Lighting Them Up

Westport seems divided in 2.  There are red lights that drivers routinely plow through, as if color-blind or impervious to law.  And there are those that everyone always stops for.

The most notorious, of course, is the Post Road and Roseville.  As noted last June, folks fly down the hill past McDonald’s like lemmings to the sea — 4, 5, even 6 cars after the light turns red.  This light has even less power than the no-cellphones-while-driving law.

In 2nd place is the one exiting Trader Joe’s.  This is arguably more dangerous than McDonald’s’; at least there, Post Road drivers can see you coming.  In the Compo Acres lot, you get a green and you’re ready to leave.  You have no idea 3 or 4 eastbound Post Road drivers are about to disregard their red.

Just a few yards away, Compo Road intersects US1.  Depending on the time of day, drivers often roar through this one too.  In the morning, people heading to the station race from North Compo to South Compo, against the red.  At night, it’s reversed.

But — and this is the point of today’s post — similar intersections never have problems.  Sylvan Road North, for example, has nearly the same grade as Roseville; drivers there are no doubt in the same rush as everywhere else in town.  Yet I’ve never seen anyone try to beat the Sylvan Road North light.

It’s the same at Turkey Hill South and Morningside North.  Downtown, drivers always stop at Parker Harding Plaza.

I have no idea why some red lights are always obeyed, while others are magnets for law-breakers.  “06880” readers:  What do you think?

12 responses to “Lighting Them Up

  1. Alison Bricken

    Another very dangerous problem with the Compo Rd/US1 intersection is that drivers don’t pay close enough attention to the difference between the protected left turn green arrow or a green light that would allow them to go straight through the intersection. I am sure I am not the only one who has had to avoid a car driving straight toward me when making this “protected” left turn. These are accidents waiting to happen.

  2. Sylvan Road North????? I beg to differ – I live in the area. People run the red light all the time.

  3. I think it has to do with the timing of the light. I remember those as being pretty quick with long waits.

    As far as Roseville across the post road, it’s on the way to the Beach. Need I say more?

    • Thanks, Dave, but the beach is not it. This goes on 12 months a year, and most of the Roseville drivers turn left onto the Post Road — not going straight onto Hillspoint.

  4. Dan,

    Can you try to get info to relate traffic incidents/deaths at those intersections?

    Some years ago, a friend of mine was killed at the Roseville/Post Road intersection.

  5. Linda Gramatky Smith

    And there hasn’t been much followup information on an awful accident around noon on Sunday 6th. A Westport friend was hit in front of Trader Joe’s as she crossed the street. Another blog said that a witness said that supposedly she wasn’t in the crosswalk (it’s so confusing there with the crosswalk closer to Silver’s) but my friend is super-responsible. When my husband and I drove by at the same time, her running shoe was 50′ away next to the policeman directing traffic westbound to go to one lane. That’s a LONG way for a shoe to fly in the air! I wonder if the driver who hit her was trying to run a light. She is still in ICU up at Yale-New Haven, and is slowly recovering from three surgeries. Thanks for putting the spotlight, Dan, on the people not watching out for pedestrians!

  6. Kim Crowther Manning

    Dan, ever since your post in June about the Roseville intersection I have been paying more attention to the traffic patterns there. I noticed that because there is a median divider between the Post Road’s eastbound and westbound lanes (unlike the other intersections in town), and cars turning left on to the Post Road move into the intersection quite a ways to actually make the turn. Sometimes there is so much oncoming traffic from Hillspoint that the light turns red while the car is in the middle of the intersection waiting its turn, thereby appearing that it is running the light. In addition, of there are any cars behind that car, they follow suit and get caught in the intersection while the light turns red. This, of course, is not to say that this intersection doesn’t have its share of plain old careless (and fearless) drivers, but maybe (??) it explains a little of why it appears to have more light runners than others.

  7. Kim Crowther Manning

    woops… typo… “if there are any cars…” not “of “.

  8. I live near Sylvan Rd. Drivers run the red light plenty of times at the intersection of Sylvan Rd and Post Rd West. Accidents occur a lot. We’ve asked the town to recommend to the state to delay the green light on Sylvan, or the Post Rd. – have all lights red on all four sides, just for a second. It would decrease the number of accidents. Another problem is that after 6 or 7 pm, the red light at Sylvan Rd lasts about 7 minutes. As soon as it turns green, cars rush to get through it. I take back roads to avoid it.

  9. A big part of the problem is SPEED. Yesterday while dropping off Christmas cards at the downtown post office I was amazed at the cars and trucks speeding through the Imperial ave light and flying through town, cutting each over merging into the Bridge.
    Anyone notice how much attention this and our Mayor’s blogs get when the topic of bad traffic behavior is raised. Are you reading Mr Mayor and Chief ??????

  10. It is embarrassing to see how often drivers threaten pedestrians in crosswalks instead of allowing them to cross safely.

    There are traffic challenges all over Westport. While some of the reckless drivers are local it is noteworthy that Rte1, I-95 and the Merritt Parkway all pass through our town creating a mix of cars, commercial trucks, buses, SUVs, student drivers, folks using cell phones (without handsfree devices) and more. Very often drivers roar through red lights on the Post Road, not only to cross it. The scene at the Post Road and Cedar Road intersection (Starbuck’s) is one to avoid.

    One of the worst, most confusing, challenging and dangerous places to drive is on the campus of Staples High School – no kidding. It appears there is utter disregard for safety and rules of the road. The two way street that leads to the field house is often blocked with cars in the fire lane and in the traffic lane. The 10 mph and stop signs must be invisible. Student and adult drivers drive frighteningly fast and with no regard for courtesy and common sense. The school administration has chosen to ignore this serious problem.

  11. Frequent Driver

    After driving through this intersection many many times on both sides,The problem with the Roseville Rd light is that there it simply is timed all wrong. There should be a protected left from Roseville, and there isnt. Time is also too short on the green on the secondary streets and the delay between red on side street sides and rt 1. As somebody has already said, most people take a left at the light, so they are already in the intersection. The State needs to be petitioned to reprogram the light.
    I have also noticed that the protected left on Compo to Rt 1 is ignored alot, frankly it was fine before that change and really im not sure it was that neccesary
    What really needs to be done at night, like other towns is that more nights needs to be set to blinking yellow on rt 1. Whats the point of having a red at 12 am in front of Fresh Market… its pointless.