Clear The Tracks!

First it was the Merritt Parkway.

Now, alert “06880” reader John Hartwell notes, Eversource is removing trees near the Green’s Farms train station, on both sides of New Creek Road.

Greens Farms train station 2 - John Hartwell

Greens Farms train station 3 - John Hartwell

Greens Farms train station - John Hartwell

Area resident Nico Eisenberger was surprised to see the same scene. He understands the need to trim trees from power lines, but wonders who made the decision to clear-cut so many trees — and would love to know how it was made.

Greens Farms train station - Nico Eisenberger

According to Hartwell — a member of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council — Foti Koskinas (the deputy police chief who oversees maintenance and operations of the Green’s Farms and Saugatuck train stations on behalf of the town ) could not find a tree company to work on trees he was concerned about, near high voltage wires.

Because the property belongs to the state, Koskinas asked the Connecticut Department of Transportation to take a look.  At a meeting including Koskinas, tree warden Bruce Lindsay and the DOT, Metro-North and EverSouce determined that the trees could not be trimmed. They needed to be removed.

Two sets of trees are being taken down: scrub trees on the parking lot side, and 70-foot pines on the station side.

Hartwell has been told that Lindsay is working on a landscaping plan. On the station side at least, trees with deep roots are needed to hold the hill in place.

8 responses to “Clear The Tracks!

  1. I don’t know whether clear-cutting these trees was really necessary, but there’s no question that the public should have been involved in making the decision. When the trees were taken down at Longshore there was extensive public discussion and a field trip led by the tree warden. Surely the town should have followed the same process here.

    Remediation needs to begin immediately, and commuters must be consulted. Greens Farms Station is an iconic part of Westport, and the landscape has to be restored.

  2. It’s State land, the public doesn’t need to have a say in everything that happens in Westport.

    The Greens Farms Station is quaint, but we’ve been waiting almost a decade for “them” (whoever “them” is since apparently it’s not the town and it’s not the state, or maybe it is, or maybe it’s the MTA) to finish renovating the Westport Train Station (aka Saugatuck) by painting over the ugly blue and gold panels from the 1970’s and doing something with all of the rusting chrome looking lights and fencing. Look at Darien – our “gateway” to Westport is a joke.

    Sorry about your trees.

  3. As a commuter, it was frustrating that I had no previous warning about the tree removal. I had to drive myself one morning, the same morning the tree service began, and was unexpectedly parking in a permit spot because 16+ daily spots were blocked off. I received a parking ticket, even though this was my only option to park and make my train, and despite the lack of communication to daily commuters.

    Also, as a PSA, after confronting an officer the next day about my concerns, I was told “lots” (the officer did not specify how many) of daily spots are permanently switching to permit spots.

  4. As much as we all want the greenery, this is a proactive maneuver to stop tree limbs from falling on the power lines and causing outages. As we all know, sometimes we lose power even when the wind is not bad.

    They came down our street and cut back branches that are close to the power line-not cable or phone. It is the wire highest on the poles. They were showed the courtesy to all the homeowners, explained why, and carted away all the limbs when the finished. We hope this helps our area and minimizes the amount of outages we experience.

  5. Foti Koskinas — the deputy police chief who oversees maintenance and operations of the Green’s Farms and Saugatuck train stations on behalf of the town — adds this comment:

    “I have utmost respect for John Hartwell, and the work he does. However, this was a matter of public safety, not a matter for a committee to decide. The 80-foot pine trees were located over pedestrian sidewalks, and over vehicles. Every winter for the past few years, they’ve landed on cars and the sidewalk. We’ve been very fortunate they have not landed on any person. The tree warden agreed this was a public safety issue. The Department of Transportation came down and agreed too.”

  6. David Feliciano

    Finally a plain spoken answer. No lets put up a Giant Ferris Wheel in downtown Like London, and Paris, and every other Eyesore in the world!!!

  7. Agree that the sudden removal of all those trees at GF has turned a beautiful spot into an industrial-looking eyesore but the power outages and safety issues are paramount. Hopefully, they do something to beautify it again. It’s depressing. A larger issue is the sudden, unexplained constraint on daily parking. I’ve been parking in daily spots for a year and a half without issue (all the while on the wait list for a permit and fully expect to still be on said waitlist a year and a half from now). Note that permit spots are often empty implying strongly there’s no need for more of them at this station. If they’ve now reduced daily spots in favor of unnecessary permit spots, it’s a naked attempt to raise revenue and I’d love to hear a kinder explanation. There is no reasonable alternative at GF save waking up even earlier – basically, if you take a train later than 725, get ready to pay 25/day for parking violations.

  8. Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas and I walked the GF Station area today and talked about planting. He’s got Bruce Lindsay, the town tree warden, involved and is open to suggestions about what should go in. We also talked about additional parking ideas, and hope to have some concepts for public discussion soon.

    Stay tuned.