If you were in Westport last week — the public schools’ spring break — you know how light the traffic was.
The Post Road, Riverside and Saugatuck Avenue — wherever there’s usually congestion, it’s been full speed ahead.
Some drivers were too impatient, even when traffic is light.
An alert — and partly shaken up, partly enraged — “06880” reader sent not one but two clips from her dashcam. She stitched them together, in the video below.
The first shows someone heading southbound on Bayberry Lane, toward Long Lots Road. A small truck ahead of him or her isn’t moving fast enough, so — right at the 25 MPH speed limit sign, of all places — the driver crosses the double line and blows past.
The second part catches a driver who does not even slow down at the 4-way Cross Highway/North Avenue intersection. He or she roars straight through — also toward Long Lots.
A few seconds later both the dashcam driver and another, heading the opposite direction, stop at the stop sign.
Both are safe.
(“06880” is your hyper-local — and hyper-vigilant — blog. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)
“Hey! Let’s be careful out there!”
I recall Dave Eason writing a few months ago that the number of traffic citations written daily now is a fraction of those made in his days on the force. Did anyone ever confront WPD to confirm or explain this?
I was told by a police officer that any revenue coming from speeding tickets goes to the state of CT. No incentive.
So what? It’s always been that way. That’s not the point..
If you don’t think money is the key behind anything that happens in this town, you are clueless.
This goes on constantly, everywhere.
This is so troubling, and sadly so common. Someone nearly ran into me when he swerved into my lane without looking and then flipped me off when I beeped! What’s the answer???
It’s becoming apparent that the “traffic safety unit” within WPD that was trumpeted by the Tooker/Moore admin as a response to a major constituent complaint has been a failure. WPD promptly stopped reporting or compiling traffic safety statistics after the purported creation of this unit so there is no way to track enforcement activity, and I’ve seen no evidence of increased WPD traffic enforcement in town.
Since this blog heralded the creation of the unit, I’d hope it will get a statement on the record from the current admin or WPD about exactly why it cannot report the statistics that would prove or disprove that the purported traffic safety unit is fulfilling its promise and exactly what activities this unit is engaged in.
We pay police officers $250k+ per year and fund huge pensions upon their retirement to work in a town with next to no serious crime. Our department is a parody of a wealthy suburban police force, best known for having a Tesla and for a police chief who spends his time attending the opening of every envelope clad in $400 sneakers. The least we can expect from is some measure of accountability from WPD and Tooker/Moore that they are doing what they say they are doing on traffic safety.
Tooker/Moore ran on a platform of continuing business as usual in Westport. Those who consider traffic safety a major issue in town should bear that in mind come the next election.
Although I assiduously avoid getting into debates on social media, I feel compelled to respond to your mean-spirited comment. While I agree with you that traffic safety data should be reported publicly, I WHOLLY DISAGREE with your disparaging comments about Chief Foti and the WPD. Additional traffic enforcement, esp in the age of waze directing IMMENSE traffic onto our local roads, requires add’l personnel. This is controlled by the Tooker/Moore administration (with buy-in by the BOF & RTM) and is completely out of the control of the WPD themselves!
With regard to the WPD, in only the past few weeks, there have been multiple recent incidents at the schools including a car crashing into Staples at high speed and a potential threat of school violence by a student on social media. In each case, the WPD reacted with speed, precision and care to protect our community. The CT Racial Profiling Project rigorously analyzes data to address the racial profiling of drivers by police across CT, including rampant profiling in many of our neighboring towns, and consistently finds that the WPD does not demonstrate any racial bias in traffic stops. This didn’t just happen – it is the culmination of YEARS of effort, training and care led by Chief Foti to address bias in policing. Moreover, as any crime victim can tell you, the detectives of the WPD are thoughtful, compassionate, thorough and responsive. Our marine police are laser focused on safety and always willing to put themselves in harm’s way to save lives. Have you ever had to call them with an emergency on the Sound? The WPD operates with a limited budget for personnel which the Chief manages to ensure the greatest protection for our community. The $250K salaries you reference include tremendous overtime hours that many officers choose to work after hours helping direct traffic. Much of the overtime is also private work, paid for by whoever hires the officers. Given the high cost of living in CT, do you begrudge officers the opportunity to supplement their income? It’s already next to impossible for public employees like the police, firefighters and town employees to afford to live in this town.
With regard to Chief Foti, he shows up to numerous community events because he is modeling small-town community policing and he makes himself available – often on his own time – to be present. Chief Foti volunteers multiple times a year to help at food drives for Homes With Hope, to work out with wounded vets at fundraisers, to help raise funds for the Wakeman Town Farm, and to do pushups in public to raise $$ for the Hole in the Wall camps. He just volunteered his time to participate in a panel about the importance of reporting LBGTQIA+ hate crimes. I’d hardly characterize these as “opening of the envelope” events. As for your comment about Chief Foti’s choice of footwear…why do you care what shoes the chief wears?! He is a hardworking adult who has the right to dress out of uniform as he pleases. And men (and boys) wear pretty fancy kicks these days. Maybe Chief Foti’s wife bought him the sneakers that so offend you? Maybe his daughters did? Why do you care about his footwear? Don’t walk into Mitchell’s or Shoe-Inn and look at the women’s sneakers or you might lose it entirely!! Omg I am wearing Gucci loafers typing this but is that permissible because I am a woman?
Lastly, your comments about police pensions are out of date – https://www.epi.org/blog/why-is-wealthy-westport-trying-to-gut-police-pensions/
Seriously, Richard – I understand frustration with regard to traffic issues and frustration if data is not posted in a timely fashion but your insults to the WPD and the chief are simply off the mark. I hope you’ll reconsider your “parody” remark. And, if you’d like to see more traffic enforcement (which we def need!), lobby the BOS to dedicate more money in next year’s budget towards add’l police officers.
Hi Danielle, I appreciate your work for the town and acknowledge my comment was a bit acerbic. While I also appreciate your spirited defense of the WPD and the police chief (and the right to expensive shoes!), I don’t think it’s fair to characterize that as an “attack.” Nor did my comment lay this solely at their feet (I pointed to Tooker/Moore and noted ultimately this is on them).
My point’s pretty simple: we clearly have a well-resourced department, in a low-crime town, with well-paid officers. We were promised a traffic safety unit that was to consist of two full-time officers whose “sole focus will be to mitigate the traffic related issues affecting the Westport community” through “targeted motor vehicle enforcement on our area roadways with an emphasis on aggressive and distracted driving.” (That’s from the town/WPD press release.)
That doesn’t seem to be happening, if you read 06880 comments or spend a lot of time driving around town, as I do. Why? And why did the WPD stop reporting traffic stats? Does anyone really buy that they couldn’t report them if they wanted to? It sounds like you don’t know the answer to those questions, either. Are you not troubled by that?
If I thought we needed additional funding, I’d advocate for it. But the traffic safety unit is fully funded. I’d like to know that it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing before throwing more money at the problem. Do you disagree?
Given what people report as critical safety issues presented by the lack of traffic enforcement in Westport nearly weekly on this blog, I’d rather see the police chief with a speed gun than at a ribbon-cutting. You might disagree, and that’s okay. There’s also a much larger debate about police officer overtime, which is not as simple as you suggest. That’s way outside the scope of this conversation.
All requests for police department funding are created by the department personnel assigned to determining the departments requirements for the ensuing year in planning for an adequate level of protective services. The request, as part of the municipal budget, is then acted upon by the Board of Finance and ultimately the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). I believe that if Chief Foti felt the department was underfunded it would surface during the annual budget hearings. Pointing a finger at the Board of Selectwomen is a little off base in my opinion.
REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER.
No enforcement, no compliance..
Sounds like something they used to teach police recruits but don’t any more.
Chief Sam Luciano (is he any relation to those dastardly sign criminals at Luciano Paving?) must be rolling over in his grave. There once was a time in Westport that if you even thought privately (for example, while you were taking your morning dump and trying to figure out who used up all the toilet paper) about seeing how fast the family car could go on Greens Farms Rd you’d get a ticket. Newsflash: Just because the current chief is a Staples grad doesn’t make him the second coming of Christ. We don’t need a City Manager (unless Tim Honey SHS ‘64 will return to take the job) we just need department managers who can prioritize and execute intelligently. Back to Basics. Libraries exist to lend books not ban them. Everything else is mission creep.
This is a constant occurrence. I don’t understand why traffic enforcement seems to be a low priority for our elected officials. Park yourself at any intersection in town, and within minutes you will see red light violations. If we the driving public see them everywhere, why is enforcing our traffic laws so ineffectual?
So, having low crime means that the WPD are overpaid? Here’s a revolutionary thought: Maybe they’re doing a good job.
This is a BS thread. When your child has died because some asshole in his new EV Range Rover thinks speed limits are for tRumpers only you’ll wish you’d made Sheriff Andy Taylor (SHS who TF cares) do his job but it’ll be too late.
Why don;t you call the police?
There’s No enforcement on Compo Road North. NONE! LARGE Dump trucks & many cars traveling twice the speed limit; this on a road that has hundreds of little leaguers and tennis players. Mothers pushing baby carriages is a every day occurrence. Asks yourself, where in Westport can I drive most recklessly, where children play and feel confident there’s NO compliance. Being retired, we witness unimaginable reckless driving every hour of everyday. Our pleas for any enforcement go unheeded.
Today, I saw at least four cops doing some traffic control on North Avenue. That said, on each of the last 3 days, the traffic has been backed up from North@Cross to just below the entry to Punch Bowl Drive at 5:30 p.m. Stop signs do NOT work anymore. A traffic light with a cop stationed there moving traffic should do the trick instead of spending 200K$ on a “study.” There are too many cars with the same roads as in 1950.
If I have one broader frustration with enforcement, it is that we could all pretty much list the five or ten worst roads/intersections in Westport. The places where we could use some enforcement. And sometimes it seems like the WPD specifically avoids those sites.
I feel like I see one of their vehicles in the 1505 PRE lot (basically the intersection of Post and Maple) whenever I leave the house. I think, “great, maybe they’ll pull one of the many people who run the red light every day,” but I never see that. (Admittedly, they might just be permanently stationed there to be ready for the next robbery at Ulta Beauty.)
I never see anyone monitoring the Post/Riverside intersection, which is about the worst in Town.
I am not criticizing the job that the rank and file do, but I am not clear on the priorities in what, as someone mentioned, is a low crime town.
Many of us old Westporters certainly feel the town has changed significantly since Covid and it seems, our recent inhabitants have an attitude of entitlement? This mindset coupled with an administration which seems to more concerned about attracting businesses here rather than the safety and security of our present residents, is ballooning this town into a small city, where is fashionable to be in a hurry. We need a CITY MANAGER, not a reinsurance executive Republican from Dallas.