Route 7: Speed Is Up, Business Is Not

A few months after construction on Route 7 is completed, how is business along the town's busiest road?

Though construction along the Route 7 corridor has been complete for months and cars are speeding through town, business along Wilton's main thoroughfare is still slow.

Owners and workers alike report slow days and low sales receipts and have a few ideas as to what is going wrong.

It could be that Wiltonians are stuck in a routine they've developed to avoid Danbury Road or perhaps, as suggested by more than one business owner, they don't even realize that the construction is complete.

Rick Racaj manages Leah's Grille, formerly Sky Bar & Grill. He said that business has definitely improved since the construction ended but receipts are still down.

"It was really hard during the construction. The sidewalks were torn up and construction cones were everywhere. We have more people now and it's easier for people to get in and out but it's still having a huge effect - especially on lunch. People just aren't using this road," he said.

An employee at Sal's Barber Shop said that business had increased somewhat since the construction had been complete but it was nowhere near what it had been before the Route 7 project began. 

He believes that most people learned to avoid the road when the construction was underway and that it would take a while to lure them back. He believes that . He hopes that people will resume regular travel on the road within a year.

Mike Woods, owner of Auto Parts Plus, agreed that business is not what it was before the construction began.

"I think people are still going around and taking the side roads. They may just find it more convenient," he said. He was hoping that town hall might enact something to draw travelers back down to the corridor, such as police radar or a sign that shows drivers' speeds to let people know that maybe they can get places a little faster and more safely on the expanded route.

Fortunately, some areas of Route 7 don't seem to be suffering many ill effects from the extended construction, such as the area closest to Interstate 95 and the Norwalk border.

Chris Progano, of Organic Gourmet, said that his shop wasn't too inconvenienced and business never trailed off too noticeably.

"But, then again," he noted of the unique health food shop, "we are the kind of business that if people want to come, they are going to come."

A worker at a prominent retailer along Route 7, who has worked at her job for close to two decades and did not want to be identified, said that she didn't think enough had been done to publicize that construction was, in fact, complete. She didn't think most people in town even realized it was over.


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