Use The Sidewalk. It’s The Law!

It’s not the weightiest question ever — nothing like, say, what came before the Big Bang, or who killed JFK.

But it sure puzzles me. Why — when there are perfectly good sidewalks — do so many Westporters choose instead to walk in the road?

North Avenue.  South Compo. Long Lots. You name it: If there’s a sidewalk, most people won’t use it.

Sometimes they’re on the opposite side (walking incorrectly, with traffic). Sometimes they’re on the same side as the sidewalk. Yet they ignore it — or worse yet, treat it with contempt. Like, screw you, sidewalk. I’m not going walk on you.

Sidewalks are for other people.

For a long time I thought that was my pet peeve. But I have company.

The other day, alert “06880”reader/former Staples High School classmate, and — most importantly for this story, retired Westport Police detective — Dave Eason emailed me.

He had just gotten home after running errands. No one was on the sidewalks — but he saw plenty of folks on the roads.

Turns out, we’re not the only ones aggravated by this. Dave sent along Connecticut General Statute 14-300c (a). It says:

No pedestrian shall walk along and upon a roadway where a sidewalk adjacent to such roadway is provided and the use thereof is practicable.

I don’t imagine this is Chief Foti Koskinas’ top enforcement priority. Nor should it be.

But here’s your warning, streetwalkers: The law is on our side.

Sidewalks are there on the side too. Use them!

16 responses to “Use The Sidewalk. It’s The Law!

  1. I have a pet peeve of my own…not enough sidewalks in Westport. Even along Post Road, sidewalks seem to start and stop and then disappear altogether. And why are there none along Greens Farms Road? I love to walk and would do more of it if we had better sidewalks.

  2. Diane Silfen

    If we are on pet peeves I have one. I always stop for a school bus. Always. Then and this is on a nice sunny warm day. Then the mom get out walks around the car gets the child , then the back pack from the back seat. Combed the child’s hair and then walks to the bus. Turn the child around for a kiss. Then talks to the bus driver. Let’s be considerate of all of those waiting !!!

  3. Erica Holmberger

    I agree! I’m not a street runner/ walker but I’ve heard they are so broken up and bumpy the risk of turning an ankle and falling is really high!
    I live on a side of town that has no real sidewalks. We are walkable to town and our local school but there’s no way to get there safely. We need safe sidewalks in this town!

  4. Drives me nuts. My favorites are mothers pushing strollers against traffic in the road. Suicidal!

  5. Michael Calise

    might be that sidewalks are usually hard concrete and less comfortable than asphalt, grass or just plain old dirt.

    • Joshua Stein

      cant tell if you are being sarcastic… but for someone walking, there is no difference between asphalt and concrete…

  6. It seems to me that the girls are avoiding the truck on the left that is probably blocking the side walk or at least doing something that no one would want their baby near….l

  7. Dave Feliciano

    Street pedestrians please, the appellation or designations of “Streetwalkers” in Westport could lead to the influx of “Johns”.

  8. many times while riding my bike in the proper bike lane I have to swerve into the main road to avoid these “walkers” They will not even yield to a bike coming at them. Pretty scary.

  9. joshua stein

    Its ridiculous how many people have walked right in front of me to take a short cut even with little kids or baby strollers without looking when there is a good sidewalk or cross walk nearby. As I wrote a comment a few weeks ago, go take a walk from Fairfield town line through Westport on the Post Road. Sidewalks are missing. Some businesses have them and they lead to nowhere. Its extremely unsafe. It is also my experience that some sidewalks are not well kept and trip hazards. I completely agree they should be used where practicable but someone needs to take a step back and make sure sidewalks are everywhere necessary and they are well-maintained.

  10. Nancy Powers Conklin

    The same thing happens over here in Fairfield, especially near and around the beach area. And, these are usually moms pushing baby carriages or walking dogs!! Drives me nuts!

  11. Joshua Stein

    Another comment I need to make is that motorists need to obey the 3 feet law when passing people in the road. I like to run/jog… I cant tell you how many times I’ve almost been hit running in clear conditions with high visibility. The trouble is usually when there is oncoming traffic to the vehicle looking to go around a pedestrian. They need to stop if there is not room to pass the ped or slow down or wait. I have even had people honk and yell at me for using the road. Yesterday someone passed me going 60+ in a 25 with maybe a foot between us. And for the bicyclers, please stop riding side by side, taking up the entire lane. Finally, pedestrians should use the correct side of the road when walking/running (facing oncoming traffic) and biking (with traffic).

  12. Dorian Barth

    I do a lot of walking and always on the sidewalk, when one is a available.
    Sometimes I will walk on the opposite side because it’s the only side with a sidewalk. Walking where a sidewalk should be is sometimes scary because of uneven and slanting terrain. I think
    we need more sidewalks.

  13. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    I think Westport should strike a blow for human rights and declare itself a sanctuary city for jaywalkers.