It’s ironic: Though no one in Westport stops at stop signs, they were invented by a Westporter.
So were pedestrian crosswalks, traffic circles, 1-way streets, taxi stands and pedestrian safety islands.
All were the brainchild of William Phelps Eno. And for many years, his worldwide traffic institute was headquartered on Saugatuck Avenue.
We pass by the handsome, 11,000-square foot brick and stone 1938 building near the Norwalk line without knowing its history.
That history came quite close to being obliterated — much like pedestrians were, before Eno came along.
The building and land were on the market. LandTech — Pete Romano’s engineering and design firm situated 2 minutes away (without traffic) on Riverside Avenue — designed a standard suburban use of the land. Their plan knocked down the Eno building, and subdivided the 4+ acres of land into 4 contorted 1-acre lots, with less than half an acre of open space.
But then they applied the open space subdivision regulations. That gave them 3 lots of 1/2 acre each — perfect for homes of 3,000 square feet, designed for empty nesters.
Using a section of the Planning & Zoning regulations for historic structures — offering relief from coverage, setbacks and non-conformities — LandTech preserved the Eno building on a full acre lot, with nearly 1.5 acres of open space.
On Thursday night, the P&Z considered the plan. After hearing comments from commissioners, approval seems likely.
Let’s hope they give it the green light.