The preliminary design is complete for the Plantsville Renaissance Project. On Thursday, Jan. 3, the public works committee was given a presentation of the plans by Weston & Sampson’s project manager Lisa Slonus.
The design was based on feedback from community members, business owners in the area, and committee members.
“We had done extensive outreach to the community with three public workshops where we invited property owners located in Plantsville to observe and give opinions and ideas,” said chair of the committee John Barry. “Those workshops were an open forum and were very well attended.”
The project is made possible by a $2.5 million grant that was secured by the town over the summer after almost eight years. The main objective for the project was to improve safety. Currently, there are issues with on-street parking, car accidents, and traffic light and oncoming traffic visibility.
“We took a look at patterns of crashes going on through here and the existing conditions,” said Slonus. “There is a lot to improve regarding safety but this is also a streetscape project as well.”
Slonus said downtown Plantsville is a heavily-used pedestrian center. Many of the improvements focus on that aspect. In the roads, a texturing treatment will be added both in the middle of the road and on the edges. It doesn’t actually narrow the road, as road widths must comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) standards, but it gives the illusion that the road is narrow, encouraging drivers to drive slowly. The textured roadway reminds drivers to stay in the lane.
“Although the lane widths are required lane widths, what we proposed is providing a flush paver treatment to physically calm the area by making you feel like you’re driving through narrow lanes,” said Slonus, “and providing texture if you were to wander off that lane. It’s a physical treatment that narrows the lane without actually narrowing the lane, and lets drivers know they’re entering a pedestrian-heavy area.”
New parallel parking spaces will be added. Currently the “on-street parking” consists of vehicles parking in the shoulders of the street. About seven parallel parking spaces will be added, which will jut into the sidewalks and be out of the street entirely.
Crosswalks will also feature the textured treatment. It is impressed thermoplastic preformed textured pavement, which has a look of brick. It is impressed in to the asphalt itself. The preliminary designs also suggested crossing signs at crosswalks and a rectangular light bar that flashes, which draws better attention to pedestrians crossing the road.
For traffic lights, plans suggested retroreflective tape surrounding the backs and edges of the lights – something that is required on newer traffic lights.
On sidewalks, lighted bollards serve a dual purpose: to cast a soft light for visibility, and to provide a buffer between the sidewalks and the road. Sidewalks will have a look of brick with shades of red and brown. There will be added benches, bike racks and light poles. The overall color-scheme is black.
On the intersection of Main Street, South Main Street and West Main Street sits a vacant lot beside the Hop Haus restaurant. Recently, on three separate occasions, a car driving through the intersection missed the curve of the road and drove straight through the lot and into the Hop Haus building.
The Plantsville renovation project suggested adding a long horizontal wall next to the sidewalk with lettering, such as “Welcome to Plantsville.” It also suggested adding lighted fixtures highlighting the sign and possibly a standalone traffic signal on the corner, as well. The vacant lot is owned by the same person who owns the Hop Haus property, so the committee would need approval.
Going forward, Weston & Sampson will hear feedback and suggestions from the committee. They will then submit the preliminary design to the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) who will work with the DOT. They will give their feedback, then Weston & Sampson will hold a public informational meeting.
In the end of May, the 90 percent plans will be submitted to the town and CRCOG. A final design will be available at the end of July, and advertising for bids will begin in September. Anticipated completion of construction is fall of 2020.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.
For the preliminary plans: Plantsville renovation (2019)