Westport’s 1st $10 Parking Lot Is Open For Business

Everybody’s talking about how much to charge for Compo Beach parking.

Fortunately, with two exceptions — the Saugatuck and Green’s Farms train stations — every other parking spot in Westport has been free.

Until now.

Last night I went to The ‘Port. Between that popular new restaurant and Bartaco, there’s now a great lively scene on the west bank of the Saugatuck River.

Sure, parking in the closest lot is tight. With the removal of some spots from behind the old Save the Children building, it’s tougher.

Of course, there’s always been the 3-level parking deck, a few steps away across Wilton Road.

Spots are also available next to the deck, by the office building at 11 Wilton Road. A semi-hidden sign warns “Reserved Parking 24 hours a day/7 days a week/Violators will be towed at Vehicle Owner’s expense.”

That deters most drivers. They simply head into the adjacent garage.

But tonight a teenage boy stopped everyone who entered. He charged $10 to park in the “reserved” lot.

And the lower level of the parking deck was chained shut.

He told drivers they could use the top levels of the deck — though they quickly filled up.

He said his father owned the reserved lot. He added that the lower level of the parking deck was “always” reserved.

I found one of the last remaining spots on the upper deck.

The Wilton Road parking deck. The private lot at 11 Wilton Road is on the left.

I had a fine meal (salmon, brussels sprouts) at The ‘Port.

When I headed back to my car, the kid was gone. The chain to the lower level was gone too.

It’s one thing to close off a private lot — cheesy, but legal. A Church Lane landlord next to Spotted Horse has done that for a while.

But charging 10 bucks for a spot in an unused lot — well, let’s just say that’s not the way we do things in the ‘port.

12 responses to “Westport’s 1st $10 Parking Lot Is Open For Business

  1. Susan Iseman

    I wonder if it was really his father’s lot…..?

  2. Melissa Augeri

    Thanks so much Dan. Just want to make it clear for all of ‘06880 nation’ that last night’s charge at this private, reserved lot is not associated with The ‘Port or our neighbors at bartaco. Happy you found a spot in the parking garage!

    The 2nd and 3rd floors of the garage are always available via the entrance on the north side of Wilton Road, and the spots in the closer lot are available every evening after 6pm and from 6pm Friday until 7am Monday mornings each weekend, first come, first served.
    Have a good weekend. – Melissa & Sal Augeri

  3. Geez. My dad built that parking lot decades ago in hopes and dreams of renewing the “West” Port of River — and Free access for all Westporters. He put a lot of soul into that. We love the restaurants/stores there and wish them all success. Years of our family tour business at 11 Wilton Road (1971) led to a desire to upgrade the entire area with greater public areas. We’ve moved on – but support the new plans and to see more people come and enjoy, the peaceful side of the River . The lot was empty for many years…can’t believe it’s almost “full”. That’s great — keep coming by.

    • What Robin didn’t mention is that the Tauck family was also involved in the restoration of National Hall — Westport’s historic and very important building that had fallen into disrepair when Fairfield Furniture left. Today The ‘Port restaurant occupies the ground floor of that handsome building. The old-fashioned street lights there, and on the nearby bridge, are also courtesy of the Taucks.

  4. Sounds like an enterprising teenager making some money for the night 😉

  5. Julia Mombello

    Wow! I agree with Susan. Who was that boy? Can you do some further investigation, find out who owns the lot and get a comment from him? I would like to know if he really plans to charge $10 to park there as well as block off the lower level which is clearly not used in the evenings when parking spots are needed. It’s been so exciting to watch the revitalization of the west side of the river – I would hate to see someone taking advantage of that!

  6. Michael Calise

    Norwalk is worse they allow you to park in private lots and then a roving band of parking enforcers put a boot on your car and demand 40-50 dollars to remove it, Endorsed by the property owners and considered legal.

  7. Joanne Romano-Csonka

    I understand it was a one time occurrence. It’s a shame when you put all you have into an establishment only to realize obstacles are preventing your success. The Port has great food and atmosphere but if you can’t find parking you won’t get to try it. Hopefully this young man and whoever authorized this have seen the err of their ways and realize the hardship this could and would cause to these restaurants.

  8. Chip Stephens

    When the P and Z approved the original dining facility, where the Port now exists, we did foresee the current mess parking would be once “Save the Children” (Famous Artists) was developed. At the time there was another dining spot in the old firehouse too. The deal struck was there would be valet parking made available by the Port’s predecessor, and I believe this should have been for the successor also. This would allow for more dense parking upstairs at the garage with double parking done by the valet.
    Sadly not all our rules and requirements are enforced and so here we are with full blown construction not even begun, with another restaurant likely to open…
    To paraphrase the words of the developers’ consultants for many locations like this at 33 and US 1 “There is no traffic or parking issue here and ours will not make it worse….
    And so it goes

  9. Joshua Stien

    I would’ve asked a last name. Can do a quick search on the assessor’s data online to see if it matched up…

  10. Irene Mastriacovo

    park on the other side of the river … It’s only a 60 second walk.