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Jan 31, 2008
POLICE: Many nailed for speeding on upper Route 7

It’s practically brand new, but the newly widened Route 7 is already infamous as a speed trap — so infamous that it’s earned a spot on the National Motorist Association’s Web site

“I know a lot of the cops are nailing people there,” one contributor to wrote last month. “They say it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”

The posted speed limit on the four-lane highway just south of Bennett’s Pond Road is 40 miles per hour, but the police say many people ignore that.

Ridgefield police issued 267 tickets on the widened stretch of Route 7 between Nov. 1 and Jan. 18, according to police records.

On Nov. 10, police set up a traffic enforcement detail there and issued 52 tickets in one day.

“It’s targeted because of the high speeds officers have observed,” said Police Capt. Stephen Brown. “They’re out sending a message and trying to prevent accidents.”

Traffic not ‘calmed’

Parts of Route 7 between the Route 35 intersection and the Danbury line are straightaways, which may be one reason drivers frequently pick up speed there, Capt. Brown said.

He noted that urban planners frequently include ‘Traffic Calming Measures,” such as traffic islands or deliberate landscaping, to deter speeders.

But the new Route 7 is a smooth, straight four-lane shot in stretches north of the Route 35 intersection, and drivers are more likely to speed on those stretches, he said.

A spokesperson for the police records department said they do not keep track of the top speeds for which tickets are issued, but she said several tickets for speeds “in the high 70s” have been issued on Route 7 since it was widened.

“I personally got a court date for 68 in a 40,” wrote another contributor to “Watch out for it at night.”

Capt. Brown said the police set up traffic enforcement there throughout the day, not just at night.

The Danbury police also use traffic enforcement measures on the stretch of Route 7 north of Ridgefield, he said. “Each department is doing its part to increase traffic safety,” he said.

The Ridgefield police have noticed that on the Ridgefield portion of the new Route 7, “there’s speeding there throughout the day,” Capt. Brown said.

“It’s a heavily trafficked road,” he said. “Our officers are trying to make the road safer.”