[OPINION] Fatal Accident Fails To Deter Westport Drivers

Gery Grove moved to Westport from Brooklyn 7 years ago. She thought the drivers here were crazy — but they’ve gotten worse. She lives on a street that is a Waze shortcut, and uses the Bayberry Lane/Cross Highway intersection often. Everywhere in town, she says, people speed. 

Paloma Bima has lived in Westport for 16 years — 14 of them on Cross Highway. “I have seen way too many accidents,” she says. “I love walking to Wakeman, but it is dangerous!”

Andi Sklar’s family rented for 4 years on Bayberry Lane. They then built a house on Cross Highway, and have been there for 6. Every day, she sees drivers run the stop sign at the intersection of those 2 roads. She worries about the safety of her daughter, who attends Bedford Middle School and walks to Chef’s Table.

Following this week’s death of 25-year-old pedestrian Peter Greenberg on Bulkley Avenue North, the women write: 

Peter Greenberg

The loss of any life, especially someone young, can be devastating. But why does it resonate here in Westport so much? Because as a community we observe countless near misses – misses that might end up differently the next time due to our pedestrian-unfriendly roads, and our constant battle with speedy or reckless driving.

(Details of that accident have not been revealed, so this is not meant as an accusation of reckless driving against the driver on Bulkley.)

The next day, Gery Grove passed a multi-car accident at the corner of Bayberry and Cross Highway. While waiting for police to wave her through, a dark grey Ford Explorer behind her honked aggressively. The driver stayed on her bumper all the way to Long Lots Road.

Less than a day had passed since a pedestrian was killed nearby. Many children live in this neighborhood. They walk to or from school, and Chef’s Table.

Slow down, Westport. Another serious accident is right around the corner.

The intersection of Cross Highway and Bayberry Lane is just one spot with frequent reckless driving, running stop signs, and near misses. The three of us have been searching for ways to manage the dangers on our roads.

After near misses with her own children at that intersection near her home, Andi worked with Westport police on the visibility of stop signs.

Officer Al D’Amura has been extremely helpful. After riding together, he cut big branches that might have blocked the signs.

He also had an officer sit at the intersection. That provided only temporary relief. Andi said he is requesting that Public Works trim more bushes.

Paloma sought approval for a crosswalk from one side of Cross Highway to the other near Wakeman Fields, in light of the recent creation of a mega-campus at Bedford and Staples. So far, no measures have been enacted.

Gery grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Years ago they installed cameras, to catch speeders. Tickets are sent by mail. The first time she returned home, she wondered why everyone drove so slowly. Clearly. the cameras work.

One loss of life in this town is one too many. The time to consider solutions was before this young man was killed – but it definitely needs to be before another tragedy.

We have fallen victim to Waze, tight schedules, our devices, distraction and carelessness.

We have to ask our town to take real, concrete measures to clamp down on speeding, consider more pedestrian safety measures like sidewalks and crosswalks, and truly make those who believe the rules don’t apply to them rediscover the value of human life.

Or at least, to feel the presence of the laws they seek to violate.

A typical Westport driver.

Let this week be a collective call to action for our town leaders to make sure we give this issue the attention it deserves.

We have to do something. We are told not to be helicopter parents. But it’s hard to let kids roam around Westport these days.

It should not be that way.

77 responses to “[OPINION] Fatal Accident Fails To Deter Westport Drivers

  1. I got a ticket outside of Chevy Chase two weeks ago. I was doing 47 in a 35 mph zone. There are cameras all over Maryland and DC. You get a photo of your license plate maybe ten days after the incident with your speed at that particular moment. At least in Maryland, you’re warned by signs that the road is photo enforced, not so in DC. anymore. Put a set of cameras at the Cross Highway/Bayberry Lane intersection and you’ll see driving habits change real quick. And the cameras pay for themselves.

  2. So true. We need a town that makes walking and biking – especially for children! – safe. Other districts have speed bumps and cameras close to school to slow down traffic. North Avenue – the entrance to two mega schools – has neither! And speed limits are hardly ever respected (unless it’s start or end of school) No pedestrian or bike walk at the side entrance of Staples either – making it super dangerous for anyone walking to school (and yes there are still children brave enough to do this) It’s time to review our streets in Westport to make them safer for all. We live on North Avenue – and we have suggested a review if our streets by Safe Routes to school a national organization that reviews school access roads. I have also offered to implement an award winning carpool solution at our schools for free – to reduce traffic going into Staples and Bedford. Sadly I have not even received an answer from the town 😞.

    • I asked one of the school assistants for bike racks, so my son could bike to BMS (now that we are basically across the street).
      The response was “we don’t encourage children to bike due to heavy traffic and fear of accident”
      I had no words…

      • Paloma, it’s the unfortunate reality of the times (cars, texting, and no traffic enforcement.)

        Twelve years ago, when my kids were going to GFS right down the road from me, I encouraged them to ride to school, as I had often done. Then one day a classmate of theirs got hit and had his arm broken – while he was riding on the sidewalk – by a driver making a u-turn. The school prohibited kids coming by bike after that.

        As much as I pined for my kids to have the same experience I did, I realized that biking (during rush hour at least) just isn’t safe anymore. Too many cars, too many texters, and not enough traffic enforcement.

  3. As a regular fitness walker, I see this pattern of driving often during my walks into town. Drivers running through red lights, cross walks, stop signs and speeding is commonplace and frightening. With all of the new housing along the Post Road, you can only imagine folks trying to cross anywhere on Route 1. Bad drivers are everywhere and yes, it should not be they way. What is the answer?

  4. Bruce Fernie SHS 1970

    Entitled drivers, huge SUVs, Coffee in one hand, cell phone in the other… not a care in the world. Where are the police?

  5. The corner of Cross Hwy & Bayberry is regularly littered with accident debris. We walk our dogs past that corner every day and witness people not stopping for the stop sign. Police are there regularly taking accident reports. We witnessed a jogger get hit and say to the driver “you didn’t have to hit me”. What I observed is that intersection approach from Bayberry is at the top of a hill and drivers don’t see the stop sign gunning their car up the hill especially at dusk & nightfall (the intersection is not well lit). The other issue is Cross Hwy is an alternate Hwy to the Meritt during peak traffic times and Pkwy back-ups. Drivers are rushing to make up lost time. You can buy copies of accident reports for a specific location at the Police station. When I went to ask for them there were too many reports for that corner to pay for. This corner is a candidate for a traffic light before someone gets killed.

  6. The one solution that hasn’t really been tried is to enforce traffic laws. – Chris Woods

  7. In addition, I cannot count the number of times a car has come from a side street and pushed ahead of me on the right, the driver honking and waving a middle finger at me. What ever happened to good old-fashioned manners?

  8. PS- Around town, we have very pretty landscaped Islands at certain intersections where signs display businesses that maintain them. It’s a wonderful idea gone rouge when the plants block your line of sight for accidents waiting to happen?. What were you thinking? remove anything that is tall.

  9. Another scary spot, though I don’t know how many accidents there have been, is coming down the hill at Sunrise Rd onto Saugatuck Ave. There are huge solid ever green bushes on the north side that totally block the view. I saw a school bus stop there just on the north side; a car on Sunrise ignored the flashing bus and nearly hit the kids walking in the narrow shoulder.

  10. My husband and I, who share a car so we’re often driving together, are often remarking about the bad drivers in Westport. (We moved here 11 years ago.) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to swerve because the driver of an oncoming car is looking down at HER phone, slipping across the yellow line, and coming at me. (Yes, it almost always seems to be a woman. Moms multi-tasking?)
    This is a wonderful, safe town. Our police have very little to do except guard construction sites. Let’s put them to use! It’s time to crack down on cell phone use and texting while driving. It’s time to crack down on speeding. I never see police cars anywhere. Let’s roll.

    • India, I love you, but your comment that “police have very little to do except guard construction sites” is astonishingly off the mark. The work they do in Westport is off the charts. I don’t have time or space here to detail the variety of things they are called upon to do. I can’t speak for Chief Foti Koskinas, but I’m betting that if you give him a call, he’ll spend as much of his valuable time as he can letting you know what goes on every day with his force. If you ever get a chance for a ride-along, your eyes will be opened very wide.

      • Oh – sorry – I wasn’t casting aspersions. I wasn’t saying they don’t do their job, I was saying that had little to do. But I stand corrected!
        I spent many, many years living in L.A. and I married into a family with a proclivity for law enforcement, so I have a different basis of comparison.
        Let me make, then, another suggestion. Since our police force is busy with other important matters, perhaps we could hire another officer (or two) specifically for our multitude of traffic violations?

    • Because our cops do a great job, it seems like everything is honky dory! I bet you dont know that between stamford and new haven and bridgeport, there are more drugs crossing through westport than any other town in connecticut! Multiple arrests and situations handled on 95, the merrit and the post road all to keep it away from our Truman Show awesome town!

      • No, I didn’t know that.
        You’re so right. Very often when something runs smoothly, there’s a bevy of activity behind the scenes to make it so.
        Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    • Stupid ass comment. Why do you think your town is the way it is? Police must be doing more than watching construction sites.

  11. Of the hundreds of thousands if cars on the road so very few, percentage wise, have ANY accidents, cause ANY problem or are “rude drivers” in ANY way, that to complain about the very low percentage that cause accidents, near misses and tragedies , is silly, dysfunctional and misses the point that, in America, at least, the careful, thoughtful and courteous driver far out weighs the ones bitched about herein.

    • Bill Boyd SHS '66

      Perhaps Dan hasn’t noticed the high percentage of distracted drivers on our roads…..(talking and or texting is proven the equivalent of drunk driving!) …..lucky him.

  12. We should do more. I grew up riding my bike everywhere in a small city, but am not comfortable letting my children do the same in our neighborhood. It is a Waze and commuter route between two Merritt exits. My daughter and i have witnessed three drivers run a stop sign on Cavalry Rd in just the past week. We also drive Bayberry multiple times a day. We do see the police out on Bayberry and are grateful for their attempts to reduce the danger, but easily witness one driver a week run the stop signs on Cross Highway at the intersection of Bayberry. Chef’s Table is very popular with the middle school and high school students and we absolutely need to do more to make Cross Highway and our other roads more safe for pedestrians, runners and bikers. I would like to see the town do more. Who would take the lead?

  13. Sandra Rothenberg

    Two more yesterday-Newtown Tpk Weston and Wilton Rd.

    • The corner of Wilton Rd and Newtown Ave always an accident waiting to happen. I turn right at the corner notably referred to the Three Bears to get to the Merritt. There should be a no turn on red at the light at that corner but there is not. It’s a blind corner turning right on red, with cars flying by from the left and cars pulling out of the Country Mkt gas station across the street. If I sit at the red light with the right blinker on, the car behind me starts honking. Rather than risking my life I turn my blinker off and just turn on green. This sounds kind of elementary but if more people would actually think about what they are doing instead of blindly driving around, then there might be fewer accidents

  14. Wholeheartedly agree with everything written in this post! I walk/run in this town almost daily and my kids love walking/biking to school and (1) the roads are not at all pedestrian friendly and (2) the drivers are more distracted and faster than ever. One additional thing I would add is for pedestrians, please please please only walk/run on the left side of the road facing traffic. It is the only way to protect yourself as a walker/runner. As someone who has received the phone call that a loved one has been run over and rushed to the ICU and seen first hand the terrible result, it terrifies me to see runners/walkers with their backs towards oncoming traffic (with headphones on so they also can’t hear!), with absolutely no way of knowing if a distracted driver is approaching behind them. This is particularly true when I see teenagers doing this, many don’t seem to realize that even if in a group you are completely vulnerable if you cannot see the traffic coming toward you. With your back to oncoming traffic, you are putting your complete trust in the drivers approaching behind you. If you can see the traffic coming at you, you give yourself the chance to jump out of the way of a distracted or out of control driver. On any given day, I see multiple runners/walkers on the right side of the road, completely vulnerable, so I just wanted to add a reminder. I in no way want this reminder to be construed as placing blame on any victim of any accident, because the circumstances of any particular incident are different and that is not at all what I am implying, I just want everyone to give themselves the best chance they can to stay safe.

    • Thank you Dianna!! One should always face the oncoming traffic when sharing the road with vehicles. I came up to a woman walking a stroller, phone on ear totally oblivious to me behind her. I had to pull into oncoming lane to avoid her. Very dangerous for both of us. Please heed this advise and pass it on. Thanks again.
      Pat Porio

  15. Way to go Andi! That intersection people fly thru, and non-locals abuse for sure. So true so close to schools its crazy!

  16. Compo and greens farms area horrible as well. Drivers constantly serve into oncoming lane as they will not wait behind a biker or any other obstruction. When did it become okay for oncoming drivers to do this. Many times you have no area to move over without endangering walkers, bikers or hitting trees. Just appears to be many entitled drivers here. Would be nice if the police could stop some of this.

  17. William Strittmatter

    Here is a useful presentation on proper sidewalk design including buffers from roads. It points out that adequate paved shoulders are an integral part of the design plus provide bike lanes.

    http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/pdf/webinar_dps_080310_2.pdf

    Given the outcry whenever trees are taken down, do Westporters really have the interest to create proper sidewalks for safety? Do relevant property owners really want a strip in concrete or asphalt across their front yards that they have to keep clear of snow and ice? Not to mention, of course, the cost.

    Perhaps at least strategically this should be done. And perhaps it would encourage more pedestrians and bikers if made more safe. But it would mean a significant change to the “character” of the town (imagine Cross Highway with an additional 10-15 foot right of way clear cut on both sides) which seems to be anathema to many.

  18. Thanks to the individuals who are trying to make a change especially at the Bayberry/Cross Highway intersection. I have called the town a few times about the dangers there. I would be happy to help the three of you if I am of service. My family and I drive through that intersection many times a day and are fearful each time. We have witnessed far too many accidents there.

  19. The volume of traffic in Westport has increased tremendously over the last 40 plus years that I have lived here. It is particularly difficult at rush hour times,at lunch hour on the Post Road, and with people traveling in and out of town. People driving into and out of the Main Street area do not observe the traffic speed limit – 25 miles an hour. One doesn’t know if a person is going to observe the road rules or not. People are in hurry to get places, and with the increased volume of vehicles, carefulness and courtesy often vanish, as anxiety takes over.
    How can we change as a community to make driving safer? I like those signs that say “Drive like your children live here…” Because, they do. And so do you!

  20. Is there anything that residents can do to help with this effort? Traffic cameras would be great – How can we make it happen?

  21. Right on, Dan. Hoping you will keep on this, there are not enough police in Westport on traffic duty. There are many. corners with only stop signs that need lights. Years and years ago, I SAW an 8 year old girl trying to cross Main Street to walk home on Gorham Avenue, there is no stop sign at that major intersection and she was badly injured. The family moved from Westport soon after that.
    There are constant instances where I’ve been tailgated. Drivers are more than rude, they cause accidents. Something HAS TO BE DONE. Please keep us informed if there’s anything residents can do to help.

  22. All ages are at risk! Young, old and the middle aged. Thank you for raising the topic Paloma, and Gery and thank you Dan for starting the important conversations. More and more – we have our phones up and heads down when walking and/or driving – this is the opposite of what should be. SO where do we go, what can we do to take action so another Westport life is not tragically lost? Can we make ‘Peter’s” loss of life a call to immediate action?

  23. Timely subject, Dan. We’ve lived on Greens Farms Road for over 40 years and to see the increase in rush hour traffic over the last few years has been a shock. Waze is a double edged sword it seems. And beyond the added traffic we’ve observed a marked increase in reckless driving. We’ve learned you need to wait an extra few seconds at every red light that turns green because so many drivers are running the yellow-to-red light. Crossing over Sherwood Is. connector has become especially dangerous. GF Road is double lined (no passing) yet I have been passed no less than three times in the past year while I was driving the speed limit! There are walkers, joggers and bikers on the road regularly throughout the day. I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before there is another pedestrian tragedy in town. I’m for adding a wide array of cameras strategically positioned around town as well as added police staffing specifically to monitor/control traffic. I’m sanguine that the revenue generated by these added measures would go a long way to cover the added cost.

  24. Frannie Southworth

    First of all, I am heartsick over the young man who was hit and killed. I live on Cavalry Road and it is a big pass-through between exit 41 and 42. Cars at Red Coat and Cavalry don’t stop at stop sign, and cars coming from Crooked Mile onto Cavalry don’t stop. I’m always telling kids I see on bikes to be very careful on the curves because cars can’t see them. And now with people so distracted with texting while driving, it’s a very serious situation. my husband and I walk in the neighborhood and cars go by at probably 4550 miles an hour on a residential street. Years ago some neighbors and my husband and myself tried to get speed bumps put in but the fire trucks use this as a pass-through as well so we weren’t allowed to do that. I go the speed limit and I have had such aggressive drivers come up on my tail and also pass me so dangerously on the right to rush by only to be met by me at the next stop sign or light. I do get satisfaction when that happens! If people would take a breath and become present and not be so distracted, and imagine thay their loved ones are walking on the street, or that the person in front of you is a new driver or an elderly driver, they would drive more consciously and carefully. Thanks for opening this discussion Dan.

  25. David J. Loffredo

    Technology is the answer, because only after you are repeatedly hammered with fines and tickets will you adjust your behavior.

    I got a speeding ticket on the DC beltway where the speed cameras are legal. They mailed it to the lease company and by the time it made its way to me the fine was $200. That was the last time I sped on the DC beltway…

    Of course red light and speed cameras aren’t legal in CT because the legislature can’t seem to figure out how to solve it. Maybe we get our guy Will Haskell on the case – because until you have the cameras up everywhere and WAZE telling drivers they’re there – people are still going to whip all around these towns endangering everyone in their path.

    https://www.courant.com/politics/government-watch/hc-pol-lender-traffic-enforcement-cameras-20190420-r7c4sy6kwvhmzevpst3kxavfje-story.html

  26. One thing I have been doing while driving is honk my horn a couple of times but f I see a distracted driver. Noise pollution, I know, but it usually causes the offender to look up and pay attention to driving!

  27. So many good comments here. It is not just Westport but the greater region in which drivers are entitled, reckless and not paying full attention to the road.
    Three points:
    1. Cameras. Excellent idea.
    2. Pedestrians – walk on the left AND wear visible clothing. Too often I see pedestrians dressed all in black crossing a street at night. If you cannot be seen, you are putting yourself in danger. It is easy to find reflective gear or flashing lights to wear.
    3. Trim bushes to have line of sight at intersections.

  28. I walk on roads that are probably not safe. It would be very helpful if drivers would keep at least their running lights on, so they can be seen from a distance and especially emerging from under an overpass. I am surprised that so many vehicles do not use their lights during the day, nor on rainy days, for that matter, when it’s the law! Perhaps a reader already suggested this.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  29. September Stevens

    Thank you for this. I live at the “death turn” that is Compo North and Evergreen. My children cross the street to get downtown and I have a new driver who would like to pull out of our driveway alive. Every few days I am honked at for slowing down to turn into my driveway. Drivers have even passed me on the incoming side of the road bc they can’t wait the 5 seconds it take me to turn. It’s only a matter of time before a head on collision happens. I know many people in town fear taking a left on Compo Road North from Evergreen and rightly so. The cars come around the blind turn near 50mph.

    I have asked the police to monitor the turn to no avail. My father joking called driving in Westport “a bloodsport” unfortunately he was too right. It seems as though the aggressiveness of drivers is getting worse each year. Non of us should have live like this. Slow down!!

  30. Every state or town I’ve ever lived in seems to imagine its own roads to be stomping grounds for the world’s worst drivers. So I actually don’t believe our drivers are any worse than the norm, but I agree that Westport roads are increasingly unsafe. As I see it, contributing factors are: (1) curvy, hilly terrain (2) traffic overload now being aggravated by WAZE (3) lax enforcement of traffic regulations. While there’s not much to be done about the first two problems, the third is addressable.

    I strongly disagree with Ms. Penney’s suggestion above that our police don’t have enough to do, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a few officers re-allocated to enforcement duty in random spots around town. Word would spread pretty quickly and most of us would start slowing down and keeping our cell phones where they belong, i.e., in our pockets until arriving at our destinations.

    I personally would hate to see many new traffic lights or a radical reconfiguration of our streets. However, a more visible police presence in random spots might go a long ways towards improving the situation.

  31. Ellen Lautenberg

    Thanks for posting these opinions – couldn’t agree more – hopefully enough people will read this and actually drive more carefully. Surprised it doesn’t happen more frequently. Walkers also have to be “defensive” and not assume that drivers will see them! I’ve seen people walking in dark clothing at dusk or at night and could have easily hit them (sorry if this has already been said but haven’t read all comments).

  32. Good heavens. I was complimenting our town, not casting aspersions on our police force.
    My only point was that there don’t seem to be enough police officers to enforce traffic laws. Thank you to those who explained to me that they’re busy catching bad guys who travel through Westport.
    In that case, perhaps we need to hire more officers.
    It would be nice to see a greater presence on our streets to crack down on both speeding and texting while driving.

  33. Dick Lowenstein

    Except for the Connector Road light, Greens Farms Road (a.k.a. I-95 North) is one big speedway from Hillspoint to the Fairfield town line. Thanks to Officer D’Amura, I was able to get an east-bound flashing speed sign installed on Greens Farms Road near Sasco Creek Road. It is of some help, but a lot more has to be done. Perhaps speed bumps like the perfectly engineered ones on Prospect Road. Candidly, with my neighbors on Greens Farms Road, we have reached the end of our patience.

  34. The epp and flow of traffic wasn’t always this crazy. You could walk, jog, bike or take a leisurely drive through the main or back roads and enjoy the scenery.
    I personally started noticing the traffic pattern change in the last 12 years (2007ish) and It literally exploded in the last 6 years.
    Now they’ve because more aggressive, speed and ride your bumper.
    I agree with all the intersections stated above with issues.
    *There was a time they weren’t a problem. They were known as quiet back roads.*
    A new problem interection that gums up traffic are motorists taking a left out of Ketchum right in front of Westport Fire Saugatuck Engine 4 onto Riverside Ave. They take a left from Charles St to Franklin then right on Ketchum then left. It’s a nightmare. If an accident ever happens the fire department will just have to walk out their front door.
    I’m waiting for the police to install “No Left Turn” onto Riverside Ave from Ketchum between 4pm to 8pm.

  35. Dick Lowenstein

    This came from one of my neighbors today. It speaks for itself:
    ——————————
    The good news is you’re going to be stuck with us for a couple more years. The bad news is we couldn’t sell the house because people are scared of living on Greens Farms Road. Not good for everyone who lives in this area especially those on this road.

  36. The day after the pedestrian death, I was almost run over on Duck Pond Rd. I was basically walking on the curb (against traffic) and a car came speeding by within a foot of hitting me (I jumped onto someone’s front lawn). It was dusk but I was wearing bright orange and had blinking lights. I just bought a reflective vest and headlamp. I only go on Duck Pond for a short while to get to a side street to jog/run. Having been a pedestrian on Duck Pond probably hundreds of times, I have noticed most vehicles drive in excess of 50 MPH and I can’t tell you how many have their faces buried in their phone (a lot). I do have to hand it to Westport PD because they had a patrol car on Duck Pond last week for at least a couple days. I dont know if they caught anyone and there is limited areas for them to park but hoping they continue some patrols in the area during rush hour. On another note, whats the deal with the new trend of passenger cars making wide turns? I have been noticing it a lot more lately.

    • ps: i think one side of duck pond is norwalk and unfortunately the side that is worse is the norwalk side so perhaps they should be contacted.

  37. It’s horrible and needs to stop. I am also near Cross & Bayberry and see it daily. The police also need to crack down on phone use while driving…hard. As a runner, I see people driving with their phones in their hand every run, and it’s the rule, not the exception, and people need to learn to give runners and bikers the 3’ berth required by law. That means when there is a car coming in the other direction you have to slow down until it is clear to do so, not speed up and create danger for more people.

  38. How’s this for coverage? We used to live in South Palm Beach, Florida. The town was 1/10th of a square mile. It was one street 5/8ths of a mile long. The police are mandated to come on to your property 5 times a day, once at night. I believe it’s still that way. They have 6 police officers for one street that 5/8ths of a mile. I’m not good at math but my guess is the width of the town is 3/16 of a mile? 5/8ths x ? = 1/10th.

  39. How many tickets have the Police issued (for whatever period of time is available) for using a phone while driving?

  40. When I pass on a car on my bicycle on Greens Farms Road close to Sherwood Island Connector, roughly 2 out of 5 drivers are “intensely” using “smart” phones, the smart phone isn’t that smart to shut down automatically for the driver…

  41. My heart breaks for Petey Greenberg and his family. My heart also breaks for the driver that accidentally hit Petey and I pray there are not two lives ruined from that accident. I also pray we can learn from this and avoid another tragedy. None of us want to hit anyone and yet we all drive too fast, myself included. We need to slow down, but we need help doing that…

    The traffic speed enforcement cameras are a fabulous idea and could be a key part of the solution. There is an initial investment, but they quickly pay for themselves; they do not divert police resources away from critical activities, tickets are leveled consistently and without bias, and traffic continues to flow if and when speeders are captured on camera. I used to work in Chevy Chase and know well the speed cameras Geri and Jack reference. They are surprisingly effective and a great source of revenue for Chevy Chase. One might argue that the Chevy Chase placement on a straightaway may be questionable, but the cameras would be very helpful on many of our winding roads, especially near heavy pedestrian and bike traffic. Everyone is frustrated that Waze redirects commuters through our town, but those numbers might decrease if drivers encountered numerous speed cameras and slower traffic.

    I agree that added sidewalks also help keep us safer. Peter Ratkiewich, Director of Public Works, has done a great job increasing pedestrian safety with numerous, excellent sidewalk plans (up Main St to the intersection at Rt 57, and the recently approved Myrtle Avenue plan). Jennifer Johnson, RTM, has also done a great job in advocating for increased sidewalks and pedestrian safety. More sidewalks are needed and helpful, but people should also still feel safe & free to walk on streets without sidewalks…and speed cameras might increase their safety.

    There are great comments on this post; let’s organize and do something about it. The Commission on People with Disabilities has a transportation component, but this discussion might appeal to an even wider audience.

    In the meantime, God bless Peter Greenberg’s family.

    • Thanks, Diane. Great insights. Re sidewalks (and I have written about this before): I am constantly amazed at how many people walk on the road, when there is a perfectly good sidewalk a few feet away. It’s astonishing.

  42. Peggy O’Halloran

    My condolences to the young man’s family on their loss. I agree that Westport needs sidewalks and traffic improvements. On a positive note, however, a recent study shows that Westport drivers rank higher than many others in Connecticut. Thankfully, some of us are behaving well.
    https://patch.com/connecticut/darien/s/gw4ap/cts-best-and-worst-towns-for-driving?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=traffic-transit&utm_campaign=alert

  43. What can you/we do?
    I notice that when I obey the speed limit a large number of drivers behind me do also.

    • I’ve found that when I obey the speed limit, the driver behind me tailgates, honks, flashes their lights, makes rude and obscene gestures and tries to pass me whenever there’s enough room, even when there’s a double line.

  44. for all of those suggesting cameras, they are not the solution. they are mainly done for revenue purposes not safety. so if someone is going to go fast they are going to go fast. they could be an out-of-towner oblivious to the signage/cameras will get a ticket in the mail and may or may not pay it but what if they hit someone or killed someone? the camera can’t stop that from happening. more importantly cameras can NOT catch distracted drivers with face buried in a cell phone instead of looking at the road ahead. so again, think its a bad idea to bring cameras upon westport…

    • I’ve seen how effective these cameras can be in other communities, as others on this post have also stated, but they are only part of the solution. Unfortunately, enforcement cameras are currently banned in the state of CT, so that would take some lobbying the state to allow our town to install them (Will Haskel? Jonathan Steinberg?). I happen to think the cameras would both add revenue and reduce speeding. While they are just a deterrent, indeed an effective deterrent over time, of course nothing replaces caution and common sense behind the wheel. It remains a critical exercise to consider many solutions to a growing public safety issue.

  45. Juliana Fulbright

    I go maybe 5 miles over the limit and everyone is still on my ass, almost everyone. Cameras and $ tickets are a great idea if it can be done here. It is crazy and I’m almost afraid to drive!!!

  46. i have read several studies. many have found that speed cameras DID NOT reduce the incidence of motor vehicle collisions. there are many variables / factors and its hard to attribute camera’s success where the variables are not controlled and there is not a controlled group to compare against, thus random articles you read online are not “studies”. it would be a pipe dream to think that speed cameras will be placed in random / problem neighborhoods further from a city center (hint: they won’t generate enough revenue to warrant placement), and to think they will make a dent in distracted driving is far-fetched. again, speed camera’s main purpose is to generate revenue. even if laws were changed and cameras implemented, good luck getting them installed all over, on side street, windy roads, etc.

    • On point Josh!
      The only real solutions that could even possibly help is;
      1) Stop Lights
      2) Sidewalks.
      Not a cure but most people stop at lights, and pedestrians will use the sidewalks if they are NOT interrupted by breaks in the pavement.
      …but it still won’t change bad driving.

      • I do agree that a buffered area is important. The sidewalk situation in town is pretty bad. Look at Post road starting at the Southport line… sidewalks missing, leading to nowhere, etc. In my case, where I was almost run over on Duck Pond the other day, I think that a sidewalk would have helped but a simple painted shoulder probably not. The problem is then do you get carried away with adding bike lanes to help protect bikers? If you need more roadway now you are talking eminent domain. Perhaps it needs to be done though…

      • Is it better to have no cameras at all, or have cameras? If you answer that it’s better to have cameras, then you’d need to say why. If you think cameras are useless, then tell us why.

        • Camera’s can only raise revenue ….by capturing speeding and cars not stopping for red lights they don’t actually prevent accidents, distracted driving, or driving under the influence. Sidewalks, street lights, and street lamps encourage safety. Educating young drivers properly and re-testing seasoned drivers for the rules of the road regularly are tools to keep us all safer. I recently saw street signage in Monroe reminding that cars need to give 3ft of distance from walking/biking pedestrians. These signs reminded me that too many people either don’t know the rules of the road they were taught or have forgotten them. I see evidence every single time I take my WAZE out for a drive to the store and witness many forgotten rules on the road daily. Can’t wait till the insurance companies figure out that it’s more dangerous to have people drive than self-driving cars and charge us accordingly. (Sorry I couldn’t resist a snarky ending)

          • William Strittmatter

            “Cameras can only raise revenues…” is just plain wrong and as a Waze user you should know that. While speed and red light cameras may raise money from scofflaws, they certainly can and do change driving behaviors.

            If properly signed and marked, speed cameras will tend to reduce speeding and will not produce the promised revenues. Personally, when I am driving in places where speed cameras are legal, if I am aware of the presence of speed cameras due to signage, I pay closer attention to my speed. So, at least one person’s behavior is modified. From the behavior of cars ahead of me in such locations, it appears I am not alone.

            Even if poorly signed and installed with the sole intent to raise revenue, after the first ticket or two, locals will quickly learn where they are and will slow down accordingly unless they are stupid or don’t care about paying fines, increased insurance costs and/or losing their license. I don’t think the average Westporter, even the entitled ones, are that stupid.

            That leaves non-Westporters who might get caught unawares if poorly signed. However, if they are Waze users doing a detour, Waze will warn them where there are cameras so they will tend to slow (again, unless stupid). For non-Westporter regular back road users, like Westporters they will quickly learn they need to slow down. And if Westport collects money from non-Westporters for speeding, that’s just dandy. As best I can tell Westporters don’t want non-Westporters using their roads any more than they want them using their beaches.

            However, all of this is largely moot as long as state law prohibits traffic enforcement via cameras. Still, I suppose Dan could post pictures of speeders on his blog in an effort at public shaming. Not that posting pictures of bad parking has helped much.

            • Bill-You are focusing on another topic it’s not about the cameras, I was responding to a specific question directed to me. Re-Read what I wrote camera’s don’t prevent accidents, distracted driving, substance abuse or remind people about driving rules they once learned (or not) was my point. You are welcome to yours. Be well, drive well and review the rules of the road you learned. Cheers.

  47. Cameras aren’t the answer.
    Camera will not take the rudeness and aggressiveness out of the driver.
    The driver’s attitude needs to change.

    • But Wendy, cameras and fines will make people slow down. To say otherwise and not try it when the problem keeps getting worse is illogical.

      Everyone who has driven in and around traffic cameras says that it slows them down.

      Bad driving has been a problem that hasn’t gone away and is escalating. 06880 has posted on this several times a year for decades. Remember the banner across Main Street asking people to be nice? That didn’t work.

      Nothing is being done about it, and more people are getting hurt. Car-pedestrian deaths are increasing https://www.npr.org/2019/02/28/699195211/pedestrian-deaths-reach-highest-level-in-decades-report-says

      The police aren’t enforcing the laws any more now than they have been in the past. We expect the police to do something and they aren’t. And BTW, they are against traffic cameras because it will take their jobs away.

  48. Daryl Styner(-Presley)

    Your words resonate so sincerely, that I think you should consider starting a petition that should be submitted to our town officials. The petition should put them on notice as to how & what the petitioners want our town to do. With enough signatures, your words, prayers and suggestions won’t fall in deaf ears. It’s worth a try…..

  49. DEAR /DARYL STYNER. IF YOU CAN START A PETITION ASK DAN IF HE COULD PUT IT ON THIS SITE. IF NUMBERS OF SIGNERS EXPLODE, THE POLICE MIGHT LISTEN TO ALL THESE ISSUES. DON’T ALL OF US WISH THAT IF WE COULD QUCKLY NOTE THE LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS OF OFFENDING DRIVERS – PARTICULARLY THOSE ON PHONES AND SEND THEM TO THE TRAFFIC POLICE . THEY COULD ISSUE WARNINGS TO THOSE LISTED…..

  50. Daryl Styner(-Presley)

    Ms. Chernow:
    My comment to start a petition, was made to the woman who’s emotional plea for specific ideas to be implemented, upon which I suggested to her, to put together a petition, and let the “numbers” be submitted to our elected officials to know where its constituents stand on this issue. Apparently you misread my response to that individual.

    • Daryl Styner (-Presley)

      It was the multiple responses of Diane Johnson, and Mark Yurkiw whose suggestions and ideas could collaboratively be put into a petition and submit to our elected officials. In numbers, their great ideas could be heard.

      That was my response.

  51. I am encouraged to read all the thoughtful suggestions arising from this post. We certainly benefit from the opinions of so many well-informed and concerned citizens. The Commission on People with Disabilities will add a discussion of pedestrian, bike, and motor safety to our next meeting on November 21st at 8:30 am. The public is always welcome to attend our meetings, but we would particularly like to invite all those who have posted here, and all others, to attend and voice their suggestions on how to keep Westport’s roads safer. All in attendance will be invited to make relevant public safety suggestions; these suggestions will be accumulated and recorded into the minutes. We will not have time at this meeting to debate the merits of any particular suggestion, but will have a brief discussion on possible next steps.
    To stay informed on these and other public meetings, on emergency information, and e-notifications, follow this link to register:

    https://www.westportct.gov/about/advanced-components/subscribe-to-westport-emergency-meetings-and-news-enotifications

  52. Dear Diane Johnson. Will you make sure that a transcript of that meeting is sent to the chief of Police? and have you invited the police who enforce traffic to the meeting? The amount of ongoing letters to 0680 ShOWS that the extent of the problem is not from a few people but a host of residents, imagine what many of the others are thinking. I was smashed into by a driver coming out of Stop and Shop against the traffic., T-boned because he said he didn’t see my car—A bright red SUV!!!!!, he was going against the light ,had a child in his car. probably texting.So it’s not just the street crossings, it’s also cars illegally or unthinkably common out of stores, and that should be addressed also.
    as some of the writers above have said: “I’m afraid to drive, it’s almost. carnival – like in traffic. .

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