“Asserting that macadam roads that have been built in cities and towns of Connecticut are fast going to pieces under the demands made upon them by increased traffic, especially that of the fast multiplying automobiles and trucks that are becoming heavier and heavier, delegates from all the principal Connecticut cities met in the city hall, yesterday, and voted to take steps to form a permanent state organization of cities and towns looking toward a solution of the paving problems.
The meeting was called to order by Director Eames, at whose suggestion the movement was begun. He explained that it seemed desirable that the cities and towns of the state should co-operate in the care and construction of the streets, and that the conference would prove valuable in disclosing means for that end.
Mr. Ford, city engineer-elect, called attention to the fact that in all the Connecticut cities the traffic had increased enormously in recent years and he gave the figures taken recently in the city of New Haven explaining the system which had been undertaken here. He said that today auto travel in some streets is 79 percent, greater than it was fifteen years ago. He suggested an agreement on some method of accounting and some system of taking traffic statistics. He referred to the New York and Massachusetts systems and the differences between them, and stated that if the Connecticut cities could be induced to co-operate and each take statistics of traffic on Saturdays and later study the traffic statistics for the wear and tear on the different kinds of pavements, valuable information might be secured.
He stated that interchange cost data is very valuable as is data regarding the cost of cleaning and that an agreement ought to be reached as to what is a fair cost for cleaning a square yard of pavement. Heavier trucks may yet be used upon the streets, perhaps even, trains, each engine hauling two or three loaded cars through the streets, carrying ice or some other commodity, for instance. In this case, paving problems will be greatly increased.
Talk of Barring Chains. The question of prohibiting the use of chains for automobiles was discussed, and Mr. Ford was of the opinion that, in case chains are forbidden, the city or town should provide a substitute in the shape of gritty streets, instead of oily and slippery streets over which cars would skid, and that screenings or gravel or something which will hold the vehicles from slipping should be employed.
A City Engineer. Terry of Bridgeport said that there is ‘no question that everyone is now recognizing the value of traffic statistics, and that in this state a sheet should be prepared giving a prescribed form for the recording of the statistics.’ Mayor Rice felt sure that experiments which had been made in New Haven showed the value of a state association of the character mentioned, and suggested that frequent meetings might be held with profit.
Mr. Terry and Mayor Dunn of Willimantic took the lead in a discussion of the value of water-bound macadam and agreed that, under the present conditions, it was incapable of standing up under the pressure. Max Adler, president of the New Haven Paving Commission, said that trucks and autos now in use have created a great paving problem. He did not think that water-bound macadam was at present of much use or that even oil-bound or asphalt oil-bound roads would stand up under the present traffic. He believed that the foundations are not built heavy enough to stand the trucking and traffic of today, but that we must go back to some foundation like Telford. He thought that wood was the best pavement known, but that granite block, although lasting perhaps seventy-five years, is very expensive, and, in wearing smooth, is barbarous to man and beast.
Mr. Adler continued: ‘The state roads are all to pieces. Macadam has been tried with tars and oils, but the suction of the auto tires spoils them. To continue to use macadam is like throwing money to the winds on even moderately traveled roads.’
Urges Need of Statistics. Mr. Ford asked why it was that one pavement in one city would go to pieces in five years while the same kind of a pavement would last for fifteen years in another city. He added: ‘Does not this show the need of statistics? If we find definitely that one kind of a pavement will last under the same traffic conditions longer than another we can be certain that that is the kind to use.’
City Engineer Mitchell, of Willimantic, said that the proper way to do was to perfect the state organization. City Engineer Kelly, of New Haven, moved that the chairman of the meeting appoint a committee of three on organization. Mr. Kelly’s motion was passed unanimously and Mr. Elames appointed Messrs. Terry of Bridgeport, Ford of New Haven, and Mitchell of Willimantic, a committee to report on temporary organization.
Following the business meeting a banquet was served at the Union League and, at the conclusion, Mr. Terry reported the nomination of the following temporary officers: President, W. Scott Barnes, of New Haven; secretary, C. J. Bennett, of Hartford; executive committee, James H. Macdonald; State Highway Commissioner, Messrs. Bennett, Mitchell and Ford. These officers were unanimously elected. Mr. Terry reported the selection of the following name for the organization: ‘The Connecticut Road Officials Association.’ The name was formally adopted and the purposes of the association were described as follows: ‘The purpose of this organization is to bring about closer co-operation be tween city and town officials, especially charged with the responsibility of road construction, maintenance, lighting and cleaning.
Cover City By Autos. Following the dinner and meeting at the Union League club automobiles were supplied for the tour of inspection of the permanent pavings of New Haven. The start was made from in front of the Union League club and the procession of autos headed by Engineer Ford’s car started down Chapel street to Temple. In each of the cars one of the local engineers occupied a position as guide, pointing out the interesting facts about the pavement and other objects of interest to the visitors. The first stop was made on Prospect street, where workmen were busily engaged in patching the road way with tar. The method was care fully explained to the guests by Mr. Ford and Director Eames.
Those in the party. The return to city hall was made via Trumbull and Orange streets, where the tourists proceeded to divest themselves of the coating of New Haven dust picked up during the afternoon ride. Those present included: Professor Charles J. Brown, University of Maine; Professor C. S. Farnham, Yale University; Mayor Daniel P. Dunn and City Engineer R. .B. Mitchell, Willimantic; A. H. Terry, city engineer, Bridgeport; H. W. Mather, councilman, and Samuel W. Hoyt, Jr., city engineer, and William F. Hoyt, councilman, South Norwalk; Alfred Brown, street commissioner, South Norwalk; John J. Flynn, Derby; George E. Pitcher, Norwich; E. H. Kelsey, deputy state highway commissioner, Hartford; Mayor Frank J. Rice, Director Eames, City Engineer C. W. Kelly, Frederick L. Ford, Superintendent of Streets Barnes, Frank Barnes, Charles H. Nichols, H. H. Kellogg and Madler, New Haven.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, the Bridgeport Evening Farmer, July 23, 1912. (top) Image courtesy of Acadia Publishing, Guilford, “Members of the Union League Club of New Haven have motored out for a party at Rollwood, the country home of Connecticut’s lieutenant governor, Rollin Woodruff,” photograph by Oliver B. Husted, 1906