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Traffic Safety: Someone Is Listening

Everyone* complains about traffic, pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Someone is listening.

Actually, several someones.

Every Thursday this spring, there’s a public meeting at Town Hall. Members of the Police, Public Works and Planning & Zoning Departments set up a mic, then listen as the public provides input about the worst spots, and (sometimes) suggests fixes.

The meetings are organized by RTM district, so the focus is hyperlocal.

This past Thursday, I went to my own District 9 meeting. 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas were in the audience, along with our 4 Representative Town Meeting members.

RTM District 9 member Kristin Schneeman addressed the traffic and safety meeting. In the row next to her are fellow RTM reps Nancy Kail, Lori Church and Sal Liccione.

With the Post Road, Route 136 and 33, several major roads and the Saugatuck River crisscrossing our district, we have special challenges.**

Residents described issues with traffic lights, lack of sidewalks (North Compo), speeding drivers (and boaters), noise, and not enough police enforcement

As each speaker mentioned an area, Google Street View showed the problem on a big screen.

When a speaker mentioned safety issues on North Compo Road, members of the Police, Public Works and Planning & Zoning Departments listened — and looked. 

Solutions are not easy. Many District 9 roads — and others throughout Westport — are controlled by the state. Something as simple signage and changing traffic light cycles takes time; adding sidewalks involves taking private property and knocking down retaining walls. Town and state funds are limited.

But town officials were attentive. They took notes. They answered questions.

And — when possible — they offered immediate solutions. If vegetations obscures a sign or inhibits sight lines, for example, call Police or Public Works. They’ll take care of it.

“Thanks for active listening,” one District 9 resident said. Her neighbors nodded in agreement.

Three meetings remain. All begin at 7 p.m., in the Town Hall auditorium. Click here for a map of RTM districts. 

*Including some of the worst offenders.

** I know, I know. Every other RTM district is special too.

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