Traffic Grows; So Do Woes

Summertime usually means a decrease in Westport traffic.

Not this year.

Westporters have noticed a dramatic increase on the Post Road. The Compo Road light seems particularly bad, especially coming from downtown and on South Compo Road, from the beach. Others spots on US1 are also heavier than usual, this time of year.

But it’s also an issue on usually free-flowing side streets. An “06880” reader writes:

My child attends camp at Coleytown Elementary School. Given the current North Avenue bridge closure, this is a problem.

Remembering the traffic situation from last summer, when the bridge was also out, I leave my house (off South Compo) 15 minutes before the start of camp. However, the construction at North Compo and Main Street makes this worse this year.

At 8:50 a.m., the intersection of Cross Highway and Weston Road is completely blocked up with Merritt Parkway traffic. It’s nearly impossible to make the left turn onto Weston Road.

It takes another 10 minutes to get to the stop sign on Easton Road, a few yards away.

Returning home, it’s hard to use Easton Road because the traffic is backed up a good half-mile, so I go the other direction to Bayberry lane.

4:15 pm yesterday: Southbound on Easton Road, heading to the Weston Road/Merritt Parkway bottleneck. During morning rush hour, the scene is much worse.

4:15 pm yesterday: Southbound on Easton Road, heading to the Weston Road/Merritt Parkway bottleneck. During morning rush hour, the scene is much worse.

There should be a traffic cop at the Weston/Easton/Merritt intersection to ease traffic. I’ve seen cops on both Bayberry Lane and Easton Road with radar guns to catch speeders, instead of helping out at congested intersections.

Today (Tuesday) was the worst it’s been in a while. Post Road, Greens Farms Road and even my own side street were at a standstill.

It’s not just me complaining. Everyone I have spoken with who carpools kids to camp is at their wit’s end with the traffic situation.

I hope you understand that this is not just one Westport mom complaining. I’m trying to bring attention to a larger problem.

34 responses to “Traffic Grows; So Do Woes

  1. Joyce Barnhart

    I can think of a few ways around those tie-ups. I recommend getting a Fairfield County Atlas and studying it for alternative routes, including side streets that a GPS would never guide you to.
    One of the good things about carpools is the chance to overhear the kids’ conversations as they forget you’re there and talk freely about all kinds of things. Good luck

    • As someone who routinely utilizes backroads and alternative routes when traveling through Westport and Weston, I can tell you this no longer helps. The traffic has gotten so bad that everyone else is doing the same thing, which creates even more problems on lesser frequented roads not equipped for that volume. I agree with this “06880” reader.

      Yesterday, it took me over 15 minutes to get from the stop sign at Roseville/Cross Highway to the Weston Road/Easton Road/Main Street intersection.

      • Petra Krause

        Tyler’s point is important and accurate. “Secret” backroads no longer exist as traffic apps send commuters through our residential streets every day. I personally live on one such cut through and thru traffic has multiplied in recent years. Out-of-town cars race down my road, barely slowing down for speed bumps or stop signs. Contractors zoom through with their heavy vehicles Mon thru Sat, pulling trailers. We’ve had several close calls and I no longer let my kids ride their bikes on the road alone. When we go for walks we end up on our neighbors’ lawns as there are no sidewalks. This is not a “bubble” issue … this is a safety issue.

  2. Yes–the traffic is actually the worst I’ve ever seen it in my 17 years here in Westport because traffic back ups are happening all times of the day, not just rush hour or lunch time, and happening on previously quiet roads
    . It is bizarre. I really can’t figure it out.

  3. Ronnie Hammer

    The traffic light on the post road and kings highway south does not work properly at timesSometimes the directional signal to turn left onto kings highway south works and sometimes this directional signal does not work. Cars back up waiting to turn and take chances despite traffic coming in opposite direction to make that left turn onto Kingshighway south   This problem needs to be addressed and corrected. As a senior. It is most difficult for me to rush that turn. Not safe. I live off Kingshighway south on Rivard CrescentAl DeLardi

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  4. Kimball Woodward

    Traffic around the train station and the Bridge Street Bridge are also the worst in many years. Saugatuck now has busy stores and restaurants. This will probably worsen with the Railroad Parking construction work. Police officers never seem to direct traffic early or late in the commute.

  5. Merri Mueller

    I totally agree!!!! Driving around town has been s nightmare!

  6. Jennifer Mehok

    My children attend the same camp and we leave a half-hour prior to the start time just to get from the cross section of Rayfield Road/Post Road to make it in the nick of time

  7. Jacques Voris

    Traffic has been getting worse for a while. Myrtle avenue is always backed up past Evergreen it seems

  8. Carol Lupo-Simek

    And what will we be facing when the downtown development project is complete?

  9. This morning, AFTER 9:00 a.m., 90-plus cars counted on Easton Road, headed westbound, waiting to get through the *blinking* red light intersection!

  10. This traffic dilemma is just the beginning. The state DOT has big plans for spending money (they don’t have) and creating traffic congestion.The North Avenue Bridge fiasco is an indication of what happens when the DOT comes to help. They have the Cribari bridge in their sights; Saugatuck will drown in traffic.

  11. Sally Campbell Palmer

    The town continues to ok more and more dense housing, which along with a couple of the 830g projects coming up for review, is going to add to traffic congestion and stress on all infrastructure. If we can’t get a grip on some of this expansion, Westport will change forever.

  12. One of the target areas of trouble is the intersection of purgatory at 57/Main/Weston Road. Closure of North Ave has made that place a nightmare and the trickle down extends for at least a .5 miles radius. This area would be well served with an officer to move cars through the stop signs.

  13. It’s not just the traffic. It’s the drivers. It’s the entitlement and incivility of Westport drivers. We just came back from Maine where, and this was hard to believe, when drivers saw a pedestrian crossing the street, they stopped. Unlike Westport, the did not try to beat us for the right away, or make a turn so they would not miss a green light coming out of a parking area. The other day, with sirens blaring, I saw two cars rush in front of oncoming police and fire vehicles. This town has lost its sense of who we are as fellow residents and it’s sad.

  14. David Loffredo

    Westport has become a major financial center, since our population remains relatively stable my bet is that it’s people going to work. Wikipedia says we employ 7171 in the financial sector in town – not sure how accurate that is but that’s a lot and given Bridgewater’s commitments will only grow over time.

  15. Bobbie Herman

    It seems that during the warm weather, every road in Fairfield County is being repaired or reconstructed. One of the worst is the area surrounding the widening of North Compo where it leads into Clinton Avenue. In addition to the chaos of the road widening, some brainiac decided to repave Cross Highway around the intersection.. There are orange cones everywhere and total gridlock, any time of the day. No matter which route you take to go anywhere, you have to allow yourself at least twice as much time.

  16. BEATUS, CARYL

    YESTERDAY AT 9:00am IT TOOK ME A HALF-HOUR TO DRIVE FROM THE SHERWOOD ISLAND CONNECTOR ON GREENS FARM ROAD TO SOUTH COMPO, AND THIS WAS WITHOUT SCHOOL BUSES. HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO CORRECT THE PROBLEM OTHER THAN “POLICING” THE TRAFFIC AT EVERY LIGHT AND INTERSECTION . . .YEARS AGO THERE WAS SOME SORT OF TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER ON SAUGATUCK AVENUE (RT 136). .I THINK IT WAS CALLED THE ENO FOUNDATION. IF IT STILL EXISTS PERHAPS THEY, OR SOME OTHER SIMILAR ORGANIZATION COULD HELP SOLVE WESTPORTS TRAFFIC PROBLEMS

  17. Phil Perlah

    Trip to work today: Left house 8:00 AM. Set cruise control to 65 (speed limit). Arrived office at 8:50 (total of 45 miles with some local streets at each end). Vermont!

  18. Dennis Wong

    Is there trouble in the bubble?

  19. Wendy Batteau

    Current traffic problems are particularly awful – so much roadwork in so many places, just at the time we have many summer visitors who aren’t familiar with our roads. But our traffic problems have been escalating over the past few years. Four large schools on North Avenue; four houses of worship and their associated pre-schools in the Coleytown area, Merritt 42,
    several intersections known to be among the worst in town, Bridgewater, and more are not the only contributors to the problem. Westport has done wonderful study of the downtown area, but our neighborhoods need attention (including traffic studies and possible remediation plans). I hope this 06880 conversation will generate more awareness and action.

  20. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    See life outside the bubble.

  21. Michele Blanchard

    As another mom – a Westport native- who needs to travel across town (i.e. cross the river) to my son’s camp, Earthplace, I have been equally stunned, frustrated and appalled at the increase of traffic and congestion of our once quaint town.
    From the Hillspont road environs it has become nearly impossible to navigate Greens Farms-Bridge Street to cross on Peter’s bridge. Upon attempt to cross on downtown bridge (now Ruth Steinkraus bridge) Post road is a parking lot… the only other choice is the far bridge by the willows (which remains nameless?) Main Street traffic & construction has brought this route to a near standstill!
    It took me an entire historic record of 55 minutes to cross town which would normally be tops 15 minutes!
    I yearn for “the olden days” when I as a dominos pizza driver could get anywhere in town (if you knew the side streets )in a record 6 minutes!!! What’s going on and what is to be done? Add another crossing point?

    • Jerry MacDaid

      I’ve experienced the same thing. Must be all the Moms driving their kids to camp that are causing all the delays which do seem worse now that school is out.

      The proposed repair/replacement of the Cribari bridge by the CT DOT would probably help but seemingly the vast majority of vocal Westporters prefer maintaining the “traffic quieting” (aka choke point) existing bridge. A new crossing would have to go through some residential neighborhood which would be both costly and vehemently opposed by the neighbors so that’s not happening.

      So we are left with enjoying the quaint beauty of Westport and the Cribari bridge as we slowly work our way through town.

  22. Dick Lowenstein

    I am not going to reveal my shortcuts, because then they won’t be shortcuts anymore. 🙂 But let me say a word about drivers. I live on Greens Farms Road and backing out of my driveway takes forever in the morning, as cars rush by at more than the posted speed limit. And, boy are they impatient; two days ago I was passed on a double yellow line by a driver who then had to slow down be because of the cars now in front of him. Westporters? Just as likely to be from Fairfield and beyond.

  23. Naomi Weingart

    I think the powers that be really need to explore a redesign of the traffic flow near the old Daybreak nursery. This intersection is a nightmare and it is not very intuitive to navigate. Can someone please take a look at this situation???

    • Dick Lowenstein

      How about a rotary, a.k.a., a roundabout?

      • Naomi Weingart

        Dick, I think a roundabout, rotary, traffic circle is an excellent idea. How can we make it happen??

        • Jerry MacDaid

          The problem with a rotary is you need relatively free flowing traffic egress in all directions. The stoplight at the entrance to the Merritt would be too close and would likely cause traffic to back up into the rotary bringing all traffic to a grinding halt including left turning traffic off the Merritt probably resulting in gridlock.

          • Dick Lowenstein

            Eliminste the light and replace with two rotaries? Problem is Wassell Lane. Could the state use the Daybreak property? We’re not going to solve the problem here, but an engineering study might be worth doing.

  24. Dick Lowenstein

    A rotary/roundabout?

  25. Virginia Tienken

    As the saying goes “You can’t get there from here”. That’s Westport these days. Too many cars for the roads to handle.

  26. Audrey Rabinowitz

    I live near the intersection of Easton and Weston Roads, not far from the Merritt by exit 42. And since I always check CT DOT (for traffic incidents) before I venture out to decide what route is best to take even around town, one thing that I’ve noticed is that if there is an accident or road work on I-95 during morning rush hour or at any time of day, the traffic backs up and becomes more congested at Easton and Weston Roads by cars trying to avoid I-95. Or if there is an accident or road work on the Merritt before Westport, cars will us the backroads to get to exit 42, And the closing of North Ave just adds to the mess.
    Regarding a traffic circle for that area, I believe that possibility was suggested a few years ago to someone in our local government, but it was felt that it would not solve the problem, and perhaps make it worse.
    Also, from what I’ve seen at other parts of town, a police person directing traffic for this area would not help to ease the congestion or flow of traffic.

  27. Adam Schwartz '75

    I completely missed this post back in July. I’m in Los Angeles so I have to laugh a little when discussing traffic. I suggest you try Waze, purchased by Google a few years ago from a 17 year old Israeli kid for something like $2B. I’ve been using it for years and swear by it. They released something cool a few months ago where you can input the address or location you plan on driving to, say in the morning. The night before you enter the time to want to arrive and when you wake up, you check it out and it will tell you what time you should depart in order to arrive on-time. I’ve only tried it once and it worked like a charm. I’d be interested to know how it works in a rural area like Westport.