Westport traffic sucks.
It did not take 9 public meetings last spring for town officials to realize that.
But the sessions — one for each RTM district — were informative. 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and officials from the Police, Fire, Public Works and Planning & Zoning Departments listened to complaint after complaint.
Some were general: Speeders! Red light abusers! Unsafe crosswalks!
Others were specific: The South Compo/Greens Farms/Bridge Street light needs work. Prohibiting left turns from the Sherwood Island connector to Greens Farms Road would cut down on Waze drivers. Build sidewalks on North Compo.
All were heard, and noted.
Yesterday — following an extensive review of all 370-plus comments — the Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Task Force issued their report.
“Intersections” drew the most concern (21 percent of comments). Then came sidewalks (16 percent), followed by heavy traffic (13), speeding (12), crosswalks (7), enforcement (4), parking and signage (3 percent each).
The data has been sorted into 3 “buckets,” in terms of priorities. The green (“go!”) bucket is for ongoing projects, those related to scheduled maintenance, and those that would take only a modicum of planning and effort to accomplish.
The second bucket — yellow (“caution!”) — is for projects with longer time frames (a year, to several years). They require more research, planning and permitting.
The third bucket is red (“stop!”). Those projects are outside the town’s jurisdiction, or are too cost-prohibitive or difficult to implement.
The report also notes that since the first meeting last spring, Westport police made 2,319 traffic stops targeting areas of concern. They wrote 729 citations, and made 17 arrests for driving under the influence, plus 16 misdemeanor arrests for traffic-related offenses.
Another result of the meetings was the formation of a Traffic Safety Unit. Based on the 9 RTM meetings, Police Chief Foti Koskinas and his department identified 55 Westport sites where targeted enforcement could help. Some might be where drivers routinely plow through lights or stop signs; others might attract particularly aggressive or fast (even for Westport) drivers.
Tooker says: “As I acknowledged during the course of the meetings, the issues and concerns will not go away overnight. But these meetings and the recognition from all the residents who participated are an important first step.”
Meanwhile, the Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Task Force will continue to meet twice a year.
They’ll have plenty to talk about.
(Click here for the full Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Task Force report. The appendixes include the green, yellow and red bucket items.)
(Stuck in traffic? Consider a donation to “06880.” Please click here — and thank you!)
A left turn prohibition from Connector to Greens Farms Rd would be just kicking the can down the road to the PR…stupid but, not to worry, it’s never gonna’ happen….never.
Why are people driving so fast ?
Couldn’t attend but did anyone bring up the fact that people speed thru Cumberland farms congested parking lot to avoid waiting for green light on Post Rd. This happens constantly when their are more than 4 cars waiting to make right turn onto Post. One day someone will get run over exiting the store. This is definitely a green bucket ! This task force could write citations everyday, please do before their is a victim of this aggressive driving.
Westport’s roads were built for horse drawn wagons. My grandfather didn’t have a problem in 1911 delivering milk in a buckboard! Too slow you say? Bring back the trolley.
I’d like to see a comparison of the number of tickets issued before and after the creation of the Traffic Safety Unit once it’s been in effect for a year. I still never see traffic enforcement in town, and I drive through some of the worst-offending spots daily.
As for this report as a whole, it’s disappointing to see the town rule out sidewalks for Compo Road North as too costly, while not actually stating what the cost would be. Sidewalks on this street would link heavily-used town facilities (the ball fields, tennis courts, and Winslow Pak) to downtown and to all the shops at the Compo/Post Road nexus, creating a huge swath of town that’s truly walkable to a host of Westport amenities. That seems like a worthy investment, even if a big one, rather than the sidewalks to nowhere we see all over town.
I would make a suggestion considering the Finance Committee just allotted 200K$ for a “study” on the intersections of North @ Cross and North @ Bayberry. Put up some traffic lights. This folksy four way stop signs intersections may have worked in the 80’s+ here but no longer. Too many cars.