3.454 M: The Sequel

On Monday, I posted a photo of a mysterious sign.

It read “3.454 M,” underneath another one warning of an 11’8″ railroad underpass on South Compo Road.

Alert reader Peter Flatow got the answer — and a promise — from Public Works director Steve Edwards:

Actually we have 4 such signs on our low underpasses. They were installed under the Diane Farrell administration. The signs were given to us by the Department of Transportation under a metric conversion initiative. We never bothered to check the conversion. [“06880″ NOTE: 3.454 meters is less than 11’4″ — a far cry from 11’8”, though at least it’s an error in the “right” direction for a truck driver carrying a high load.]

Good catch by an astute resident. Since the initiative failed miserably, all the metric signs will be removed.

That’s why we love Steve Edwards. But his response got me thinking: There are other signs in town that can be removed too.

Here are a few:

“School Bus Stop Ahead.” There’s one on Wilton Road, and others all around town. Come on — wherever you drive in Westport, there’s always a school bus stop ahead. And if you fail to see a big yellow vehicle with flashing red lights, you probably shouldn’t be driving anyway.

Oh my God! What is that? What should I do?!

“Blind Child At Play.” I’m paraphrasing here, but there’s something like this on South Compo, between Greens Farms and the Post Road. Perhaps it was useful once, but it’s been there for several decades. That “child” is probably now a grandparent. And no disrespect meant, but I’m sure that back in the day, the blind child didn’t play in the road.

I’m sure every “06880” reader has his or her “favorite” signs that they’d like Steve Edwards’ crew to remove.

What’s yours? Click “Comments” below.

24 responses to “3.454 M: The Sequel

  1. Ernest Lorimer

    The School Bus Stop Ahead sign is a “should” in the MUTCD where there isn’t an adequate sight line–or an ability to relocate the bus stop. Course, every driveway is a bus stop here.

  2. I’m with you on the Blind Child sign on South Compo, though a long time ago, probably 20 years, a girl around 3 or 4 ran into the road in front of my car. I stopped quickly, someone pulled her away, and I continued. I’ve always thought that must have been the blind child. The sign I hate is the huge stop sign on Clinton/Ford. It appeared suddenly 5 or 6 years ago. In general I find the signs saying “slow, children at play” in some version ridiculous. I have barely seen a child playing outside in the last 10 years, and certainly not in the street!

  3. Steve Edwards is outstanding. We are so fortunate to have had him in charge of Public Works for over 25 years. I hope he will stay for another 25.
    There were two big orange signs that were left up by the State DOT on North Avenue warning of construction ahead several months after the work on the Merritt bridge was completed. I sent Steve an e-mail. The signs soon disappeared. Same with pot holes.

    Pete Wolgast

  4. Virginia Tienken

    My gripe is not signs but fire hydrants in Westport. They are a disgrace. Why are they not painted? Norwalk and Fairfields look great.The commander of the VFW asked to be able to paint the hydrant in front of the VFW red, white and blue and was told he couldn’t do it. Why? It would certainly be an improvement.

    • Colors on fire hydrants are meant to indicate the amount of water available in GPM (gallons per minute).

  5. Glad you brought this up. I’m hoping your readers will fill out a list of all the places in Westport where the signage is blocked by overgrown bushes and tree limbs. I’m often surprised by “hidden” stop signs and direction signs “invisible” until you are on top of them. Shouldn’t there be a ordinance to the minimum distance a stop sign must be visible? Some are plainly dangerous and contribute to the accidents. I’ll cite the first example; north bound stop sign on Bayberry @ Cross Hwy. Many accidents there. How about it readers can you help me make a list we can send to town hall to help them out?

    • Ernest Lorimer

      My peeve is the shrubbery at the exit from the beach. In a normal sedan it blocks the view to the left; you can’t see someone coming from the left and passing the beach entrance.

  6. Michael Calise

    You have hit a nerve here Dan. We have a proliferation of signs, some having outlived their usefulness and others which are unnecessary. I believe part of the problem is that some roads are state controlled. A few years back the Recreation Commission designed and installed new signs which for the most part are readable and attractive. Recently an expensive and unnecessary study was proposed which thankfully was turned down. We have a very competent public works crew that if given the authority and direction could resolve all of this in very short order. In these days of “study experts” everywhere it seems very easy to lose sight of the very people within our community, town employees and citizens alike who can do a masterful job the “old fashioned way”!

  7. Jacques Voris

    The sign on South Compo is for a “Blind Pedestrian Area”, no mention of age.

  8. The signs that amuse me are the ones that say “Caution: Hidden Driveway Ahead.” When I was ten years old I said to my mother one day “they should put a sign IN the driveway and it should say ‘Hidden Road Ahead.'”

  9. I want to comment on a sign that has been removed from a large tree that is growing ON Sturges Hwy between Cross Hwy and Meeker. The sign as I remember it a year or two ago was an announcement that the tree will be removed (it’s huge, the asphalt roadway goes around it) The sign is gone but a colorful ribbon remains on the tree. You can’t miss it since the last car that side swiped it removed a lot of the lower bark on the tree.(happy to send you a picture). My question is when will they remove the tree, it might save a life.

  10. Speaking of signs, I do not enjoy the ones contractors et. al. stick in the ground at intersections, or nail to electric poles. Most Westporters are classy enough to remove tag sale signs, but some of these masons, mosquito sprayers, and snow-removal folks get years of free advertising at the expense of our eyeballs.

  11. Shari Goldstein

    No disrespect? That child is now in his 20’s. I’m sure he played outside. I do not know if the family still lives there. Please don’t assume anything about children with special needs.

  12. South Compo is a State of CT road, and the Blind Pedestrian sign was installed for us by the state at the time several years ago that our blind son was crossing this busy road (age 10?) to board his school bus. I think we can probably all agree that neither a white cane nor a stopped school bus might be enough to get a driver’s attention, especially one who’s rushing to make a train or get their child to school on time as is so often the case on Compo, and the signs were a welcome addition. We’ve never asked for the signs to be removed because our son still visits us, and as this is one of the lucky areas in town to have sidewalks (although they are in terrible shape — a topic for another day), he could still be crossing the road to access the sidewalk and use it to get somewhere on his own (an ability most of us take for granted). It may seem counter-intuitive for the parents of a blind child to choose a busy road in the first place, but sidewalks are typically the most accessible manner for blind people to safely, independently ambulate. And there are very few residential areas in town with sidewalks that actually take you somewhere you might want to go. Additionally, the traffic volume and noise on a busy street can actually be helpful in mobility, as you can hear when the road is safe to cross.

  13. I always wondered what was intended by the signs “SLOW CHILDREN PLAYING”.

  14. Anyone remember the flood height measuring sticks that went up 10+ years ago in Saugatuck Shores and Compo? Are they still around? They were designed by someone who lived far from salt water, and were calibrated to the “mean water level”. Everyone who looks at tide charts and flood levels knows that these are referenced to “mean low tide” – a 3-4 foot difference. Many of those sign posts were adjusted by the people who lived near them.

  15. Bonnie Bradley

    Excellent comment from Mike Calise, especially the last sentence.

    So much has changed in Westport since I left 18 years ago. Recently, on Long Lots Rd. I suddenly and unknowingly went right through a stop sign
    which I had not seen or expected. Thankfully, I was going slowly and there was no other traffic, but I was distressed by what happened.
    So – I can’t resist telling this story: when I got my license (many years ago!) my father, the lawyer, who spent many years representing the Hartford and Aetna insurance companies, gave me only three pieces of advice:
    1: ALWAYS stop at a Stop Sign. 2. Always stay to the Right.
    3. Always hit the animal. Since he was a very smart man, I have loyally followed his advice. Thus my distress at my failure to stop!

    And, kudos to Jennifer Robson for her relevant, smart and beautifully written comment. She certainly deserves our support and respect.

  16. Be thankful that the signage is not bilingual.
    Maybe consider installing Vienna Convention road signs. Seriously.

  17. Louise W. Demakis

    Double kudos to Jenny. Maybe we need a feature about that sign. Not everyone reads the Comments.

  18. My pet peeve: the signs that say “Welcome to Westport. Slow Down. We Enforce our Laws.” 1) It’s not “welcoming 2)What driver would pay attention to that?3) They are now old and faded and barely legible. Time for some attractive, more friendly signs.

  19. Bobbi Essagof

    I am thrilled that Jenny spoke up as I think of her when I see the sign and hope that it kept Sam safe in a dangerous crossing spot.
    I happen to live on a road that has a 4 way stop with only 3 signs since one road is private. I always warned my kids that these are “special” signs where the OP stands for optional. I’ve even watched school busses fly through this intersection.

  20. Here are a lot of signs I see in store windows around town: For Rent

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