LETTER: Please consider the impacts of the proposed improvements at the intersections of Arch Street and Greenwich Avenue

Submitted by David Wold, Greenwich, in response to letter from Peter Crumbine, Irene Dietrich and Malinda Fiorita posted May 1, 2022 (LETTER: In Support Of The Arch Street Intersection Enhancements)

There are only a few things I disagree with you on when it comes to balancing Greenwich’s sense of cosmopolitan sophistication and small-town charm, but I’m not agree with your conclusion about the City of Greenwich taking grants to develop the area of ​​the intersection of Arch Street with Greenwich Avenue, and I would like to explain why:

All arguments for are good, but I think we need to look at the impacts of what is being done to achieve this:

  1. We are adding parking to the Arch Street “Rush Hour Route” which apparently would benefit people wishing to stop at Restoration Hardware. Others would either try to get from the station to the other side of Greenwich Avenue or find a space closer to ‘their store’ and end up driving down Greenwich Ave, probably turning again onto Grigg Street and making another attempt to find parking, as 4 spaces will be lost by Starbucks and 10 further down Greenwich Ave past the Apple Store and Meli-Melo.
  2. The addition of 10 spaces on Arch Street means that northbound traffic would have to wait for cars to enter or exit these spaces. It wouldn’t help the flow. I’m also concerned that southbound traffic will try to steer into parking spaces and with large SUVs, and it will take several back and forths before reaching the 60° direction of the gap parking.
  3. The 10 parking spaces, again, are the same number being removed between Fawcett and Grigg (across from Richards’ entrance by the Apple Store on the corner of Meli-Melo) that would be dedicated to “deposit/ pick-up” of passengers who cannot wait to find parking.
    Adding a new “pocket park” near the main entrance to Richards instead of parking spaces is also not suitable.

Then you have to look at:
d) the “overrun” to create the 10 parking spaces for catering equipment on Arch Street requires moving that entire block of Arch Street 25-35 feet to the school board building. This is possible, given that the property boundaries were moved back in 1960.

In regards to the predicted increase in traffic on Arch Street and the need for 3 or 4 lanes there, town planner Rudolf Jass never intended to move the property lines just to make room at MOVE Arch Street. This was in case the 4,900 cars per day in 1960 increased. This is not the case. On the contrary, it declined in a report I read. But just moving it will trigger the following:
1. The new sidewalk would be 15-25 feet from the GAR tree and plaque which was rededicated (as you well know) only 5 years ago and has yet to reach full size.
2. The sloping trail from the Arch Street/Board of Ed parking lot to the Board of Ed entrance would be about 15/20 feet less, requiring either steps or a new, steeper walkway.
3. Colonel RC Bolling’s monument would be 25-35ft closer to the road/sidewalk (maybe a good thing) but the plans for the new layout in front and again its old tree ‘guards’ would be disrupted.
4. Moving Arch Street and the sidewalk would mean cutting into the front lawn which again means we would have to change the whole elevation of the front lawn or build a retaining wall as the drop would be up to 4ft.
5. The triangular park in front of the Post Office building and the triangular obelisk (not 4-sided) were donated by the Havemeyers and adjusted to represent the 3 powers of Federal, City Hall and Education. With the new “pocket gardens” added, the shape and element will be changed forever.

So yeah, while I support safer walking routes — that’s an entirely different discussion about culture and mutual respect — I really don’t see this plan improving anything.

Think of a typical resident of Greenwich today who hurries up Arch Street to get to the Apple Store. The car drives past the funeral home, a car pulls out of a parking space near Restoration Hardware and wants to drive down Arch Street. He would either try to turn around or join the many other cars trying to enter Greenwich and cross Grigg Street to approach Arch St again to see if there was parking available. Grigg Street would be blocked.

The rollover version exiting a parking space on Arch St would block both southbound and northbound traffic.

Then consider the car coming south and either going to the funeral home or Restoration Hardware, for example, and wanting to turn around in that empty space when it becomes free. Thus, this person waits for a space to become free and the driver tries to turn his car 120 degrees to enter the parking space.

Back to the rush hour commuter returning home via Arch St. He has now passed the parking spaces but only 50ft as traffic is blocked by cars trying to use the new shortcut to Greenwich Avenue, but must wait for a new crosswalk between the WWI Monument and the new “Pocket Park” across from Starbucks and the Bolling Monument. When ONE car has successfully passed this crosswalk, the car faces southbound traffic on Greenwich Ave that has just finished waiting for pedestrians to cross 2 crosswalks at the main intersection.

Finally, they sort through and arrive at the block with the Apple Store and Meli-Melo and find that the 10 parking spaces have been removed and they can only drop off one passenger. What does an average Greenwich driver do? They leave the engine running, put on their warning lights, jump out and enter the store and ‘request’ urgent attention as they are illegally parked outside.

They’re not going to go down to Grigg Street, up Arch Street and around the block one more time to see if any new parking spots have opened up. More likely, they will go home and order food online or other things found in stores on Greenwich Ave.

That “if we” (the city of Greenwich) didn’t take the grant money, it would go to Connecticut’s poorest towns is not a good argument. I’ve always understood the idea that state and not city taxes collected even for good use, where needed, not where Ned Lamont and his team of donors feel it would benefit them in the public eye.

We can’t hide the fact that it’s an election year for many in Hartford, and the biggest benefactor of that $2.8 million (and likely much more) is the owners of the Restoration Hardware building who are doubling their parking lot.” at the front door”.