Any time you embark on a major project that involves traffic changes, disruptions and inconveniences are sure to follow. Significant improvement usually comes at some cost, after all. The project to revamp downtown Meriden is one of those projects. It adds up to a major project, and since it began there have been a fair share of frustrations and complaints.
“The traffic is pretty bad,” said John Benigni, executive director of the YMCA on West Main Street. Benigni told the Record-Journal members are skipping workouts because “it’s too congested.”
Meriden Public Information Officer Darrin McKay said there were issues “with people stopping on the railroad tracks,” an obviously undesirable project side effect. As McKay observed, congestion is going to go along with a major paving project.
What counts, of course, is the result, and as Mayor Kevin Scarpati noted people are pleased roads “are finally being paved” — but the mayor is also concerned about other improvements that will follow. That will involve setting two-way traffic where there now is one-way, and installing and activating new traffic signals.
The mayor has been worried about the impact these major developments, certainly worth pursuing for their long-term benefit, will have on business. He recognizes that getting the word out is an essential element to helping keep business going.
The Record-Journal has covered the project and offered maps to help readers understand what’s changing. Scarpati told the R-J the city will start a campaign to inform people. “We’re going to have to do a lot more educating on what it’s going to look like and what the final result will be,” he said.
An R-J editorial at the end of October recognized that the projects were going to be disruptive and said it was to be expected, and that “there’s reason to expect a reward for a little patience.”
Letting people know “what to expect,” as Scarpati put it, is an important part of the project as well.