The Sidewalks Of Westport

With Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools closed, it may be a while since you’ve driven on North Avenue.

If you have, you’ve noticed construction underway on a new sidewalk. It parallels the old one, from Long Lots Road north to Cross Highway. But it’s closer to the road, with no grass strip in between.

The old sidewalk was separated from North Avenue by a grass strip …

What’s up with that? several readers wondered.

I asked Peter Ratkiewich. The Public Works director said the new sidewalk will be 5 feet wide, elevated above the road by a 6-inch concrete curb. For the most part, it will run along the edge of the road. In certain areas with obstructions, it will deviate from the road edge.

The old sidewalk — parts of which were over 30 years old — will be removed entirely. That area will be restored with topsoil and seed.

… while the new one will not be. (Photos/Michael Fleming)

The new construction will facilitate maintenance (including winter, when it must be plowed or shoveled).

This is the same method of construction used all over town. The North Avenue sidewalk will look very similar to the one on Imperial Avenue, built about 6 years ago and hailed by many residents.

North Avenue resident Michael Fleming is not pleased, however. He started a petition asking the town to retain the sidewalk buffers.

The Imperial Avenue sidewalk.

In other sidewalk news, Public Works has nearly completed a new sidewalk on Maple Avenue North. They’ll start the Myrtle Avenue project soon.

Ratkiewich is still waiting for word from the state on the Riverside Avenue reconstruction project. It will include some sidewalk replacement.

The Main Street sidewalk project has been submitted to the state for final review. He hopes to have that project underway before fall.

Next year, Ratkiewich hopes to rebuild the Hillspoint Road sidewalk from Old Mill Beach to Greens Farms Road, and the Compo Road South sidewalk from the Post Road to Bridge Street.

The North Avenue project was scheduled before COVID-19. And yes, the lack of traffic has made the work easier.


15 responses to “The Sidewalks Of Westport

  1. Susan Iseman

    Glad to see some much needed sidewalks, but we need them in many More places. As a daily walker, I’d love to see them on Compo North…and I’m sure there are many other streets on everyone’s wish list. Heard Gov Cuomo is heading to DC today to speak with tweetie about infrastructure and what a great job creating project that would be for the country. Good luck, Governor.

    • Adrian Hinojos

      Ditto, we need sidewalks on North Compo Rd. It would make it better for residents and improve access to the baseball and tennis courts.

  2. Stacy Prince

    It would be wonderful if every road in town was a “complete roadway” — a term I learned at a March traffic forum. I hate risking my life on Lyons Plains every time I go out for a walk.

  3. Kuku Fleming

    The town should not remove the safety strip from sidewalks. The strip provides a safety buffer for pedestrians and for young children who bike and walk on the sidewalk. There are many reckless drivers, and every once in a while we see them swerve onto a sidewalk. The extra separation makes that less likely.

  4. Arlenene Clawson

    What about Bayberry? It would make it much safer for pedestrians to walk.

  5. Great they are doing this!

    • Tara Tesoriero

      We desperately need sidewalks on Compo North! It’s a very dangerous round with bends. It’s so scary to walk from Main Street or Cross Highway to Town Farms, Winslow, or the Post Road. This is a major artery and should be sidewalked.

  6. Kathy Belzer

    Dan – or anyone else – does anyone know if there is a town committee to work on this? I would love to participate on this project. We need to connect downtown to the train station to the beach to the farmers market, etc. This would be an incredible addition to our town.

  7. Wendy Cusick

    Just an observation and question…
    What do you folks do with your mailboxes without the grass there to bury the post?
    During winter time the plow will push the snow and knock over the mailbox.

  8. Bobbi Essagof

    Good question about the mailboxes. My first thought was that they were widening the walks to allow for social distancing!

  9. Jen Meerow

    Anyone know what is happening with Myrtle Ave sidewalk and crosswalk project? Also another big vote for sidewalks on Compo North, so badly needed!

    • Wendy Cusick

      My theory is more road work needs to done. I drove down Elm to Church.
      All the utilities are marked. They’re probably waiting to finish that and then fix Myrtle.
      This is just observation and opinion…

  10. Don Bergmann

    Many years ago, the Town, then under Diane Farrell, re did the sidewalk along Hillspoint Rd. starting at the end of the grass area between Hillspoint Rd. and Old Mill Beach and continuing until the private home on Hillspoint Rd. The property owners had granted an easement a long time ago for the sidewalk and that easement provided room for a grass strip area between the sidewalk and the road. Notwithstanding my efforts and those of others in the area, our Public Works Dept. built the new sidewalk to abut the road. Public works claimed it made snow removal easier. That claim was unfounded. Whenever possible, usually almost always, a grass strip between the sidewalk and the road should be part of any sidewalk construction. First, it is much more attractive. Second, it is probably safer, and third, there is no improvement to snow removal in eliminating the grass strip. I will write to Peter Ratkiewich and Jim Marpe on this issue.

    Don Bergmann

  11. I live in the Greenfield Hill area of Fairfield, where there are no sidewalks. However, I walk frequently on several different routes. For those of you who are nervous about walking where there are no sidewalks, do as I do — walk against traffic, rather than with it. That way, if you see a car approaching, and it looks too close, just move to the left a few feet. Voila! Out of your difficulty at once.

  12. Alexis Donnerstag

    Would love to see a wider sidewalk on South Compo under the railroad bridge.