Tear Down That Gate!

As the Great North Avenue Paving Project progressed last week, many drivers waited patiently resignedly fumingly furiously for a single lane of traffic to move.

But some folks found a silver lining in the truckloads of asphalt spreading slowly on one of the major roads in town.

Staff and students heading to Staples cruised from Cross Highway through Wakeman Park, past the rarely-opened gate at the end of the Bedford Middle School lot, and into the high school campus near the swimming pool.

You can't usually get past Bedford, to Staples.

Gone were interminable waits at the not-quite-aligned North Avenue/Cross Highway intersection.  Forgotten was the half hour or so crawl a quarter mile to the Staples entrance, capped by a final obstacle and difficult moral dilemma:  allow entering traffic from Terhune Drive into your path, or stare straight ahead and pretend you don’t see it?

One teacher said his commute — normally 45 minutes — was slashed to 23, thanks to the Bedford cut-through.

So why isn’t the Bedford/Staples gate always open — not all day, mind you, but just during the morning rush hour (and at 2:15, to shunt homeward-bound traffic away from the only other outlet, North Avenue)?

Apparently, when Bedford was built, wise men and women understood there had to be an entrance/exit other than North Avenue.

But Cross Highway neighbors objected to what they feared would be increased traffic.  Hence, the Bedford/Staples gate.

The result inconveniences hundreds of drivers every day — including those with no connection at all to Staples.

We’ll save our rants about other “neighborly” issues for another time.  Like the 1 or 2 families on North Pasture who objected to the “noise” from noontime recess at Bedford, leading to the removal of outside basketball hoops.

Or the decades-old opposition — from a few High Point Road residents — to lights on the Staples football field.

We’ll discuss those stories later.  Right now we have to leave, to beat the traffic and get to school on time.

58 responses to “Tear Down That Gate!

  1. I agree wholeheartedly!!! How can we get this decision reversed?

    • Hmm… was it really “neighbors” who wanted to stop the thru traffic? My understanding ( I am a neighbor) was it was a safely issue when the new Bedford was first opened. People (without kids in their cars) were seen flying down Wakeman Farm Rd. from Cross Highway to bypass the horrible intersection that is North & Cross. The consensus, right or wrong, was that these people were rushing to catch a commuter train or simply trying to get to work, and caused a potentially dangerous situation with the students arriving at school. Believe me, the people living in my neighborhood only lose with the gates.
      On the Terhune comment – over the years, I have occasionally had the misfortune to drive North Ave in the morning. It is a rare instance that the drivers do not alternate letting people in from Terhune.

  2. Re: School neightbors……weren’t they young once! and, hopefully, playful.

  3. This is so true! Why do hundreds of people have to wait in a half hour traffic each day just to please Cross Highway residents? What about the North Ave. residents who dare not leave their homes during the 3 hours a day when North Ave. is impassable due to school traffic?? How was it determined that their quality of life was less important? How did they end up with FOUR school entrances and Cross Highway none? TEAR DOWN THE GATES!!!!!

  4. Those 30 kids that went out to recess between 12:30 and 1 were waking up all those people that were sleeping with that loud noise of basketball hoops…not

  5. Bring back the Nike Nukes, so much more comforting than kids at play or school traffic

  6. Let’s have a test… open the gates and see what happens… measure the results… maybe the Cross Ave folks will be less cross and find that things are actually better ?

  7. Having the gates to Bedford and Staples closed makes Cross Highway traffic worse, not better, since the cars end up stacked up on C H as opposed to moving smoothly. In order to keep Wakeman two-way, juniors won’t be able to park there, which is a problem, but every day there are at least 50 unused parking spaces in the BMS lot closest to Staples. Problem solved.

  8. I was thinking the same thing, but then I remembered that all the juniors parallel park along the the Wakeman Park road, making it (in effect) a 1.5-lane thoroughfare. Add the act of parking, itself, and you’ve slowed in-out traffic to a standstill.

    • They can’t park on Wakeman Park road right now because of the construction. I’d be curious to find out what they are doing instead. I agree using the unused BMS spots might slow things down but that area is fairly wide so maybe traffic can flow while students pull into those spots. I do think there is a difference between morning rush and afternoon rush- lots of kids linger for afterschool activities so maybe it won’t be so bad. We should give it a try.

  9. Junior parking could be limited the way that senior parking is. There is absolutely no reason that the Wakeman driveway needs to be used for parking. It was designed as a driveway- the only reason they park there is because the closed gate makes it useless for anything else. If the planners had wanted it to be used for parking they would have just made a larger lot.


  10. Dan, hilarious observation on the Terhune Dr moral dilemma. My solution- sunglasses!

  11. Young Westporter

    Talk about entitlement….
    Last I checked Cross Highway was a public roadway, how should they dictate how much traffic goes on it.

    Regardless… Unless a concerted effort is made to make sure there is no parking on Wakeman road… then it would be moot.
    Then again, I parked there when I was a junior so I don’t think it would be fair for me to rally against it.

    • There are 50+ empty spots in the Bedford lot every day….if they were made available to juniors there would be no need to park on Wakeman Park Road. Plus the walk to Staples would be at least 5 minutes shorter.

  12. Another Parent

    Please do not make removal of Wakeman parking part of the solution. We are one of those “unusual” (although not really) families where both parents and our junior son work. He needs to drive to school in order to get to work, he didn’t get a junior sticker (although there are apparently many available parking spaces at Staples, but I won’t debate that here) and Wakeman is the only alternative. Keep the gates open. Let the kids park at Wakeman and open Bedford spots and let’s move on.

  13. So true! Although a locked gate hasn’t stopped students from getting through in the past…

  14. Dan, I drive to Staples every day. There is no bus, because I live “too close” (according to bus routes, not my children. It was a slippery slope I slid down many years ago). In the 5 years I have been doing the morning drive I ALWAYS let a car in from Terhune. It’s called give and go, and a lot more people should try it (it works at 4-way intersections too!). If there’s a bus, I let that go too- those people are just trying to do their jobs. If someone is going to be late by letting one car in front of them then maybe they ought to leave a little earlier. If they are just too caught up in their morning mission to take another person into consideration, well then that’s a rant of a whole different color. Karma’s a bitch folks and maybe you’ll remember that when you’re trying to merge into traffic and the person with sunglasses on is trying to ignore you. Or maybe we can all be a little bit more considerate of each other. Personally- I like that idea better. But hey, that’s just me.


  16. Bermuda Bitching

    The imbeciles drive like hell down North Avenue to school. How do you think they are going to do down the back roads of Wakeman??? They will be flipping over those speed bumps. I do believe the Wakemans gave the property to the town to allow for a sanctuary for sports and leisure. For those of us who use it to walk, run, bike and/or give the dogger a hike, don’t need I-295 through Wakeman. It was NOT intended to be a feeder road for those who seem to be in a hurry to get everywhere in today’s world of hurry. Slow down! Life ain’t a race!!!!

    • It is very hard to drive like an imbecile when you are stuck in a line that is over a mile long and travelling at 4 miles per hour. Stop bitching.

  17. I completely agree. There is no reason why the Bedford cut-through should not be open just during the morning/afternoon rush hour. It would be convenient, free up North Avenue, and be a valuable asset to the arrival and dismissal of Staples students. This must be considered.

  18. And to Bermuda,
    Wakeman and Staples alike have speed bumps, a great way to slow down traffic. That should not be a chief complaint.

  19. Bermuda Bitching

    AP/R: If you don’t think you can drive like an imbecile at 4 mph, then you must live in a dream world. People cutting in and out, honking and/or putting on their makeup or pulling on their nose hairs. And those speed bumps are meaningless. Kids fly to the right or left of them. Nearly lost a dog to an idiot bunch of Staples girls who were more interested in texting themselves than the road. Perhaps if more kids took the damn bus, there wouldn’t be the traffic jams in the morning. I see most of them half-filled. You got too many soccer Moms and 16 year old pimple poppers driving. Cut back on the number of cars and you alleviate some of the problems. Also, start the high school students last in sequence of classes beginning and you avoid the conflict of commuters or early Bedford kids arriving. “Cut-throughs” or detours have never solved traffic issues long term.

    • Although I wholeheartedly agree on the start-time issue (a dead horse, I’m sad to say), please don’t be too hard on the kids who aren’t riding the bus. We live exactly three miles from Staples and my child’s bus arrives at 6:50! The extra 90 minutes of sleep per week a daily ride provides is HUGE to a kid who has to be alert and ready to learn at 7:30.

    • Bitching-
      What an appropriate moniker. It sounds like you might prefer to have high school students removed from the town altogether. Using a driveway does not constitute a”cut-through”.

      I do agree that more of them could take the bus. This would be a safer place to put on makeup, text, pop pimples, or contemplate their nose hairs.

      • Bermuda Bitching

        AP: Take a ride over to Greens Farms Academy at closing time. Kids, in uniform, running for the train to get home!! I don’t see anything close to that resemblance at the Sacred Staples.

        • Bitching-
          Are you saying that students at GFA don’t have pimples, nose-hairs or a need for makeup. Ah! The things money can buy. If only all children could be that privileged- i mean perfect!

    • Young Westporter

      I think it unfair to state that kids should automatically use the bus. A good example is the parent up above that stated that their son has to drive so that he can then go to work.
      Cars and their usage aren’t always a luxury.
      To think that a public road shouldn’t be used as such is absurd. There are plenty of other places in town devoted to being a park, including the walking path on the otherside of the soccer fields at wakeman itself. A road is a road, lets use it as such.

      • Westport Expat

        When I went to Staples and worked after school, I took the bus that let me off as close as possible to work and walked about 3/4 mile the rest of the way. A car is a nice answer, but not the only one.

        • Young Westporter

          Maybe the kid works out of town….. the bus schedule may not fit into his work one…. It’s not a “nice” answer, if its the only one.
          We don’t live in Europe, A car for the most part is not a luxury for many Americans.

          • Westport Expat

            I would like to put this so it sounds less condescending, but once you get out on your own — really on your own, with no help from the ‘rents — you may see things a little differently. As my pop said to me more than once, a car is a privilege, not a right. (And I am not 100 years old, or even halfway there.)

  20. Is there a reason people so often feel the need to be so aggressively rude to others?

  21. The Dude Abides

    Veteran: Happy Veterans Day. I am not sure anonymous contributions either add or subtract from inner feelings. I do know that alternate routes do not decrease traffic flow. We have built roads for forty years in this country and still do not have enough. Now, we are turning to rail as alternative. The solution is less cars and not more roads. Many of those driven or drive by car to Westport schools do so as a luxury at a high cost to taxpayer for unused buses. Many studies show that high school students need extra sleep and have initiated late starts. Of course, the teacher unions object to a later day. I knew the Wakemans and their property was a sacred stomping ground for kids dating back fifty years when we kids played in their orchards. It was not meant to be a thoroughfare to heavy footed kid drivers who are late to class.

  22. Bermuda Bitching: you’re telling us Staples students to slow down, because life isn’t a race. Please direct these complaints to the education system of this country before you blame it on high school students. We have been taught to “race” and compete with each other from day one, and it has been hardwired into all of us. I’ve had to fight this my entire life. Maybe if we weren’t being constantly evaluated and judged at every juncture, we would have a more well-rounded learning experience and not have to race down Wakeman road to avoid losing credit. Also: please do not tell me that you actually think that students at GFA are any better than Staples students. GFA kids, on the whole, are pretentious snobs. Why, I ask, would anyone pay for private school in this area of the world? Our public schools are some of the best in the country, and they cost nothing. Taking the train doesn’t make you a good person, and GFA kids would drive if they could, so don’t act like they’re so much better than us. Finally: classifying us all as “idiots” isn’t going to do anything, bud. We’re the ones that are going to have to solve the problems we’ve been born into, and I trust that we will. Go walk your dog.

    • Arthur B. Benjamin

      When 17% of Staples drivers admit to a crash or near crash while texting, I am not sure there is any other word but “idiots” to describe your expertise behind wheel.

  23. Mamlouk: Wow, are you naive. If you don’t think Staples doesn’t cost anything in property taxes, you are greatly mistaken. Try 16-18,000 grand a year. Certainly it is an excellent school as is Greens Farms. The comparison was made to indicate that the private school kids are (1) dressed in proper uniform attire instead of cutoffs and flip flops and (2) that many use public transportation to get home. That is significant to me for it reflects some form of independence and also a conformity that is acceptable in today’s world. Staples kids dress like slobs. With their book bags and flip flops, they are college wannabes. You are also blaming a public education system in this country that is so broken that nearly 65% drop out before graduation. Not true here but you need to be more specific. The “rat race” has been passed down for generations in this town and many have bought into it. According to the President of MIT, you are suppose to be the generation of “WHY NOT???” Thus, you should be asking why you are making a mad dash through the best years of your life. Trust me, high school and college are those years. So think for yourself and forget pointing the finger at those who dictate social mores. Take it slow, “bro” including the Wakeman detour.

  24. Hey bermuda thats a cute reply you have there, however the way you attempt to argue just smells of inexperience and immaturity. Staples Students are very much not slobs, seeing how the majority of us will go on to exceed more in life then you will likely have because your attitude has ruined every chance you have received. Stick to your argument and stop making up degrading stereotypes of Staples Students. Now for the matter at hand, yes, staples does cost money in taxes; way to go, thats how this nations economy works. As for college “wannabee’s”, what do you know, last time I checked it doesn’t look like you go to Staples. Stop making assumptions when you don’t have any clear evidence to support them.


  25. The Dude Abides

    I am not going to argue with the Staples Special. For some reason, they are ever so sensitive and insistent on pounding their chests in bravado like cavemen. I hope Mamlouck does solve the problems of the world and annonymous does take 11th grade composition. The thread of the argument is silly: there will be no thoroughfare through Wakeman once the paving is completed. Not then, not ever. If you think litigation is holding up the lights, you ain’t seen anything until you have kids buzzing in and out of a town park. Welcome to the real Westport, Wreckers.

  26. Why thank you for that sincere welcome, the dude abides, and I think I’ll stay a while. The real question is why grown adults spend time commenting their hearts out over a gate that probably in no way effects their life. I like having a life, how about you? Oh wait a second….

  27. Wow, that is so small-minded. Obviously the public school graduation rate is not 65% here you self-righteous moron, 95-100% of our kids graduate and at least 90% go on to college. Why mention it if its “not true here”? Yes, I understand Staples isn’t free, pretty sure I never said that. My question was why pay the additional cost of private school when you can get a perfectly good education for significantly less money. I would also appreciate it if you grown adults would stop profiling me. I’m not assuming anything about you, so don’t go spit-balling about my life. Yes, I’m seventeen, but that doesn’t make me an ignorant “caveman.” Nor does it mean that I use the term “bro” or wear cutoffs, although neither of these things would say anything about my character anyways… Oh — and sorry, i forgot I’m not allowed to “pound my chest.” I guess I should leave that to the real men.

  28. Bermuda Bitching

    Mamlouk: I do believe that YOU mentioned originally that the educational system of this country put tremendous pressure on you by constantly evaluating your performance and thus, placing you in the “rat race.” You do not live in a bubble. Numerous families have sought out private schools because their children have NOT done well at Staples and further, that many private schools have a high percentage of placement in “Tier One” colleges. No one is type casting you. You seem to be a very aware young adult. But the mantra that I am special because I go to Staples is old. Staples is special because of its students, not the reverse. Keep asking WHY and you will be alright. And using “self-righeous moron” is no better than “caveman bro” wearing cutoffs. Words.

  29. Yes, sure, but private schools aren’t the solution to the education problems of the country. Their high-level classroom environments — the ones that send kids to top colleges — are very similar to those of Staples or other good high schools. Also, just because these colleges are considered “top” doesn’t mean they actually are, but that’s a whole different discussion. I’m pretty sure you and others were type-casting me, actually — assuming I think I’m special or on top of the world because I go to Staples, for example. I don’t. I was born here, does that make me arrogant? I called you a self-righteous moron because that’s what you sounded like. Calling someone a sloppy, stupid teenager without having ever met or known them is significantly worse, actually. I have assumed nothing about anyone here, and I expect the same treatment. I’m fine with generalizations — I said earlier that GFA kids have generally given me the impression that they are pretentious — but that does not mean I’m going to automatically assume anything about a specific person. I won’t profile a kid wearing GFA gear on post road as a snob just because he goes to school somewhere. You, or anyone else, shouldn’t assume I’m an ignorant child just because of my school or the reputation of its students.

    • The Dude Abides

      Mamlouk: You are correct, private schools are not the solution to the current problem with education in the United States. But perhaps competition IS with charter schools, a voucher systems, ABC programs, Project Concern and other such agendas. You may very well think it is swell that Staples is 93% white but I am not so sure: the real world does not resemble that color. The schools year needs to be 240+ days a year and the school day needs to be elongated. If not, I hope you are taking Chinese at Staples. You are also correct, school profiling is non-sensical. Each and every student at Staples and GFA is special and unique. Branding is easy though. Keep thinking though Mamlouck. Ask “WHY” at every opportunity.

      • Of course I don’t think our homogeneity is a good thing — I think it’s terrible. Admittedly, it is very hard to make such schools diverse, but efforts should be made. I also agree with you on the school days per year; we are the only country (to my knowledge) with such extensive summer breaks. I’m not saying we should do away with these, but they should be shortened. That being said, the main issue is with quality, not quantity; what really needs to change is the way we educate. We need to be more collaborative and less evaluative. Take a look at this to see what I mean: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

        I appreciate the advice, and it is duly noted. Not taking Chinese at Staples was probably my biggest mistake in terms of course selection, but depending on where I go to college I plan on taking either Arabic or Chinese.

        ps — it is hard to lengthen the time of the school day, because of athletics and clubs. We go from 7:30 – 2:15 at the moment, and any longer than that and it gets too dark to compete outdoors for long enough. Starting earlier would mean less sleep, probably the last thing we all need.

        • The Dude Abides

          Thank for the cite. You could go 9-5 including the extra-curriculum/sports encompassed in the day. Germans and Japanese go 214 days a year. Studies have shown high school students are sleep deprived as is. Many districts have switched the elementary school kids going early and high school later. I was joking about the Chinese but their productivity is at 9.6% growth and our unemployment is at the same rate. Something is gonna change. Big time for your generation. You are right about colleges. You find the right one for you. From my experience, I would strongly suggest one in a city atmosphere. The boonies mean boredom and booze.

  30. yada yada yada. i agree with mamlouk. a bunch of adults, most likely older ones, trying to add some excitment to their lives by doing this. traffic, cars, those meddling kids! ill get bak at em by blogging my opinions!(maybe even in a harsh tone *devious smile*). rolfcopter, im really laffing at this convo. poor ur self a nice glass of wine, sit back on ur nicee comfy chair of urs, and take a big ol’ chill pill. comprendo?

    p.s. how do u lik my spelling?how bout u dudes argue abot how texting is ruinin the english langwage next? thatd be a nice har har. im out, chyea brah

  31. Pingback: Let’s Meet At… | 06880

  32. I guess it makes sense, and if I still lived in that area I might agree with the thru way as a way to relieve some of the congestion. I often spend an hour in the car commuting to my office (which is ten minutes away) on outdated, overcrowded infrastructure (in suburban Boston).

    However, I can not help but think of the underhanded way the town handled the original purchase of the property without giving proper respect and legal support, to the wishes of the Wakeman family, that the farm be kept as open space.

    I imagine what could have been, and it does not include a road…