RTM March Meeting: Sidewalks And Schools

This is Peter Gold’s report on the March Representative Town Meeting. He is an RTM member writing for himself, not in an official capacity.

Schools and sidewalks — including sidewalks to schools — were the subject of the March RTM meeting.

The RTM unanimously approved $467,927 for design costs for new roofs at Staples High School and Saugatuck Elementary Schools (actual construction costs will) follow, and $280,364 to install a replacement cooling tower at Greens Farms School. These projects will be completed this summer.

During the debate, school administrators noted they have identified approximately $60 million in capital projects over the next 5 years. Around $12 million will be spent on these projects in the next 2 years, in part to address deferred maintenance.

The RTM also approved $515,000 for 2 sidewalk projects. $350,000 will be used to replace 1.3 miles of the existing sidewalk on North Avenue from Cross Highway up to Coleytown Middle School, completing a walking path all the way from Long Lots School to Coleytown.

Construction last summer of the North Avenue sidewalk. (Photo/Michael Fleming)

The remaining $165,000 is for replacement of the existing sidewalk on Maple Avenue South, between Clapboard Hill Road and the Post Road.  The state will reimburse the town $128,295 of this amount. Both projects are expected to be completed over the next 2 summers.

The Town has 23.4 miles of sidewalk, and repairs about 6.3 miles every year.  Decisions on which sidewalks to repair are based on many factors, including proximity to schools, conditions of the sidewalks and pedestrian use. The town also prioritizes repairing existing sidewalks over building new ones.

Several RTM members suggested it would be prudent to fund a more proactive approach to planning, building and maintaining the sidewalk network.

8 responses to “RTM March Meeting: Sidewalks And Schools

  1. Chip Stephens SHS 73

    Thanks Peter and Dan I believe the most dangerous road with out needed sidewalks is:
    COMPO Road North (CT 136) which runs from the downtown area to Main St and along the way passes Winslow Park, the Women Shelter, and the Compo North ball fields and Tennis Courts The existing road without sidewalks on either side consists of hills and blind turns which have pedestrians and bikes following road sides which are nor marked, many areas put walkers in the active road or on abutting properties with sloped unpaved area.
    Personally, I have often dodged groups of kids in the road heading to the ballfields, young women returning from shopping to home, and strollers ln the road ahead of walking parents (or nannies).
    Repair of existing walkways is good but not as critical, as is adding walkways to roads with already existing sidewalks on one side as the most recent Main Street project.
    Others have spoken out but no action beyond that it is in “the plans”.
    Forewarned in print.

  2. Susan Iseman

    I agree with Chip! I live in that neighborhood and it’s increasingly hazardous. Since it’s a “state road” is it even possible to add sidewalks? The speeding is an issue too, of course.

    • Peter Barlow

      Stonington is about to put in some sidewalks along the Post Road here so I guess being a state road is not a problem.

  3. Cheryl McKenna

    I too agree with Chip on this issue. I would add Main Street from Compo road past the cemetery to Donut An … many many people walk this to downtown past the cemetery and it is in very bad condition in front of the small houses before you reach the shopping center. District 9 RTM people where are you on this issue ?

  4. A couple of years ago they made route 136 ( south compo rd) an official scenic road. I think it is the most walked rd in Westport besides Beachside Ave from Compo to Old Mill Beach. I don’t see many people walking the North Ave walk, so … wouldn’t it be nice if they made South Compo the next sidewalk on their list? ( I know, I live on South Compo).

  5. Donald Bergmann

    Just an aesthetic comment on sidewalks, I always found sidewalks that have a divider space between the edge of the sidewalk and the curb more attractive than sidewalks which abut the curb. It cannot always be done, poles, easements and the like being at issue, but where it does make sense I continue to hope that the DPW tries to provide such spaces. I also believe it is considered preferable among the sidewalk design experts.
    Don Bergmann

  6. Sal Liccione - District 9 RTM member

    As a district 9 rtm member I have always supported sidewalks on compo road north I have ask jim Marpe before I was elected and still ask him no answer we need sidewalks on north reach out to me anytime Cheryl I do support it contact me ok

  7. My priority would be to have contiguous sidewalks along the entire stretch of Post Road so we can safely walk from one end of town to the other. This would be convenient for Greens Farms Elementary School as well.