Those Pesky Red Lights

This is not stop-the-presses news:

The other day, someone ran a red light in front of Trader Joe’s.

This time though, the driver did not simply scare the crap out of a poor person attempting to exit from Compo Acres Shopping Center, through The Worst Intersection In The Entire Multiverse.

The driver — roaring east on the Post Road — denied running the light.

That did not sit well with Bruce Leavitt. He’s the husband of the woman who was hit. He knows how common it is for drivers to race through the light.

In 20 minutes, he saw it happen more than once. He also saw how tough it is for drivers leaving the shopping center; a large sign blocks the view of traffic coming from the left.

Bruce took this video, of a common sight:

(If your browser does not take you directly to YouTube, click here.)

Now he wants others to do the same. And not just at the Trader Joe’s/CVS Intersection From Hell — anywhere else in town you think there’s a problem.

If we get enough, we’ll publish them on “06880.”

And then we’ll have actual proof, to convince someone — the Connecticut Department of Transportation? Shopping center owners? The Traffic Genie? — to do something.

“Remove a sign. Delay timing on a light. Crack down on light runners…” Bruce suggests.

Send videos (via YouTube or Vimeo format) to dwoog@optonline.net. As the saying goes, “It can’t hurt.”

Unless, that is, you get hit by a Very Important Driver running a very clear red light.

This is the light in question. Drivers exiting from the Trader Joe's lot (dark car) often have to contend with cars flying through the red light on the Post Road, from the left

This is the light in question. Drivers exiting from the Trader Joe’s lot (dark car) often have to contend with cars flying through the red light on the Post Road, from the left

28 responses to “Those Pesky Red Lights

  1. John Hartwell

    Dan

    when I click on the photo it’s a jpeg, not a .mov file.

  2. James Turley

    People run red lights everywhere. People use their cell phones everywhere. People drive with dogs on their laps. Stand near you local Post RD somewhere and observe other interesting driver behavior. It’s a sad reality. Proceed with caution….

  3. Joe Barrato

    Ever try the other exit at Trader Joes? I mentioned to manager of TJ that both exits are a nightmare and dangerous! Joe

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. Nina Sankovitch

    One intersection that terrifies me is the one at Canal Street and Kings Highway North. So often when my light turns green and I am ready to take the left onto Canal Street to cross the river and go to Wilton Road, a car comes roaring through the intersection, usually from the left (from direction of Wilton road) – I will try to capture it with my camera.

    • Jacques Voris

      That is a horrible intersection too. I see people blowing through that light almost every time I am there. Not even it just turned red, but good solid redlights

  5. Thanks, Dan. I get frightened by the red-light-runners too. Let’s get them!

  6. Jacques Voris

    Once I was exiting that very same shopping center. My light was vividly green. I checked the traffic on the Post Road, checked the traffic coming out from the CVS side, it was all clear. I started to ease out into the road, only to have to stop short because a “gentleman” in a Mercedes blew through the light. He sketched to a halt, looked at me, and when he say I stopped he continued on his way with nary a shrugged apology. Until that day I wasn’t aware there was a hospital that way, where he surely must have been rushing.

  7. Add to the long list of bad driving practices – drivers who, rather than slowing down for joggers or cyclists, simply drive into the oncoming traffic lane to pass, regardless of whether there is any oncoming traffic and regardless of whether they are on a curve in the road, topping a hill or approaching an intersection. I see it all the time and almost got head-on’d the other day while making a right turn by a driver in the wrong lane passing a cyclist. Enough.

    • Susan Hopkins

      I share your outrage/concern over this, Andy. All bets are off re: Rules of the Road, it seems. Drivers make their own rules whenever they are behind the wheel.

      • Exactly. Yes, there are a lot of badly designed intersections, poorly situated lights, blind curves… but the responsibility ultimately is the drivers’ and there are way too many of them who are cavalier at best and irresponsible at worst. And the worst of the worst are the talk/text abusers.

  8. Nina Streitfeld

    Right on! Perhaps not only a delayed light but a police camera and accompanying warning sign about red light runners might catch their attention. Nina Streitfeld

  9. Never cross the Post Road without stopping — even if you have the green. I taught my children that, so the run-the-red-light habit isn’t new. mmm

  10. Chip Stephens - Staples 73

    AHHHH Look at the picture and you will see a car entering the Compo lot across the street through the EXIT side The wild wild WESTport

    • Wow — I completely missed that. And, if you look closely, it appears to be not one but TWO cars doing that illegal entry thing. Double yikes!

  11. Mark Mathias

    Traffic lights at eye level instead of dangling where they’re hard to see would also be helpful. In other places in the U.S. and around the world, lights are mounted high so that traffic far away can see them (as typical in CT), but additional lights are put on posts that make it easier for near drivers to see, as well as providing a second set of lights to reinforce the intersection’s right-of-way.

  12. Jill Turner Odice

    Here in SoCal, we have cameras on the lights at intersections…The cops can clearly see who is running lights and ticket them

  13. There are stories in the press of dash camera recordings exonerating owners from false claims in traffic accidents.
    Devices such as these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/electronics/3248689011/ref=sr_bs_1
    Are dash cameras legal to use in CT?

  14. Roseanne Levy

    Thanks for bringing attention to this. Besides the sign in the way of sight lines, the exits from the shopping centers do not align for turns or going straight. I think that can only be changed by the CVS shopping center. Adding to the problem, cars wait several lights to make the left from Compo North on to Rte 1, then the timing of the shopping center light stops them a few hundred feet away, so people are impatient with the timing of the light and many run it. I agree that a light in the middle of a block should be made more visible to close traffic. Hopefully, some officials will try to get it running more smoothly. Another problem intersection is the light where North Compo and Main Street intersect, which is also misaligned. I thought the State was going to work on that, but have not heard any more about it.

    • The misalignment of Compo Shopping Center and Compo Acres Shopping Center is a huge part of the problem. It’s hard to fix though, because the entrance to Compo Shopping Center (assuming one enters the right way, not via the exit) aligns directly with the passageway through to the back, and on to East Main Street.

      As far as the North Compo/Main Street intersection, I believe that is still in the works.

      • One more dangerously misaligned intersection is at N Bulkley Ave/Post Road E, where the Stop & Shop is. Cars go north directly into the path of south-going cars, and make a right hook into the north-going lane again. Nobody using that intersection seems to have a consensus on whether to signal, and drivers simply have to guess each others’ intentions.

        Another difficult fix, given the relative positions of the businesses around that intersection.

  15. Bobbie Herman

    It’s not only Westport that has these problems. Fairfield is full of rude and reckless drivers, too. Within the past couple of weeks I’ve had three near-collisions, where drivers fly around corners without checking whether anyone is approaching. They go through stop signs and red lights.

  16. Ted Friedman

    In Westport, red lights are for tourists and stop signs are optional apparently.

  17. I recently had the wits scared out of me exiting Trader Joes (with a green light) only to be nearly hit by someone (trying) to run the red. In this instance, the at-fault driver yelled something unprintable to me from the open window of his car as I proceeded into the intersection.

    • Bobbie Herman

      When I’ve encountered a rude and dangerous driver (see my comment above), they usually give me the finger.

  18. Catherine Burnett

    My Dad had this joke that I grew up with, ” What’s 40 mph in a 30 mph zone in Westport?” The answer is “a traffic jam.”

  19. Can we also discuss the new curbs put in at the compo rd south entrance to that parking lot? The entrance is now too narrow for two cars to enter and exit simultaneously unless each has managed to execute his or her turn perfectly. As a result, traffic there is even worse than it used to be. Simply removing the small semi-circular curb protecting the 3′ section of barely-used sidewalk would do the trick.