FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- State Rep. John Shaban (R-135) testified last month before the Legislature’s Transportation Committee in support of his proposed bill designed to alleviate traffic on the Merritt Parkway.
Shaban’s bill — HB-5385, an act concerning traffic flow on the Merritt Parkway — seeks to require the installation and operation of control signals to time traffic entry at entrance ramps (aka “ramp meters”) on the Merritt Parkway, coupled with reduced speed limits as appropriate.
These measures would be in use during high-traffic time periods. Ramp meters are stop-and-go traffic signals that time and regulate the entry of traffic onto a roadway.
Shaban represents the 135th House District, which includes Easton, Redding and Weston.
The main goal of ramp metering – which was first implemented in Chicago in 1963 and has since been used in many urban areas with chronic traffic problems — is to control traffic flow, improve safety and reduce travel time for commuters.
“This practice has proven successful over the last 50 years,” Shaban said. He pointed to a 2010 Louisiana Department of Transportation study that showed ramp meters:
- reduced overall traffic by 15 percent (19 percent during rush hour),
- reduced accidents by 8.3 percent (34.3 percent during rush hour), and
- improved travel speeds by 4 mph (7 mph during rush hour).
Similarly, ramp metering resulted in a 40 percent reduction in overall travel time on a crowded Washington State interstate highway.
“Notably, the estimated cost of installing five metered ramps is just over $1 million,” Shaban added. “This gives us the opportunity to bring a relatively quick, effective and inexpensive solution to bear, while we vet the other multi-billion proposals that might help many, many years from now.”
The bill is before the Transportation Committee. If passed out of committee, the bill could come before the entire legislature before the session ends in June.
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