Everyone Talks About Traffic: The Sequel

Earlier this month, an alert, frustrated and very gridlocked “06880” reader wrote an opinion piece about traffic.

He noted some of the worst jams in Westport, and recommended the creation of a special town traffic czar an task force to examine the issue. Dozens of readers replied. Their comments ranged from “it’s even worse than you say” to “get over it.”

This week, the reader — who asked to be identified as “GS” — is back.

This time, he has one specific solution.

It’s a spot seldom mentioned when we discuss traffic woes. But it’s bad.

I-95 Exit 18 northbound getx jammed at rush hour. Cars creep up the hill; the backlog often spills all the way down the ramp, causing delays on the highway itself.

GS’ idea: Put a stoplight at the top of the exit, at the Sherwood Island Connector.

Exit 18, at the Sherwood Island Connector.

“Keep it green 85% of the time, for drivers coming off the exit,” he says. After all, virtually no one ever waits at what is now a stop sign, heading east to Sherwood Island State Park. (Even in summer, most traffic to the park comes off 95 northbound.)

Making Exit 18 more attractive would cause more drivers to get off there — easing the current congestion at Exit 17, and into Saugatuck, GS says. Waze and other traffic apps would notice, keeping drivers on 95 to Exit 18, instead of telling them to get off at 17 because of I-95 congestion ahead.

“It’s not a lot,” he admits. “But every little bit helps.”

It’s an interesting idea. So here is today’s “06880” challenge:

Come up with your own.

What little tweaks can you suggest, to ease traffic in Westport?

Where would you put a light, a stop sign, a turning lane? Where would you remove something that actually hinders the flow?

Be creative! Think outside the box! The sky’s the limit!

And if you think this is, um, pie in the sky: Think again.

These ideas will go right to our new task force and traffic czar.

Once they’re appointed, of course.

24 responses to “Everyone Talks About Traffic: The Sequel

  1. Dave Dellinger

    The intersection at rizzutos and Bridge Street. Make Rizzutos have its own green light that only stays green for 2 cars. Then, while bridge street gets their own green light, there would be a right arrow signal for cars to turn right into bridge street while the main light is red.

  2. Rework the cluster that is the Trader Joe’s /CVS entrance. No left turn into Trader Joe’s for south bound traffic would be a start.
    Stop putting high vehicle density stores into strip malls. Trader Joe’s lot has Soul Cycle, Row House and the Pilates studio, all of which require 20-30 cars to arrive at the same time to make classes, then stay occupying a parking space for an hour then all leave at the same time, while the next class is arriving.
    Same with Playhouse Square – that lot is a disaster – Granola Bar where people stop and linger, Barre Studio, post office – all these require cars to be parked for too long.
    How about free parking in those lots away from the Town center and pay to park if you are too damn lazy to walk 5 minutes…..

  3. Nancie Rinaldi

    Sadly I believe this opportunity has past.. widen the road at the intersection of 33 and The Post Road headed east. A widened road would have allowed for a much needed right turning lane. Traffic backs up at that intersection quite a distance causing drivers to sit through numerous lights before getting through. However, with the newly renovated historic building on the corner now home to Vita Design Group there is little hope for that. I was told by P&Z candidates I encountered during the election a few years ago that the builder who was renovating the old Save The Children property had offered to move that historic building at the corner, at no cost to the town, so the road could be widened. Evidently the then sitting P&Z turned down the offer. While I don’t know the details or backstory if this was the case it seems like a monumentally shortsighted decision on the part of the P&Z. I am frustrated by that intersection daily.

    Another area where a simple, quick and inexpensive change could make difference is the light at the corner of Myrtle Ave. and Main Street. There had been 3 lanes allowing cars to turn left, go straight or turn right (including turning right on red). At some point 3 lanes became 1 which caused backups. People complained and another lane added back. 1 lane is now dedicated to turning left and the other allows you to go straight or turn right. You can again turn right on red but only if there’s no car in front of you going straight. Why not repaint the lines and add back a dedicated right tuning lane? The road is wide enough to accommodate 3 lanes.

    • Several years ago, the Board of Selectmen, after angry residents crashed one of its meetings, instructed then Director of Public Works, Steve Edwards, to come back with an estimate to restore the right turn lane from Myrtle onto Main that he had eliminated (to make way for the infamous “sidewalk in circle” around Veterans Green). Mr. Edwards, agreed (on the record ) to come back with such a plan for the Board’s consideration. But he never did.

  4. A rotary at the top of the ramp might be possible. Traffic could keep flowing and not have the stop-start-stop-start that is currently there. A light would force cars to stop. It would also force those leaving Sherwood Island to slow down too. I’m not sure if there is enough physical space for a rotary.

  5. Unfortunately your reader/writer proposes nothing more than a version of kicking the can down the road – to Green’s Farms Road to be exact. At least when cars get off at 17 as well as 18 the traffic is spread out a bit more around Westport. The proposal merely makes the Green’s Farms area a dumping ground. Instead we should be trying to figure out ways to discourage drivers from getting off at either exit since a dangerous situation has been created. Not only is traffic heavier but speeding has increased dramatically when some drivers see an open straight-away. Speed bumps, stop signs – whatever it takes to lessen the load should be explored and then implemented.

  6. No left turns on Post Rd. Ever.

    Do your shopping one way up, turn around, rinse and repeat.

    • Arline Gertzoff

      The most sensible comment that I have been practicing for decades .

      • Arline, highly agree with you and Deej Webb. A lot of the traffic jams in parking lots occur when a line of cars gets stuck behind one car trying to make a left onto the Post Rd. I simply won’t do it. I’ve seen a few accidents occur when drivers turn left into moving traffic. And then there are the daredevils that edge out into the road, causing the traffic to stop until they make a left hand turn.

    • Great idea!

  7. Put a consistent left turn arrow at the intersection of Roseville Road (by McDonalds and Sakura) and Post Road.

  8. Okay folks traffic is here …it’s not going anywhere. Embrace it! It’s not our fault. We have the “unlucky draw” of being “that town”

    3 exits and entrances to 95 if you include Southport
    2 exits and entrances to the Merritt
    Post Rd- Route 1
    Route 136
    Route 57
    Route 58
    2 Train stations.

    WE ARE THE ULTIMATE “PASS THRU” TOWN!!! 🙂

    Several years ago the RTM approved funding for the state to conduct a “study” of how to synchronize the lights from CVS to Post Rd- Riverside Ave
    Obviously our state has other priorities like tolls and dope and how to get from 49 out of 50 in economic growth to 50th.

    tips for you the driver- stay out of the square! Jumping a yellow light only causes bigger back ups. You will get where you need to go.

    Write your state representatives and ask them what the hell the is going on?

    We as a town do a great job of keeping things moving on our roads. Our crosswalks are marked and safe- The state on the other hand…a joke- check out the cross walk from Fresh Market to Dunkin donuts? no crossing light….how about the one from Parking Harding where Starbucks is over to Library ?

    Let’s get the lights talking to each other, more common sense driving and we will all be able to deal with a little slow down and not have a meltdown.

  9. Why we can’t make a left turn into Treadwell Ave (coming from Saugatuck Ave northbound)? It doesn’t make any sense. Traffic isn’t an issue at that intersection

  10. Post road is a mess. Traffic lights out-of-sync messing with the flow of traffic even when there are few cars on the road but makes it miserable when there are cars on the road. If a complicated city like NYC can program their traffic lights to keep traffic moving, I would think CT can program their traffic lights better on Post Rd. I think a turning lane is needed right down the middle of post road. Some lights also stay green for side streets way too long and need to be tuned. BTW, per WPD, CT DOT handles the traffic lights and complaints / requests for service can be submitted at: https://www.dotdata.ct.gov/contacts/contactus.aspx

  11. From Paul Muller, Mackmagic11@gmail. Driving towards town. As you approach Coffee An, the new wine store there is a no turn on right sign at the light, as you face the Old Boogies. Makes no sense not to make a turn there. In fact a local patrolman even told me to ignore it. Was told the State puts most of those signs around town when they have no idea about traffic patterns.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Addison A. Armstrong

      Of all the intersections in town that have problems, that is the least of them. I am a neighbor of that intersection, so I can say unequivocally that the prohibition on right turns on red is necessary. There are many people in the neighborhood who walk(!) to the shops at Crossroads, particularly young families going to Coffee ‘An or the convenience store. The no turn on red protects them from speeding drivers who would otherwise move through the intersection without even obeying the part of the law that requires a driver to come to a full stop before proceeding to make the right hand turn.

    • Addison A. Armstrong

      I also don’t believe that a local patrolman told you to ignore it. The WPD regularly sits in the parking lot that faces Canal Street and pulls over anyone who runs that light. Don’t kid yourself, and please don’t spread incorrect information.

  12. Sure, shift the problem to Greens Farms! 🛑

  13. Nice try but I don’t believe a light at the top of the 18 east bound exit solves any problem. Maybe Saugatuck gets a bit of a break but Greens Farms picks up the difference. To reduce the number of cars getting off 95 things need to be done to discourage them from doing do! Keeping in mind that many if not most of the commuters getting off 95 these days do not even live in Westport! Steps like putting a specially timed green light of exit 8 only ENABLES them to take that exit. Regarding Greens Farms Road, at least, I would like to see a BLINKING RED LIGHT positioned, say, at the turnoff to the Greens Farms RR station. A blinking red light serves the same purpose as a stop sign. But the light can also be timed to operate during certain time periods….ideally 2-2/12 hours during the AM and PM rush hour timeframes. Conceptually, this sounds like a fairly straightforward and not overly expensive thing to do, with no blinking lights lasting all day/night. There is plenty of room in that area to have a right and left turn lane for train commuters to access the RR parking lot without an unusual delay.

  14. Robbie Guimond

    I agree, the 18 off ramp is a joke! Maybe creating two left turn lanes to coincide with the two lane connector it empties on to? The current single file isn’t suitable to the flow the connector can handle with ease. almost like they didn’t complete that egress when it was built.

    Jimmy hit the nail thou , we have the luxury of major corridor access right out our door steps and with that comes the “tax” of pass thru traffic, can’t have both unless your crazy or drunk enough to block GF road with your Benz wagon and golden as back up (that was hilarious) .

    entitled ridiculousness aside , maybe pedestrian and bike accessible ideas could offer relief? The commuter lots would look great with scooters and bikes instead of station cars, but to promote the Range Rover staying in the garage we need provide safe passage.

    A example of not having this would be the cross walks at bridge st. and riverside ave. , one would think safe passage demands the lights turning all red when pressing the button allowing abit of time to move along , in its current configuration we have to slowly sprint right at the switch of yellow to red…. but that means getting eye contact of the driver in a rush to “punch it” on green.

    Still can’t believe the cross guard suggested we shouldn’t be walking thanksgiving eve.

    Happy New Year!

  15. Exit 18 onto Sherwood Island Connector, no left turn onto Greens Farms Road from 7:00-9:00am. This would help reduce the southbound 95 traffic using GFR / Bridge Street as a parallel pass through road.

    The Cribari Bridge, Bridge St and GFR get backed up on morning rush hour daily – hindering Westporters ability to use our own roads, even if only to leave town.

    This further backs up connecting roads, such as Imperial Avenue where I live. On many days *I cannot exit my driveway* because of the pass through traffic problem.

  16. UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO THERE WAS A RIGHT TURN LANE FROM RIVERSIDE ONTO CHARLES STREET. NOW WITHOUT IT FEWER CARS MAKE IT THRU THE LIGHT BACKING TRAFFIC UP TO THE CRIBARI BRIDGE AT MORNING RUSH HOUR. RESTRIPE AND RESTORE THE TURNING LANE.

  17. A- The people who didn’t like the traffic being shifted from exit 17 to 18 are as wrong as you can possibly be. That was the whole point- shifting traffic away from the quagmire at the train station to the empty Sherwood Island connector

    B- The winning idea was Paul Muller- the right on red by Coffee An. They should replace the “No turn on red sign” with one that says “Right On Red after FULL Stop”
    Do that and change the timing of the Light to give more Green time to those heading North on Canal Street and you will eliminate a major delay point in town

    C.kudos to Betty meisel for her arrows at
    Roseville and the Post Road. Much needed
    Marvelous idea Mrs Meisel

    D. Deej Webb is absolutely correct about
    reducing left turns onto the Post Road… but you’d need some ‘turn-arounds’ like the one in front of Torno Lumber

    E. Nancy Rinaldi rang true with her
    ‘missed opportunity’ to fix the intersection at 33 and the Post Road. Improvement needs Real Estate. Sad to say, the town missed a similar opportunity with the Real Estate at the Daybreak Nursery- that land could have been used to improve those intersections just south of exit 42.

    I felt empathy for those who wanted to restrict out of towners from getting off the highways in search of short – cuts thru town. But I didn’t see in their comments a realistic suggestion of how to turn it into reality