Greenwich Democrats, Camillo Clash Over Glenville Traffic Improvements

GREENWICH, CT — First Selectman Fred Camillo and Greenwich Democrats on Friday clashed over the status of the proposed Glenville traffic corridor improvements, which would reduce congestion, improve air quality, and implement safety measures for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians between Weaver Street and Glenville Street.

In their email newsletter Friday, Greenwich Democrats accused Camillo of reneging on a campaign promise to get the much-needed project done.

Greenwich Democrats pointed out there are no funds in Camillo’s proposed budget for the project, which has been delayed since 2021 over cost increases and resident concerns over tree cutting.

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The newsletter also claimed Camillo looked to “change the conversation” over outrage from residents that a proposed dog park in Glenville was taking precedence over the traffic improvements by assuring residents in a forum last summer the project would begin in spring 2024.

“How is it that a town of Greenwich’s means, which boasts the second lowest mill rate and richest property tax base in Connecticut, can’t fund an eight year old plan to improve safety along a major traffic corridor? Several pedestrians have been struck and killed. Children can’t walk to the three area schools because of the dangerous intersections.,” Greenwich Democrats said.

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“Why are Republicans on the BET forcing the Department of Public Works to work with magical numbers that don’t match real world costs (like they tried with Central Middle School)? Why didn’t Fred Camillo follow through on his campaign promise? What else has he jettisoned since the votes were tallied?”

The project’s website on the Department of Public Works page lists an anticipated start date for construction as spring 2024.

On Feb. 15, Greenwich DPW Deputy Commissioner Jim Michel went through a presentation on the status of projects in town and budget requests for 2024-2025 before the Active Transportation Task Force.

Michel said the corridor improvement project had gone out to bid twice and returned at around $4.5 million.

Greenwich has appropriated up to $3 million for the work to date, and of that amount, $1.7 million is coming from the federal government under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) administered by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), according to Michel.

Michel explained that DPW hasn’t been overly successful in getting additional money from the state, but the department is still trying to come up with different ways to fund the project.

“We can’t award a bid to a contractor that’s more than the money we’ve got appropriated for,” he said. “We were told a few years ago that the $3 million is the top of the line of what the BET really wants to appropriate toward this. Now I think we may want to have another conversation with them about this and see if they’re willing to consider that.”

Camillo pushed back against the newsletter and the Democratic Town Committee in a statement Friday, saying “they are playing politics and clearly have not learned their lesson from last November’s election.”

He said the corridor improvements rely on state funding, and reiterated the Greenwich Department of Public Works is working with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to determine if grant money is available.

“If that money is found, contracts could quickly be signed. And if there is no money available right now because of the delay caused by a reconsideration three years ago, due to trees then price inflation, then we will pursue this with the BET,” Camillo said.

In his statement, Camillo said his proposed budget “calls for the fulfillment of my campaign pledge” to put a sidewalk on Weaver Street from its intersection with Hawthorne to Glenville Road. His budget also includes funds for other public safety-related projects around town.

“The DTC should stick to promoting candidates and issues they believe in, not manipulating the facts to suit their agenda and wound political opponents,” Camillo added. “That does not work in Greenwich. People here are too smart to not see through the distortions.”

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