This article was published in the 9/18/99 edition of The Hour
The growing realization that extending the new Route 7 through Wilton northward is the way to go, is best evidenced by the creation of a new group that is promoting just such plan. The Committee for the Extension of Route 7. It is assumed that Wilton has always been opposed to the extension of the highway, but back when planning first began, one of its ardent supporters was the late Vincent Tito, then first selectmen. Over the years, various groups have formed to carry out opposition to the highway and then to fade as members moved out of town.
One of the problems in building a new highway in an area which as been developed is the acquisition of property. Not only is it costly, but it is disruptive to homeonwers and businesses. The right-of-way for the proposed limited access highway has been established for years, and all or most of the land acquired by the state. On the other hand, the widening of certain sections of the old highway will require taking some business properties and historic homes. And, even if that is done, the traffic picture will not be improved one whit.
It is always easier to raise the opposition to such a project; supporters tend to be reluctant to subject themselves to the scorn of the other side. We have supported the new highway since it was first conceived and remain committed to its construction. It may not make it all the way to Danbury, but each added mile will help ease traffic congestion. We have also supported increased rail services on the Danbury branch, but even a major expansion of that service won't make a major dent in unclogging the old highway, with its many businesses and side roads. if you don't think that's a problem, just try to make a left turn against oncoming traffic during rush hour. It's a death-defying act.
You cannot deny the heavy traffic on the old road puts a strain on alternate routes through Wilton, sending a lot of through traffic down residential streets. We understand it would take a sea change to alter the positions of the present Wilton administration and the state Department of Transportation, but we must try. We applaud the new group, which we hope will counter the opposition by informing the public of the many benefits of extending the highway.
Norwalk - Wilton, CT