On June 19, Town Engineer Scott Schatzlein sent a letter inviting residents of Hurd Avenue, Lois Circle, Ruth Street, Jeannette Street, Stillmeadow Circle and Shelton Road to a "preliminary design information meeting" to be held on Tuesday night in the Council Chambers of Monroe Town Hall.
"Abutting property owners and/or other interested individuals are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about the proposed plans and provide some early input regarding the treatment of Hurd Avenue," wrote Schatzlein, who is also the town land use director.
But the 22 residents who showed up for the meeting Tuesday were greeted by a darkened room. No officials from the town nor the DOT showed up at all.
"I don't think they care about us," Andrew Amalfitano of Hurd Avenue complained.
"Not at all," another man added.
David "Rocky" Davin, a Highway Department crew leader who lives near the proposed road project, made phone calls to find out what happened, then told the crowd that the town engineer was not ready for the meeting, extended his apologies and would reschedule it.
"Can you ask him why he didn't come in person to apologize," one woman asked angrily.
"I think it's pretty wrong," Donna Colaiacoma of Lois Circle said. "They're the one's who made the date. You feel like they don't care."
Rather than going home, the neighbors decided to hold a meeting of their own.
History & Concerns
Amalfitano, a Hurd Avenue resident of 56 years, recalled how it used to be a dirt road with Hurd Airport. When Ben Hurd decided to sell all of his lots, the adjoining streets were named after his daughters, including Ruth Street, Lois Circle and Jeannette Street, according to Amalfitano.
Amalfitano said that Ben Hurd took his plane out on a trip with his son and a friend, but that all of them died tragically in a plane crash in upstate Connecticut.
The Hurd and Whitney families both owned large portions of land from Moose Hill Road to Whitney Farms Golf Course, according to Amalfitano.
Some of the current residents attending Tuesday night's meeting expressed concerns over how a roundabout would affect school buses and emergency vehicles. But most agreed that something should be done to improve safety there.
John Brooks of Lois Circle shared stories of other drivers blaring their horns at him as he slowed down on Route 110 to turn onto Hurd Avenue going home. Others complained about safety hazards of backing out of driveways on Route 111.
Colaiacoma talked about drivers speeding on Monroe Turnpike (Route 111).
"They come flying down that hill from St. Jude," she said. "They need a light."
Of the DOT's interest in improving the intersection, Brooks said, "I'm for it if they can come up with a way that doesn't impact the property owners there. Maybe make it a real intersection with a light and get rid of that ridiculous island."
Dot Lenart, a Hurd Avenue resident since 1951, said, "Know what the problem is? The elders in the town, they don't want change. I'm an elder, but I know we have to change. They don't want that green touched."
One thing that concerns Lenart is how a roundabout could impact the trucks coming out of the Monroe Volunteer Fire Department on Route 110.