Elm Street Update

Downtown drivers and pedestrians wonder: What’s up with the sidewalk by the Elm Street construction project?

That’s the new building rising in the Baldwin parking lot, behind Brooks Corner. It’s part of a land swap, in which Villa del Sol was torn down, to create a larger, more manageable parking lot next to Bedford Square.

It will include stores (and perhaps a restaurant), with 4 apartments above.

Elm Street, looking toward Main Street …

Westporters worry about the narrow sidewalk.

David Waldman — developer of the new project — admits it does look close to the edge of the road.

However, he says, when work is done, “proper sidewalks” will be installed on both sides of Elm Street (similar to Main Street), all the way to Church Lane.

Entrances to buildings will be stepped in, providing additional space for pedestrians.

If a restaurant is a tenant, windows and doors would open up like a Nanawall, creating an inside/outside feel.

… and to Church Lane. (Photos/Jen Berniker)

Upon completion, power lines and poles will be removed, and brick sidewalks and street lights installed.

Waldman has been told the sidewalks should be finished by the end of summer or early fall. The project should be ready for occupancy by next spring.

20 responses to “Elm Street Update

  1. Caryl Beatus

    WOULDST THAT VILLA DEL SOL WOULD RETURN TO ELM STREET AS WAS ORIGINALLY PLANNED

    • Did you ever believe that would really happen? The poor guy running the place not only got forced out of downtown, but I gather he was thwarted in attempts to relocate to Post Rd West by the P&Z.

  2. Jennifer Seideman

    Thanks for the update. This sounds great, however we can’t even fill the empty stores on Main St right now so why do we need more storefronts? I hope we get some good occupants.

  3. Michelle Benner

    That road is so narrow as it is. I really hope the sidewalks become wider with the construction plans. Lots of moms with young children, babies in strollers, elderly people walk that street. It just feels better and more welcoming when you can walk together side by side without feeling like you’re too close to the road with cars and trucks rolling by.

  4. Has anyone kept count of how many parking spaces were added/lost due to the Bedford development? One thing I’ve noticed is that the underground parking there is now marked “tenants only” – so shoppers aren’t allowed there. I remember those new spaces once being mentioned as additive to the total, but that’s obviously not the case in reality. For the moment, the Elm Street/Church Street area is a place for shoppers/diners to avoid because parking is so inconvenient.

  5. David A. Waldman

    Great observation Peter but you seem to have forgotten the actual facts and instead are trying to spew your version of fake news. I’ll try and make my explanation simple so you can follow.

    The YMCA, when downtown, had ZERO parking spaces for its employees and patrons meaning anyone working or visiting the YMCA downtown had to park in the town lots

    Bedford Square on the other hand built 100 new parking spaces for its 24 apartments and numerous employees of those businesses occupying its space (not to mention a number of public spaces for patrons of those establishments). This means that those 100 employees, residents and patrons are NOT parking in the town lots. This in turn frees up previously occupied spaces for additional employees, patrons or residents Downtown to park in.

    I hope that helps.

    PS – clearly you don’t go downtown that often because if you did you would also notice there is a new 70 car lot built adjacent to Bedford Square which is free to the public and open to all.

    PPS – thanks for suggesting that shoppers and patrons should avoid the many successful businesses and establishments which occupy space on Church Lane and Elm Street. I am sure Pink Sumo, The Spotted Horse, Aux Delices, Serena & Lily, Whip Salon, Barbour, HSBC, Wafu, Anthropoligie & Co, Amis and Urban Outfitters appreciate your suggestion.

    • THE GREAT OZ HAS SPOKEN!

    • Hey David – rather than deriding a complaint as “fake news,” why not listen to a member of the public who patronizes your retail tenants and those of your fellow downtown landlords? Last couple of times I went to Spotted Horse and Aux Delices — both fine establishments — I was at a loss where to park.

      There is no parking intuitively adjacent to these places, and no signage except where you are NOT to park: e.g. the nearby Baldwin spaces (reserved for church nursery school), the underground lot at Bedford (reserved for tenants.) So I parked in the farther off reaches of the Baldwin lot; fine in nice weather, but not so good if it’s pouring rain.

      I have no idea where the new 70 car lot is – and have no interest in driving around behind buildings only to see the inevitable “tenants only” sign and spend more time turning around in tight spaces. Signage would help!

      • I’d like to add that I LIKE walking and pedestrian culture, vs. driving from shop to shop as is the rule in today’s Westport.

        I remember being a kid and going with my dad downtown on weekend mornings, where we parked once and then strolled to maybe 5-6 merchants for routine purchases: the cheese shop, one of the two groceries, two hardware stores, two drugstores, two bookstores, and maybe a lunch at Oscars afterward.

        But today’s downtown Westport is different. It’s a place for one-off, drive-in-and-leave purchases: buy some new shirts, find a gift at a luxury-goods merchant, or meet a business colleague for lunch. Frankly it’s a lot less appealing to me, but I realize I’m not representative of all consumers.

      • Losing Vila was a bad trade off!!! if it’s a possibility to bring them back into one of the new buildings that would be great!!!

        I do love the effort of trying to bring life back to downtown but it is obviously a struggle… looks like a ghost town after sunset.. having tavern still there is great! hopefully the residents from a the new apartments will add a bit of activity to the area

        Agree with peter on the signage…

  6. The current temporary sidewalk was placed on the roadway and narrowed the road. The steel beams placed on the front of the new building are in the location of the former sidewalk. The building footprint has absorbed the old sidewalk. My office overlooks the new building so I’ve watched the entire process happen.

  7. David A. Waldman

    Sorry, and Nic + Zoe, William Sonoma, Savanna Bee and Lillian August (this July)

  8. Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

    David I know you are a mover and a shaker when you complete a project it is “Top Shelf”
    David Waldman puts his heart and soul into a project. When he succeeds
    the town of Westport benefits
    David when you corrected Peter Blau on his lack of knowledge about your project and expressed that he was spreading “Fake News” it reminded me of my 45th President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump!
    Keep up the good work
    Best,
    Gerald F. Romano, Jr.

  9. THE GREAT OZ HAS SPOKEN!

    • David A. Waldman

      The curtain is always open Chris. I hide behind nothing, never have and never will.

      • You have a well-documented history of deriding those who share an opinion or raise a thoughtful concern with respect to your downtown project. Your officious reply to Mr. Blau immediately brought the great and powerful OZ to mind: “You have the effrontery to question ME you billowing bale of bovine fodder?!?”

        • Thanks Chris! Re: Gerald F. Romano, I don’t know whether you’re being serious or doing a satire a la Stephen Colbert or “The Onion.”

  10. Bottom line – 100 additional parking spots, great area to eat and shop in, and the sidewalk near the new construction will be wider than it appeared to be a few days ago. Thank you David for the clarification and everyone else for the usual funny comments and even funnier bickering found at 06880DanWoog.com!

  11. Trish Leavitt

    We miss Villa del Sol. It’s too bad they were pushed out. Never heard what happened with the other location on Post Road.

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