University requests four-way stop at New Road and Ives Street intersection amid South Quad approval

Cat Murphy, Associate News Editor

Quinnipiac University officials on Dec. 12, submitted a request to the Hamden Traffic Authority to install two additional stop signs at the four-way intersection of Ives Street, New Road and South New Road, according to the meeting minutes.

Although there are stop signs located on either side of the intersection on New Road and South New Road, cars traveling eastbound or westbound on Ives Street, which comprises a section of State Route 22, are not required to stop at the intersection.

The intersection is approximately one mile from Quinnipiac’s New Road entrance. The university, which is classified by the Office of the State Transportation Administration as a major traffic generator, owns more than 30 properties on New Road and Ives Street.

Illustration by Cat Murphy

University officials requested to implement a four-way stop sign at the intersection in accordance with a conditional requirement of the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission’s Nov. 15, approval of the university’s initial concept development plan for the South Quad.

The commissioners previously requested that the university conduct a traffic study after several local residents voiced growing concerns at the Oct. 25, public hearing about the traffic issues and motor vehicle crashes associated with the intersection of Ives Street and New Road.

Quinnipiac officials subsequently presented a comprehensive traffic study of the roadways surrounding the Mount Carmel Campus at the PZC’s Nov. 15, meeting.

The traffic study, conducted by Bubaris Traffic Associates, revealed that the average speed on Ives Street east of the intersection with New Road and South New Road is over 35% faster than the posted 25 mph speed limit. 

Notably, the discrepancy between the speed limit and the average speed was higher on this section of Ives Street than on any other road included in the study. 

Conversely, the average speed on Ives Street west of the intersection with New Road and South New Road was 20% lower than the posted speed limit, according to the traffic study.

However, the study also revealed that more than two dozen car accidents occurred at the four-way intersection between January 2019 and October 2022. 

All but one of the 25 recorded accidents at the intersection were side-impact crashes in which two vehicles traveling perpendicular to one another collided at a right angle, according to the November 2022 traffic study. 

Roughly 40% of the recorded crashes resulted in either possible injury or minor injuries. The most recent crash included in the study, a right-angle westbound-northbound crash on Oct. 3, caused serious injuries. 

“Unfortunately, New Road accidents are becoming routine,” Bonnie Byers, a local resident, wrote in a letter to the PZC on Nov. 15. “The addition of new dorms and parking lots for hundreds of students on New Road will only create more accidents waiting to happen.”

The findings of the traffic study prompted the PZC to include a provision in its approval of the university’s planning and development zone application requiring Quinnipiac officials to request a four-way stop at the intersection, according to the Nov. 15, meeting minutes.

“Some of the comments and concerns fielded during that process were regarding this intersection and how (the South Quad project), from the residents’ perspective, would have an impact on the roadway,” said Stephen White, town engineer and local traffic agent, at the Traffic Authority’s Dec. 12, meeting

However, the Traffic Authority cannot independently authorize the placement of stop signs on a state route. Pending the Traffic Authority’s approval, the commission will refer its recommendation to install two additional stop signs at the Ives Street intersection to the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

“If the Traffic Authority agrees with the placement of a four-way stop sign here, we would make a request to the state because it is a state road that intersects with New Road here,” White said.

Although White said at the meeting that he did not “strongly disagree or agree with the request” to install two additional stop signs on Ives Street, he added that a four-way stop may help mitigate some of the traffic concerns associated with the intersection.

However, White also noted that the intersection of Ives Street with New Road and South New Road is just one of several traffic issues on New Road that he believes need to be addressed.

“There’s larger concerns about New Road itself and speeding and traffic-calming needs,” White said. “I think there’s still other issues farther up New Road that we may have to address one day.”

It is unclear when the Traffic Authority will petition the DOT to install new stop signs on Ives Street. Sal Filardi, vice president for facilities and capital planning, did not immediately respond to the Chronicle’s request for comment.