This Thursday (December 14, Town Hall, 7 p.m.), the Planning & Zoning Commission discusses a proposal for 12 homes on the former Daybreak Nursery property. Earlier today, “06880” described the project. Neighbor Bonnie Dubson opposes the idea. She writes:
Daybreak Nurseries is sited at a crossroads: the notoriously dangerous confluence of Main Street, Weston Road and Easton Road. It is the unavoidable cross-your-fingers blind merge, hope-for-the-best junction that is an unfortunate part of our daily commutes.
A plan has been proposed to develop the property, which is within spitting distance of the Merritt Parkway Exit 42 interchange. The specifics of the plan are not important here. Suffice it to say that the proposal has both proponents and detractors. But regardless of the details, this Westporter believes any proposal concerning the Daybreak property should be tabled until Westport and the Connecticut Department of Transportation remedy this dangerous intersection.
Over the years, plans have been floated to upgrade the intersections’ existing stop signs to traffic lights, or create a series of traffic circles, but not one of these measures has been implemented.
The time to act to mitigate this unsafe intersection is now.
Now is the time for a “Longshore moment” – such as in 1960, when the town’s leadership envisioned the future benefits of purchasing the private club and then opening it to the public.
While we will never get an 18-hole golf course out of the 2.18-acre lot, the former nursery presents a golden opportunity to re-envision and redesign the Exit 42 gateway into Westport.
We have a chance to repair a dysfunctional intersection and inject some much-needed green space into this corner of town.
Westport’s leadership can opt to be near-sighted and rubber-stamp this development for the short-term gain of bolstering the town’s coffers. Electing to do so is tempting, but this choice is riddled with unintended consequences:
Exacerbated traffic; an intersection that poses imminent danger to drivers and pedestrians; huge liabilities for the town because this imminent danger is actually avoidable.
An intersection makeover requires finagling, and working with state agencies. It will take a huge investment: time, money and patience.
Let’s ask ourselves: What is our shared vision for the future of Westport?
Mine is simple: I want to preserve the small-town character and integrity of Westport, and the safety of its residents. Voting to approve this development means that the Daybreak intersection may never be fixed. Once something is built there, the opportunity will lost.
Approving the development is tantamount to throwing our hands in the air and saying, “oh well, there is nothing that can be done.”
But I think our elected officials can rise to this challenge. They won’t duck and run when things get tricky.
“Daybreak” signals new beginnings and fresh starts. Daybreak is ready for an intersection do-over. Act now.