The other day, town arts curator Kathie Motes Bennewitz moved a Westport Public Art Collection painting from the Parks & Recreation office to Town Hall.
“Up by Daybreak Nursery” — done by noted Westport artist Howard Munce in 1989 — showed the weird Weston Road/Easton Road/Main Street intersection, near Merritt Parkway Exit 42.
On the back, Kathie noticed a few interesting things:
The note on the left — written by Howard in December of 1999 — said:
In 1989 I came upon this scene and quickly went home for my camera.
The locale is at the convergence of Rt. 136 and Rt. 57 — just opposite the Daybreak Nursery.
When former 1st Selectman Bill Seiden saw it he said “Worst traffic situation in town.” Many agree.
Since this painting was done, the nursery has built and planted a mound on the small island that separate the two roads. Also, the Merritt Parkway entrance has been redesigned, causing greater complication at the corner.
Happy motoring. Howard Munce.
Equally fascinating were these “Street Beat” interviews from the December 2, 1999 Minuteman newspaper. The question was: “Which is the most dangerous intersection in Westport?”
On the left, Jim Izzo — owner of Crossroads Ace Hardware — described nearby Main Street and Canal Road. “There is an accident every 2 weeks or so, some kind of fender-bender or something,” he said.
Sid Goldstein nominated Wilton Road and Kings Highway North, because of its narrow turning lane onto Wilton (since improved), and “drivers stop too close to the yellow line on Route 33 heading south” (still an issue).
Nancy Roberts of Wilton said it was the very intersection that Munce had painted: “The merge is laid out so that it confuses people, and not everyone stops properly.”
Todd Woodard — a Tacos or What? employee — thought it was Post Road East, where Roseville and Hillspoint Roads were not aligned properly. Plus, he said, the “big dip” on Roseville makes it hard for visibility. Also the two restaurants’ driveways are poorly placed within the intersection.”
Finally, Chris Cullen — who worked in marketing — pointed to North Compo and the Post Road. “They should make a right turn lane” on North Compo, he said, “because traffic gets backed up very easily.”
Those comments were made 20 years ago. Many are still relevant today.
And probably will be in 2039, too.