There are as many ways to get killed in Westport parking lots as there are banks on 1 block of the Post Road. Here are my nominations for the most congested, least well designed, and hardest to maneuver lots in town. Add your own favorites; just click “Comments.”
- Compo Shopping Center. The CVS parking lot is is the mother of all misery. It’s got it all: a cramped, confusing and poorly marked center entry and exit; 2-way traffic that feeds in from several different directions; a 1-way exit lane from the back with more blind spots than a cataract convention, and — the coup de grace — a crater by the Post Road entrance that auto body shop owners revere.
- Compo Acres Shopping Center. Across the street from the CVS lot, this is miserable in its own unique way. There’s the 1-way lane in front of Tai Pan, with parking on both sides that attracts every driver with no ability to parallel park, and the entrance by Trader Joe’s that funnels 2 lanes of traffic into a congealed mess. The rear offers more hazards, including squeezing past Patriot Bank, then attempting to edge left, Sisyphean-like, onto South Compo past 2 lanes of always-stopped traffic, and a view-obliterating traffic island.
- The lot between the police station and Bank of America. You’d think a parking lot next to police headquarters would be a model of design and decorum. You’d think wrong. This section of the Jesup Avenue lot features parking spots dropped willy-nilly from the sky. They align with nothing — neither the police station exits nor those from the bank lots. There are no directional arrows and few stop signs. There is, however, much hand-gesturing by drivers, which helps not at all.
- Super Stop & Shop. I appreciate the extra-wide spaces next to each parking spot. Unfortunately, they accomplish nada. The lanes themselves are too narrow; the well-intentioned but space-eating trees force cars’ butts into traffic. There’s always a cruise ship-sized delivery truck parked by the supermarket entrance, cutting off access the way Jenny Sanford recently cut off Mark. And what’s with the no-left-turn-onto-the-Post-Road (wink wink) signs? WTF?
- Westfair Shopping Center. Directly across the street from Stop & Shop, this was outdated the moment it opened during the James K. Polk administration. Yeah, it’s nice to park in front of each store. But just try to get out. Smart Car owners feel like they’re driving stretch limos, as they maneuver between the angled cars and traffic zooming past the other side of the low concrete barrier. Don’t even try Plan B (circling behind the building to exit straight ahead). Like Charlie on the MTA, you’ll never return.
Brooks Corner [Brooks Brothers & Williams-Sonoma]: very narrow spots and so ding city, driveways so tight you can’t pull in straight, cars block the street trying to enter, then encroach into the sidewalk.
Good call. Can’t believe I missed it. THANKS.
What about the Avery lot near the Chase branch? This lot boasts the most narrow spaces in town, which many drivers don’t even pretend to respect. The entire lot needs to be re-lined.
Whoops, what about the Saugatuck Post Office parking lot by the railroad station?
…which always floods with the slightest drizzle.
I find the middle exit with the no-left-turn signs get ignored 50% of the time. So everyone else pulls out into traffic by going right onto the Post Road and immediately cutting across the lanes to turn into the Garelick & Herbs strip mall to THEN turn right going west on the Post Road. I think that those poor stores have more traffic coming through their lot with 90% never stopping to shop!
Oh yes, one other story about the Compo lot. No matter how slowly one pulls out of a parking spot in front of CVS, invariably there are a couple of cars that race behind you at 30 mph. They can see you’re pulling out, but who cares? So we pull out an inch at a time (it seems) to make sure no one is using this as a raceway to get to the light and get into line first. Ah me.
I worked at CVS for a year while I was in high school, after a few months of almost getting into an accident every time I went to work I started pulling in the back and parking as far away from the building as possible. More people should use the back entrance. Also the Dunkin Donuts (across from Blockbuster) is terrible.
It took me a full 10 minutes to successfully exit that Trader Joe’s lot the first time I tried. I swear, I followed a sign that read exit that led me straight into a curb or a brick wall.
Just letting you know that I’m really enjoying your blog, Dan. Nice work!
THANKS! Much appreciated… – Dan