Another Day. Another I-95 Accident. Another Nightmare On The Roads Of Westport.

Why is this morning different from all other mornings?

It isn’t.

An accident in Darien — Darien! — caused commuters to abandon I-95 (and the alternate Merritt Parkway route).

Backups spilled all the way to Westport. Jammed-up local streets included the Post Road, Greens Farms Road, Bridge Street, Riverside Avenue, Wilton Road, Coleytown Road, Main Street, even Parker Harding Plaza.

First selectman candidates are welcome to click “Comments” below, and let us know what — if anything — you think can be done to address this near-daily situation.

Backed-up westbound traffic on the Post Road, a few minutes ago. (Photo/Chip Stephens)

52 responses to “Another Day. Another I-95 Accident. Another Nightmare On The Roads Of Westport.

  1. Chip Stephens SHS '73

    ALL CANDIDATES !
    Weigh in all. Land Use, RTM, and Selectperson candidates don’t restate or agree there is a problem, give SOLUTION suggestions. They are there…….

  2. First thing first: It has become WAY too damn easy to get a license in this country, particularly, as it seems, in Connecticut and Florida. Driving appears to have become a ‘right” an not a “privilege”. Until the powers that be recognize that obtaining a license to drive should not be an inevitable event in one’s life, this will never change.

    • Yes, this! It’s also become something approached with the skill and care of, say, operating a toaster oven. People need to put their phones down and operate the vehicle, and know how to handle it when something happens. The volume of cars won’t decrease, and the capacity of the roads isn’t going to increase, so we need to be able to operate them skillfully.

  3. Also Silver Brook Road. One driver said there was also an accident on the Merritt.

  4. I can tell you one thing, this is not a problem in The Netherlands. Having just returned from 3 weeks in Amsterdam and Paris, traffic congestion in The Netherlands is virtually non-existent because people use the very advanced and sophisticated railway system to get from place to place. People do have cars but they are small and efficient. It is easier to get on the train than it is to get in a car. The Dutch use bikes, trams, and trains to get around and their economy has benefitted from their use of public transportation. To challenge our First Selectmen candidates to solve the unsolvable problem of congestion from I-95 is quite unfair, Dan. It’s an American problem, not just a Westport problem.

  5. Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

    Some thoughts:
    1) ask the powers in charge who planed all the highways from past to present day
    2) I thought car pooling worked for a time
    3) why don’t trains and buses work for the commuter
    4) the population in surrounding towns is a BOOM
    5) you think it’s bad now wait until the Casino comes to Steel Point Bridgeport, CT
    6) I guess Americans just like their freedom to come and go at their own time
    Best,
    Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

    • Americans will suffocate from their freedom to drive these horrible huge SUV’s that remain idling at the schools while parents wait to pick up their small children. The SUV’S are an outward symptom of a deep-seated sickness in our society.

    • Not to mention the shopping mall going into Norwalk at exit 15 on 95.

  6. Raymond Abramson

    All back roads in Westport are now overrun. Partrick/Old Hill/Stony Brook are treated as direct short cuts from the Parkway. All the downtown streets are overrun and jammed up. Waze and Google Maps are significantly contributing to the mess since they calculate time saved by seconds, offering up alternative routes that are inappropriate for the volume of traffic.

    We are not helpless though. There are ways to fight back against the apps driving traffic into our side roads.

    If Police set up posts blocking off the side roads to all but local traffic, it would temporarily make the main roads worse, but Waze and Google Maps would soon stop sending cars our way since their algorithms would no longer show a time advantage to getting off the highways in Westport.

    I’d suggest Town officials reach out to Google and Waze as this is a much larger issue than just our town, but enough municipalities have to reach out and complain, so Google and Waze will change their algorithms.

    They do accept feedback and can tweak their algorithms.

    • David J. Loffredo

      It’s not just Google and Waze, my car GPS does it automatically as does yours and everyone else’s if you click the box that asks it to adjust based on real time traffic conditions.

      You can’t block public roads to resident only access – this isn’t Compo Beach….

    • 100% agree with Raymond. There are mechanisms in these apps to designate roadways as open only to local traffic so that we will not be a “cut-thru” town. But it takes local officials leading the charge on these conversations in order for change to occur. I am shocked by how crummy the Connecticut economy and Westport real estate markets are yet our traffic is getting worse, which is usually a result of an improving economy; not a failing one!

    • Carol Buffinton

      I agree that WAZE and Google are creating neighborhood traffic nightmares.
      They should be contacted!

  7. I was stuck in this disaster too and it was miserable. But I read an article saying there were highway closing accidents in the 6am hour on both I-95 & the Merritt. So I’m filing this one under the heading of Stuff Happens.

  8. I have noticed that when there’s a traffic officer at Bridge St & Riverside Ave, vehicles move through a bit faster. At many other intersections, numerous drivers speed through red lights, green turn only lights and of course, stop signs. This causes the opposing traffic to sit and stew, or get caught in the middle of intersections. Couple that with commuter traffic pouring off the highways, and there you have it. Does anyone think traffic officers could alleviate some of this at these times? I can think of at least 3 other intersection where this might be helpful- all along the Post Road in town. If this isn’t possible because they are “state roads” and the state can’t offer immediate solutions, shouldn’t the our local traffic enforcement get involved?

  9. This is a great example of consequences of “solutions.”

    In the 50s and 60s, when our sections of i-95 were built, it was designed with a large number of exits – far greater than other highways. The idea was to justify its construction – to ease traffic on Post Road US 1, even if going only a short distance. The State had to actually guarantee exits for each town to also justify going through dense areas instead of looping around them. This highway and exit system helped lead the economic boom of Fairfield County, making it accessible to New York City.

    These exits are now the ones being used by Waze and Google (Google acquired Waze four years ago in 2013). We are being affected because the exits are so close to each other, sometimes even just one mile away. If the systems detect a 5-10 minute time saving, the algorithms will send them our way. We take the good with the bad. Imagine giving up exit 17 or exit 18 – we ourselves rely on these exits.

    The comments above and other ideas we have heard are spot on. We need better trains that go faster, more often, and with more capacity (e.g., double decks like elsewhere). Choke points on i-95 must be improved. A car-pool lane during rush hour should be implemented to encourage car pooling. Police should be notified of accidents in other towns that can drive traffic to our roads so they can divert officers to those intersections (although improving that flow may automatically divert even more cars to our roads).

  10. wexactly is that section of the post road with a grass divder ??????????

  11. Spencer Friedman

    As a cyclist I’m shocked that more people don’t use a bicycle to get to the train station. I’m going to take a wild guess, but based on the size of Westport I would bet that more than half of all commuters are within 4 miles of Greens Farms or Saugatuck. There are now electric assisted bikes that go up to 20mph and keep you from breaking a sweat if that’s what people are worried about. Perhaps Westport should consider more bike paths, covered and secure bicycle parking at both train stations and since Westport subsidizes electric cars with FREE charging AND preferential parking maybe Westport can subsidize cyclists? Lastly, Westport prides itself on being “Green” but only when it’s convenient and easy.

  12. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    You guys are like hounds baying at the moon.
    1. Work virtual.
    2. Accelerate robotization to eliminate your job.
    3. Stay at a company long enough maximize vacation time and you’ll eliminate 1/5th of your problem.
    4. Realize that you’re your own worst enemy because most of the problems in Westport are caused by urban sprawl (which you created) when you moved from the city..
    5. Restore Westport’s original purpose: Onion farming, artists colony (artists and Dan Woog have been virtual since before it was popular) and vacation destination.
    Bottom-line: You have no one to blame but yourselves.

  13. I agree with Spencer Friedman–it’s common sense that in a town with such a huge cycling population that we make this an easy and viable option to help commuters (and also protect the cyclists that regularly use our roads for recreation as well). My husband purchased an electric bike for just this purpose, and it works really well. While this won’t solve all of the issues raised here, it would certainly be one of the more immediate solutions to hand, and help streamline the commute for some Westport residents.

  14. This is almost comical. The STATE highways have accidents and people take Westport roads to get to their destination. Who would have thunk?

    CT is broke and there is no money to improve trains or expand the highways. The state uses gasoline taxes for the transportation fund and more and more people are buying electric cars. Transportation fund is also going broke.

    Jim or Melissa are being asked for a solution? They have political differences but how can they solve this STATE problem? Stop cars from exiting the highways? Come on. I might disagree with Melissa’s policies but it is wrong to think she can offer a realistic solution. I support Jim but again it is wrong to think he can suggest a realistic solution.

    Well maybe they can both say FIX THE PROBLEM in CT and solve the budget crisis in CT so there will be money for transportation. Other than that??

    • always with the “broke” screed Bartman. get a grip

      • Andy. Any time you want to prove me wrong about the State of CT-please do. I am open to learn from your analysis regarding the state financial situation. In the meantime I will continue my work on the Fiscal ImpaCT of the budget crisis in times like CT roads and bridges.

        I would also be glad to meet with you and show you the details regarding the budget crisis. Maybe if you see the stats you might change your mind and then help promote the structural changes needed in CT.

        Let me know.

      • always with the glad to meet you. enough!

  15. I lived in the northern part of the state many moons ago, and took an express bus from a suburb to downtown Hartford every day. The commuter lot was right off the highway, and was sizable. Does such a bus service to Stamford exist for Westport commuters today? If not, could the Sherwood Island Beach parking lot be used as a commuter lot from Labor Day – June 15 (mirroring the school calendar), where buses take commuters to various points in Stamford and then return them to the lot in the evening? The buses must have the benefit of using the car pool lane that Avi Kaner suggested.

    • It is baffling that the state doesn’t have better bus service, or at least make a good effort to see if that will help the problem. The bus service very limited and completely unreliable in this area, making it impossible tor a person to depend on.

      Over the years I have employed people who traveled by bus from Norwalk or Bridgeport to Westport, and at least half the time, they would be an hour late in one direction or another.

      That there doesn’t seem to be any attempt at a reliable bus commuter system given how bad traffic is, shows just how bankrupt our state is. – Chris Woods

  16. There were 2 accidents this morning on 95 and Merritt, all lanes of traffic shut down on 95 south-bound for about an hour at one point. I commute to Darien every day and today was the WORST I have ever seen it with Westport and Norwalk back roads completely jammed, even Rowayton back roads which are usually pretty quiet when other roads are busy were a parking lot. Unfortunately s#@* happens sometimes, don’t see how anyone can “solve” this problem when 95 gets shut down at the start of rush hour.

  17. Sally Campbell Palmer

    I was stuck in the traffic on the Post Road this morning and wondered how in the world fire trucks would maneuver around it. Was looking for “escape routes” all the way home.

  18. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Since the majority of accidents are caused by human error, perhaps the adoption of self driving cars will help as they become feasible..

  19. Dan-lots if problems alt the same time.

    The Merritt is closed on the northbound side between Exits 31 and 33 because of tractor-trailer accident, the state Department of Transportation said.

    The tractor-trailer was involved in a crash with a vehicle at about 6:20 a.m., DOT said.

    State police said there are life-threatening injuries in the accident. Greenwich police said the parkway would be closed for several more hours.

    Traffic delays were reported in both directions on North Street, with cars exiting the Merritt.

    Tractor-trailers are prohibited from traveling on the parkway.

    It was not clear when the accident scene would be finally cleared.

    And I-95 southbound reopened after it was closed for over an hour in Norwalk after a multi-vehicle crash, DOT said.

    The crash on I-95 southbound between Exits 14 and 13 occurred at about 6:30 a.m. All lanes were closed for about an hour. The left and right lanes were still closed at 7:50 a.m., DOT said, but were reopened by 8 a.m.

  20. Expand 95 with extra lanes and lower level on bridge

    • I’m not sure that expanding 95 is a possibility since it runs through densely populated areas and environmentally sensitive areas.

      • David J. Loffredo

        No chance they expand it, you can’t even commandeer the break down lane because then what do emergency vehicles do? And there are a lot of emergencies….

  21. Shelly and Len Sherman

    Am I the only one that is frustrated that I have not seen any of the candidates for first selectman weigh in on their thoughts about these issues?

  22. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Here’s something Westporters can really gripe about. Et tu Brute!!!! Let the traffic jams begin. Just NIMBY.
    http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v3/comments/westporters_promote_fairfield_county_for_business/

    • Just wait until the mall is built. From what I am told, the only mall that is being built in the USA, is the one in Norwalk. Weekend traffic is going to difficult at best. And any chance to get infrustructure improvements in non existent. No money.

      Has anyone seen a report that details the amount of people that will be going to this mall? Is there any studies that was used to support building a mall when others around the US are being shut down? Is an Apple Store going in?

      We have not seen the worst. Unfortunately and unfortunately not much could have been done to stop it. No matter what side of the isle anyone is on.

  23. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Higher taxes/lower sprawl or lower taxes/higher sprawl? GE(E) I wonder where it all got started. Answer: Neutron Jack – before he neutrons you. We bring good things to (suburban) life. Pave paradise put up a parking lot(on I-95 and the Merritt.

  24. Eric seems the only one with an ACCURATE perspective.
    We created the problem….get over it!

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