Calming Saugatuck Shores

Every neighborhood has its own traffic concerns. Folks living near the Bayberry Lane/Easton Road intersection are debating a roundabout and stop signs. On North Kings Highway, speeders have slowed considerably since speed humps were installed.

The other day, Janet Tatusko checked in with a report from Saugatuck Shores. A lot is happening in that lovely but well-traveled corner of town.

A petition called “Lines and Signs” has helped bring walking lines and guardrails. Signs — including arrows, “Bus Stop Ahead” and “Curve Ahead” — have been installed.

Trees have been cut back, to improve sight lines. Neighbors initiated an educational campaign (“Drive Like Your Kids Live Here”).

"Drive Like Your Kids Live Here," says a sign near the beginning of Harbor Road.

“Drive Like Your Kids Live Here,” says a sign near the beginning of Harbor Road.

But drivers still speed, Janet says — and walkers are afraid they’ll be pinned against the guardrails on blind curves.

A traffic survey last August showed that 32,274 vehicles entered Harbor Road. 27,109 exceeded the 25 mph speed limit. One driver reached 65.

During the school year, Janet says, “over 28 kids would normally be out there — except not one mother will let them. So a big bus comes down tiny Covelee Road, and stops at each home. No one can walk, jog, bike, etc. It’s another Shake Shack waiting to happen.”

A guardrail separates  Harbor Road from the water.

A guardrail separates Harbor Road from the water.

Harbor Road is a residential street — but also the main route to Saugatuck Island. There are 200 homes, and a yacht club at the end.

Interestingly, the recent sewer project helped. Potholes have slowed cars and trucks considerably. However, truck traffic has increased since last fall, as construction vehicles heading to homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy are a constant presence.

Janet, Frank DiScala and others are figuring out what’s needed to help walkers, bicyclists, joggers, moped riders, pets and kids.

They’ve worked closely with Police Chief Dale Call, the Fire Department, Public Works and the Department of Transportation. Recently they met with First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. The Fire Department has agreed to put in a speed hump.

Harbor Road is narrow, windy -- and very, very scenic.

Harbor Road is narrow, windy — and very, very scenic.

But Janet, Francis and the others have not forgotten aesthetics. They’d like to see potted plant holders in the middle of the road. (Think Soundview, the Compo Beach exit road.)

They’re talking about a park-like entrance to Harbor Road and Saugatuck Shores, including an elevated planter box, flowers, and welcome signs.

Sounds like some solid solutions for a neighborhood that feels under siege — for reasons both natural and man-made.

But what a shame that we have to put up signs — anywhere in town — reminding each other to “Drive Your Kids Live Here.”

Harbor Road continues over a canal. This handsome sign marks the entrance to Saugatuck Island.

Harbor Road continues over a canal. This handsome sign marks the entrance to Saugatuck Island.

13 responses to “Calming Saugatuck Shores

  1. 30yearsonpromisedrd

    A speed bump would be terrific. In fact, we need a few. We live on Promised Rd., right off what we refer to as the straight- away on Harbor Rd. It’s a daily problem when walking, walking the dog or just getting the mail. Cars pass by at a high rate of speed and there’s just no place for a pedestrian to go. I make it a point to drive the 25 mph speed limit on Harbor and have had cars pass me many times.

  2. Curious……Anyone know- where do you get “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” signs ?????? Not sure they work but for small “no outlet” streets — might help with some of the speeding issues.

  3. Enough is enough

    The reality is Janet has been going at this for a couple of years. She tried to have the town make Covlee, one way (meaning residents would have to go a couple of blocks out of their way to get to their house without consulting any residents), she asked the town to have the school bus sign put up on Harbor (which they did) and then she asked to have the school bus come down Covlee (which it does now) and there is no school bus stop where they put up the sign. She asked the police to have potted plants down the center of Harbor to slow down cars (DPW put a center line on the street instead which makes sense). Last summer she asked the police for a motorcycle cop for a speed trap, they did. She asked the fire department to put in speed bumps (which they originally refused because it would slow down emergency vehicles going out to the Island). I can go on, but… a petition is wrong, because we, the members of the community associations, should discuss, as a group, want we want, not what one individual wants.

  4. Are sidewalks and/ or bike lanes a possibility? Aesthetics aside, seems like a better option than putting potted plants in the center of the roadway, which would just force the traffic more towards the edges of the roadway where people are walking. As a side effect, sidewalks might narrow the road a bit, which would also force traffice to move more slowly.

    Everyone wants speed bumps on their streets – it seems like they are multiplying throughout town… what if every street in Westport had speed bumps? It seems like there must be better options….

  5. I live near Compo and strongly recommend against “those lovely planters like at Comp Beach.” They create pinch points that are only more dangerous for pedestrians. Speed bumps don’t help much either. Speeders speed regardless of bumps, gates and pots. The best that can be said for these attempts is that they slow down the rest of the traffic which may slow down a speeding truck or car. Sidewalks may be the safest thing for pedestrians or a guard rail separating cars from pedestrians and bikes, that is if you have the space

  6. ItsallabouttheBenjamin's

    Interesting – unlike other neighborhoods in Town where speeding motorists are an issue, in this area there is no thru street that is being [ab]used by motorists taking a short-cut (Clinton Ave / Oak St, for example) or simply seeing excessive speeds from motorists passing through (like Compo Beach Drive sees from cars leaving the beach). Instead, the roads in question here are primarily used by . . . the residents of that very same neighborhood ! It’s an island . . .

    Since this seems to be a “community” issue, I would suggest something similar to what is done in country clubs (guessing the Saugatuck Shores folks are familiar) when members are late with their monthly payment: public shame. Take pictures of offending cars and post them on a Saugatuck Shores community website or bulletin board. Perhaps Mrs. Kravitz can direct her energy thusly.

    • That sounds like a much better idea than littering the area with more signs. In addition to sullying the ambiance, taking the time to read all of the signs while driving is a distraction.

  7. They should paint stripes on the shoulder of the road as well and to create the minimum lane width possible.

    It acts like a “calming” device in that when a lane is so narrow drivers feel “squeezed” and have to slow down to navigate the now narrower traffic lane.

  8. We live on Harbor road, the speeding is out of control, and I would say the worst perpertrators are trucks servicing the community. Some doing up to 50mph in a 25mph zone. Ask anyone who lives on Harbor Road..this is rampant. Speed bumps would be a welcome addition, similar to those by Compo infront of the Boat basin.

  9. concerned neighbor

    it is getting ridiculous with individuals trying to run everybody’s life , how about a sign telling parents to teach their kids to cross the road or how about not play in the road.How foolish is somebody to try to get more people into the surrounding neighborhood the more people there are the more crime there is potential and more likelihood your child might get hit by a car. You are better off trying to stop strangers coming to your neighborhood than encouraging them .
    If you want to change things in your area talk to your neighbors first and see how they feel before you take it upon yourself to ruin everybody’s lives by wasting tax dollars for your own personal agenda

  10. Gwen Dwyer Lechnar

    In Mexico, the neighbors just get together one night and bang up a “tope” (speed bump). Now wait for the “authorities” to get around to removing it!