Republican state House contender Jill Fitzgerald said she would investigate widening the eastern half of Farmington Avenue in a bid to relieve traffic congestion.
Fitzgerald and Democratic hopeful Chris Wright each said there is a need to seek ways to keep traffic moving more smoothly on the busy state road that runs through the heart of the 77th District they hope to represent.
Both candidates said that mass transit options need to be expanded, with Wright calling for more commuter bus service to Hartford and Fitzgerald eyeing the prospects for light rail.
The two candidates are vying on Nov. 4 for the northeastern Bristol House seat that Republican Ron Burns has held for the past two years. Burns, who defeated a longtime Democratic incumbent to win the seat in 2006, is stepping down.
Politicians from the district have long said that transportation woes are one of the most common gripes they hear from residents, particularly the delays on Farmington Avenue.
Wright, a hospital admissions clerk, said he hopes the opening of the Route 72 extension a year from now will relieve some of the traffic tie-ups along Farmington Avenue.
He said the would also like to see improvements at the busy juncture of Stafford and Farmington avenues, a traditional headache for motorists.
Wright said that enacting – and enforcing – a “no blocking the box” law at the intersection would help because it would keep drivers from entering the crossroads directly until there was enough space to pass through it.
One reason that traffic gets delayed can be that cars remain stuck in the intersection after a signal change, blocking others from passing through it, which only exacerbates the problem of getting by the area.
Fitzgerald, who owns a bookkeeping company, said that that the area from Brook to Camp streets on Farmington Avenue “is really the retail hub of Bristol.”
She said she would “investigate the possibilities of widening this stretch of Route 6” – the state’s designation for the road – and push for a new study of traffic light patterns to see if improvements in signaling could be made.
Fitzgerald said that she would focus on the city’s mass transportation needs.
“Our senior citizens need to have mass transit that is easy to access and convenient,” she said.
“Bristol is one of the larger cities in Connecticut and we should be able to connect our commuters to other towns via mass transit,” Fitzgerald.
“The reinstatement of bus service between Bristol and Hartford could also reduce traffic on Route 6, as well as save commuters money they would be spending on gas,” Wright said.
Fitzgerald said she would also explore the prospects for light rail in Bristol, an idea that city officials are also pushing, though its prospects remain iffy.
State lawmakers serve two-year terms and earn $28,000 for their part-time positions.
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