Wrong Way, Myrtle!

At first glance, there’s nothing wrong with this photo:

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

But look closely. The car is cruising the wrong way down the 1-way stretch of Myrtle Avenue, between Avery Place and Main Street.

After never in my life seeing that happen, I spotted it twice in 2 days recently. Alert “06880” reader/photographer JP Vellotti saw it too — a different time — and snapped this photo.

Then yesterday evening — while standing with 100 or so people outside the Westport Historical Society, at the opening of the (fantastic) new exhibit on our town’s African-American past — we all watched another car zip past Town Hall, headed the wrong way. (For good measure, it blew past the stop sign at Avery Place.)

I have no clue why there’s this sudden epidemic of driver cluelessness.

But it gives me a chance to ask a question I’ve thought about for years:

Why is Myrtle Avenue 1-way in front of Town Hall?

There’s no logical reason. The road is wide enough for 2-way traffic (if there’s no parking on the street next to the stone wall). It’s a waste of time — and a teeny bit of gas — to send people leaving Town Hall on a 180-degree loop from Main Street to Avery Place, just to go south on Myrtle toward the Post Road.

With 2 traffic lights on the way.

I know why Myrtle Avenue is one way at the Main Street/North Kings Highway light. There’s not a lot of room there, and traffic from Myrtle heads left, straight and right. All I’m talking about is 2-way traffic from the Town Hall exit, back toward Avery Place.

If someone has a good argument for keeping Myrtle Avenue 1-way, I’d love to hear it.

Otherwise, let’s make this little-but-big change now!

Traffic coming out of Town Hall should be able to turn left as well as right — right? (Photo/Alison Patton)

9 responses to “Wrong Way, Myrtle!

  1. Mark Yurkiw

    Would the Engineering Dept. or Public Works office know when & why it became a one way, or is there some other Dept office to ask? I’m very curious for what reason this was decided. Giving the benefit of the doubt I’ll assume for now they must have had a good one but does it still hold water? These types of questions I find interesting especially after I learned why we don’t have an exit 43 off the Meritt.

  2. Jacques Voris

    I would suspect your gave the answer, the intersection with Main Street. It being “better” to make the whole section one way rather than a confusing small section

  3. Morley Boyd

    Good luck bringing back two way traffic on that stretch of Myrtle; the town, in order to build a lavishly expensive sidewalk to nowhere that no one asked for (thanks Downtown Plan) something had to go. Bye bye right turn lane from Myrtle onto Main. So now it’s this congested little intersection with a stupid smart light that’s often in some kind of weird fugue state. The reason that some cars are driving the wrong way on Myrtle is likely a confusingly worded construction related detour sign which, by the way, also refers to Avery Place as Avery Lane.

    • Sara Krasne

      People routinely drive the wrong way on Myrtle, not just because of the construction signs, as I’ve personally seen it happen usually once a week for the five years that I’ve lived in Westport. Town Hall said they were going to put more signs stating it was one way after they were done with the sidewalk, which they did at the exit of Town Hall, but these cars are often coming from the intersection, so maybe better signage there would help.

  4. Fred Hyman

    When I was a kid in grammar school (1936 to 1941)
    and the Town Hall was Bedford Elementary School the road was one way since the school busses parked there to load and unload. This left one lane open for cars.It has been that way ever since.

    • Jill Christerson

      If I remember correctly, I attended Bedford El from ’61 to ’68. The lane in front was 2-way and the buses left from the rear by the sports fields. The kids who lived too close for a bus were usually driven and the traffic posed by all of the cars both turning into the same driveway was a definite safety hazard. If a safety vehicle needed to go in the front entrance, they couldn’t, I remember the change, it took a long time to get used to.

  5. Great to see you at the opening of Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport last night, Dan! We all hope that whatever is happening on Myrtle will be productive and end quickly so visitors can enjoy both the inside and the outside at WHS this spring and summer!

  6. Nancy Wilson

    Stop moaning, Myrtle.