Be Careful What You Wish For

While planning for its move to Mahackeno, the Westport YMCA assured the public (and politicians) that there would be plenty of parking. Even during big events, Y leaders said, they could handle the crowds.

They can’t.

Today, a masters swim meet — “not even a major one,” an employee admitted — caused chaos. People parked in snow banks, at odd and dangerous angles, on the narrow entrance road — anywhere they could. Between drivers circling endlessly looking for spots, folks pulling out in very cramped quarters, and families dodging traffic as they trooped over from the Merritt Parkway commuter lot, it was a dangerous scene.

One small part of the giant parking mess today.

One small part of the giant parking mess today.

I don’t mind walking a good distance before I work out. But plenty of Y users are not as mobile.

The move out of downtown has made the Y wildly popular. Officials may be surprised at the number of new members. But they should not be surprised at what happens, now that they can hold swim meets with more teams than before.

A couple of weeks ago, a 16-team youth swim meet caused a similar parking frenzy. The Y sent several teenage employees outside, telling swim team parents to drop their kids off in front and then park in the commuter lot. They were ignored, so today they were nowhere in sight. The result: one big goat rodeo.

Not to mention the even-more-cramped-than-usual locker room. So I won’t.

10 responses to “Be Careful What You Wish For

  1. Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

    I’m not trying to say I told you so but maybe they ought to hire a shuttle bus or something. I can’t believe there’s not enough room over near the ball fields on the other side of the property.

  2. Bart Shuldman

    Dan. Are we putting the issue in the right or wrong bucket?

    On most days-if not for a very few-the Y’s parking lot is clearly large enough. I pass it at least 2 times everyday and can easily see the empty spots. It would be a waste of space to design the parking lot for those very few times the lot will be full. Just think of the size of the parking lot at Stop n Shop for the few times snow storms are predicted and the shopping hysteria begins. (Laughing).

    What should be required, not requested by Westport is for the Y to provide parking attendants to direct the cars and the people. Enforcing parking at the Exit 41 lot will clearly help. Stopping some from parking wherever they want will also help. Having the Y forced to provide the direction is mandatory. A shuttle bus is also a great idea.

    We have to come to grips that the Y had moved. So far it has been a success. Anyone living close as we do have never seen the traffic some feared.

    But taking responsibility for deciding to have a big swim meet and providing responsible people to direct parking is the right solution to a very infrequent issue.

    If the Y wants to have swimming meets that brings many cars then they should pay for the parking management. I Hope you agree.

    • I agree completely. That’s the point I was trying to make too. And I agree: I have seen absolutely no traffic problems on Wilton Road, despite the fears of many (myself included).

      • Bart Shuldman

        Dan-with 06880 exposing the issue to lots in town, the Y needs to step up and announce they will manage their parking issues when they have a swim meet. Thank you!!

  3. I was there today – inexcusable and dangerous. The Y needs to be held accountable for either expanding parking or stopping these meets until they can manage the crowds safely.

  4. “Goat Rodeo” ?!? LMAO !

  5. M Gonzales Padron

    My 5 and 2 YO had swim lessons that morning. We had to park in the commuter lot and then walk on the road, with traffic swerving around us (some not caring that we had little kids trudging along the road). With the snow banks, we didn’t have much in the way of a side of the road. The locker rooms were full, so we had to put our bags on the wet pool deck. Two masters swimmers bumped into my 2YO – but did not apologize – during our dangerous walk (yes, dangerous because my kids cannot swim and the water is deep and there was about a foot clearance for us to walk) over to the kids’ pool. This is the third meet so far and we are pretty frustrated. We love the Y, but these swim meets are not organized safely – either traffic-wise or on the pool deck.

  6. Estelle T. Margolis

    Well, they can cancel their summer camp program and create enough
    parking for the present population.
    OR we can build another Y on the Baron’s North property where it
    should been in the first place.

  7. When they have such events the other teams should be made to come in buses. For regular paying members this is not fair

  8. Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

    Turning the Y into Gold’s Gym at the expense of the youngsters it is primarily missioned to serve is not fair.