Shredding Main Street: The Solution?

Yesterday, “06880” tore into the vexing problem of Main Street curbs. Some parallel parkers who scrape strongly against the new granite — constructed to federal standards, to withstand New England winters — have emerged with shredded tires.

Some commenters assailed the new curbs. Some offered solutions (such as: park elsewhere).

A typical Main Street parking scene.

A typical Main Street parking scene.

A longtime Westporter with strong downtown ties has a fantastic idea: angled parking.

In other words, you’d pull in, nose first, at an angle on one side of Main Street. There would be no parking on the other side.

More vehicles could park this way, the theory goes, because angled cars take up less space than parallel-parked ones. In addition, stripes would guide (somewhat — this is, after all, Westport) drivers. Right now, there are no stripes because the road is irregular. That leads to wasted space.

Angled parking in downtown Mamaroneck, New York.

Angled parking in downtown Mamaroneck, New York…

Angled parking would improve traffic flow. There would be more room, and drivers would not have to wait for the car ahead to maneuver back and forth. (Or wait for the tow truck to come to fix a shredded tire.)

Of course, drivers would also be able to see where they’re going, and presumably not barrel head first into the granite curb. (Though based on the number of drivers who plow through storefronts elsewhere in town, this is debatable.)

...and along The Avenue in Greenwich.

…and along The Avenue in Greenwich.

Angled parking would also allow for handicap spots. Right now there are none on Main Street — because there are no stripes.

Other downtowns have angled parking — New Canaan, Greenwich and Mamaroneck, to name 3.

This would not be the first time we’ve changed Main Street’s vehicular pattern. Through the mid-1970s, there was 2-way traffic all the way to the Post Road.

Main Street does not look substantially different in 2015 than it did in 1962 (except for the lack of 2-way traffic). But has the "character" of downtown changed?

Two-way traffic on Main Street. Note the light in front of Klein’s (now Banana Republic).

I envision merchants “angling” (ho ho) to make sure the head-in parking is on their side of the street.

We can let Lee Papageorge decide. He’s fair and impartial. As owner of Oscar’s Deli, he’s been downtown forever.

And he’s sure seen his share of shredded tires.

13 responses to “Shredding Main Street: The Solution?

  1. John Brandt

    This is one of those “slap yourself in the forehead-why didn’t I think of this” ideas. Makes great sense and wouldn’t cost a cent. Let’s just do it and make a lifelong friend of every parallel-parking-phobic driver in Westport.

  2. Chris Buckley

    Sounds like a great idea but I don’t think Main St. Is wide enough. Perhaps we just polish the rough granite.

    • Jens Buettner

      If you look at the vintage photograph you see the Main Street was two-way traffic plus cars parked on both sides. So there is definitely enough space.
      I would also suggest a small marked lane for bicycles on the opposite side. I know there no that many bicycles around yet, but from the optical point of view it slows down cars.

  3. Marcia Wright

    Angled parking is a fantastic idea.

  4. Bart Shuldman

    Is it not sad that the first and second reaction of the town employee was basically–we are not going to do anything-so ‘tough’. Slap in the face-He will not do anything to think about a solution that appears to be a real problem in Westport and from what we have read on 06880-in other towns.

    Would business do this? Would a business say to customers-my product is bad-but sorry-I will not doing anything to fix it?

    Westport spent a lot of money on those sidewalks, and the final phase turned into a debacle. Just horrible. Curbs that cut tires.

    But now someone has come up with what could be an easy solution. Someone took Some time and said–how can we fix the problem. Not like this town employee did by just saying no-someone thought about a solution. Care.

    Time for him to learn a real good lesson. Listen to the customer-don’t just say no–ask people for suggestions-and find a solution. Amazing how easy it can be and how productive and friendly the towns services he supplies can become.

    This also continues to prove the tremendous value of 06880. Dan-problems like these get discussed and not hidden or discarded. The residents (taxpayers) have a real voice. Thank you!!

  5. Michael Calise

    I believe Greenwich Avenue is much wider than Main Street and therefore has parking on both sides of the street

  6. Bobbie Herman

    Goody — then you can have so many more photos of people parking in ridiculous and selfish ways.

  7. Don Bergmann

    Angle parking along Main St. seems like something worth considering irrespective of the curb/tire issues. I believe the concept was NOT included in our excellent Downtown Master Plan, but, even though being involved in that Plan, I cannot recall why it was not included as a possibility. Most likely there were good reasons and the Co-Chairs of the Master Plan Committee, Melissa Kane or Dewey Loselle, could provide the answer, as could the The RBA Group people who generated much of the Plan. Having grown up in Maplewood NJ, I know how appealing angle parking can be. I believe Main St. is wide enough.
    Don Bergmann

  8. You’ve got my vote. Where do we sign up????? 😉

  9. Dan, are you doing a internet psychology test to see how people react?

    Gotta love the interwebs’ ability to provide frustrated people a way to thoughtlessly complain and blame.

    Before claiming how stupid others are and how great a solution is, did any one look at the picture of our Main Street to see that the idea of taking up more space is a non-starter (unless you want to get rid of a traffic lane)?

    Anyone actually use their own power of observation or thought about the situation before disparaging our town workers? Could it possibly be that other streets in CT are actually wider than our Main Street?

    Makes you want to “slap yourself in the forehead” at how far people are from thoughtful. – Chris Woods

  10. Jill Grayson

    I don’t know how many accidents we have on Main St but in Greenwich they have quite a few accidents daily. Don’t know if it is because “the Avenue” is on a hill but is something someone should investigate before we implement this idea on Main St. in Westport.

  11. Why is the Federal Gov’t. Involved in a local decision?

  12. Harris Falk

    The parking would be on the left side (west) of the street, to allow for the right turn onto Elm.