Sustainable Westport: Town Needs “Holistic Transportation Plan”

Sustainable Westport inspires, supports and connects residents, organizations and the town on our goal to becoming a Net Zero community by 2050.

The non-profit advises the first selectman, Westport Public Schools, commissions and departments on determining and setting environmental policies and decisions, to transform Westport into a more sustainable community.

Co-directors Gately Ross & Johanna Martell say:

As commuters head back to work after summer vacations and school drop-offs and pick-ups resume, it’s hard not to notice the recent uptick in traffic throughout Westport.

The major roads in town are a mess of congestion most of the day. Traffic is not only frustrating and inconvenient, but also terribly unhealthy for us and our local environment.

Just another day downtown.

Did you know that the promotion of clean and convenient choices for transportation is one of the 5 pillars that Sustainable Westport identified as critical for the town of Westport to address to reach its goal of becoming a Net Zero community by 2050, or sooner?

Sustainable Westport works to educate the community about the harmful health and environmental effects of idling, promote the adoption of emission-free EV cars and buses, and advocate for the use of public transportation and rideshare options like Wheels2U.

Our transportation efforts pair nicely with Bike Westport, a new grassroots organization dedicated to making our town more bike and pedestrian-friendly.

The benefits of biking and walking extend far beyond the environment; our health, both physical and mental, age-appropriate independence, and increased community are also benefits that the residents of Westport wholeheartedly endorse.

Imke Lohs, Adam Ganser and Markus Marty of Bike Westport. 

As counsel to the municipal government, Sustainable Westport recently wrote a memo of support regarding an additional increase to railroad parking fees as an opportunity to begin the conversation about developing a holistic transportation plan that supports our collective goals.

The town administration, Representative Town Meeting and Board of Education need to develop a more comprehensive transportation plan that includes a highly connected, zero pollution, zero carbon transport system, including commuter shuttles and ridesharing, as well as biking, footpaths, and pedestrian walkways.

Although our town has set a formal resolution to reach Net Zero by 2050, we lack an actionable, comprehensive plan to get there. As we look around at the increasing traffic and inability to get from Point A to Point B in Westport in a timely manner, let’s demand that our leaders seek out collaborative and innovative solutions to move us forward. 

 We will continue to keep you posted on our collective progress.


17 responses to “Sustainable Westport: Town Needs “Holistic Transportation Plan”

  1. What? Increase parking fees to save the planet? Is Chicken Little in charge? You need $10 toll booths all over town. Cars pay $10 bikers get $10! Westport Saves‼️

  2. Priscilla Hawk

    Knowing the traffic situation, how can anyone promote the plans to build up Saugatuck with new office buildings, tourist boat rides from the bridge to downtown and more congestion increasing nonsense?

  3. Hope Hageman

    Precisely, Priscilla! Concepts such as the Hamlet fill me with dread and despair. The small group of Westporters pushing this plan show a blithe disdain not only for the rest of Westport but also for the future of our planet.

    • John McCarthy

      Hope, Our RTM voted 35-1 to uphold the zoning decisions that are allowing the Hamlet. If the Representatives are correctly reading (and then representing) the pulse of the town, that would indicate that practically all of the town is in favor of the Hamlet development. And might want even similar projects around town.

      Or did the RTM Representatives vote to simply & genteely “Stay In Their Own Lane” so as not to upset other boards & commissions? Thoughts?

  4. Kristin Schneeman

    I couldn’t agree more that there is a need for a more holistic approach to these issues, and unfortunately no one in Town Hall seems to “own” them. The district-specific meetings on traffic and safety and the new Safe Streets for All planning process are good steps but do not amount to a vision or a strategy. On the RTM’s agenda for its Oct. 3rd meeting is the first reading of a proposal to create a new a Traffic, Transportation, and Parking
    Advisory Committee, initiated by Brien Buckman and co-sponsored by myself and a number of other RTM members, in an effort to provide more direction and impetus to the Town to take action. We hope it will get to a vote of the full RTM at its November 14th meeting, so please stay tuned and provide RTM members with your feedback. Many thanks to Sustainable Westport for spotlighting these issues!

  5. Ciara webster

    John, very funny that you bring that up. I was just speaking with a friend the other day about it.
    My guesstimate is that in a referendum, 24,000 out of 28,000 were against the hamlet.
    Kind of crazy that the vote went 33/34-1( Matt Mandell abstained)
    But not remotely representative of the publics( voters) outspoken opinion.
    Who was the only rtm who spoke for the majority of the town ?
    Oh it was Sal Liccione. Imagine that.
    Herin lies the problem. It is not up to rtm members to have a “personal opinion “ on these matters.
    It is their job to be the voice of the residents who elected them.
    With the hamlet that most certainly did NOT happen.
    Almost exclusively the support for the hamlet came from investors and their buddies
    Quel surprise

    • Bill Strittmatter

      It’s debatable about how large a majority in Westport would oppose the Hamlet if it came to a referendum. Certainly if you only take commenters on Dan’s blog, it’s probably a loser. However, it is far from certain that Dan’s blog commenters are representative of Westport as a whole.

      I suspect that a whole lot of folks don’t REALLY care that much one way or the other while there are a lot of folks that think the area around the train station looks like, relatively speaking, a dump and wouldn’t mind redevelopment along the lines of the Gault property notwithstanding residual concerns about the impact on traffic which already is quite bad at times due to the “traffic quieting” bridge.

      Having said that, you might be right that in an up/down referendum, the Hamlet would, in a vacuum, go down to defeat. On the other hand, in a vote between a) proceeding with a negotiated Hamlet and b) having the town engage in potentially expensive and almost certainly losing 8-30g litigation ending up with something worse than the Hamlet, there is a reasonable chance the Hamlet would win. I wasn’t there but, directionally, I suspect town government and the RTM understood that. If so, thank goodness for representative democracy rather than mob rule.

  6. Ciara webster

    But Bill, is that not, a very concerning statistic, that let’s say half the town would have\not supported the hamlet, the fact that the rtm vote was not 15-15 is seriously a problem
    The fact that one man had the balls to speak for all ! And I am guessing that was a very scary moment for Sal Liccione, to hold strong to his conviction( which was based upon public safety and environment . He, I believe is not at all anti development.
    But we have clearly bigger issues..
    the rtm moderator has shown his bias against rtms like Sal, for the very reason they stand up for their constituents. UNACCEPTABLE!
    That Bias is unacceptable, as is the rhetoric. And thank god we have other avenues…
    Does the town of Westport want to be involved in multiple law suits or does the town of Westport want to progress ?
    Your thoughts ?

    • Bill Strittmatter

      Not a concerning statistic at all. If, for example, 52% of each RTM district was in favor of the Hamlet and the RTM members are doing what the majority of their constituents want, one might expect a unanimous vote in favor, not a 15/15 tie. If not, in theory someone is voting against the will of the majority of the people that elected them.

      Of course, some RTM members might be getting different feedback on any particular subject, or no feedback at all, in which case one would expect them to use their judgement which is, presumably, why they were elected. Of course, with most RTM elections uncontested, you could get all sorts of odd results.

      But it is unlikely that it was a simple yes/no RTM vote on the Hamlet. If it was a vote between the Hamlet or something potentially much worse, the results are even less surprising.

      In simple terms, few people would ask to get punched in the face so would vote against that proposition. However, if the choice was being punched in the face or hit with a baseball bat in the face, I’m guessing most folks would be overjoyed that their representatives voted unanimously for the punch. Of course, if they didn’t understand the baseball bat alternative, they’d be pissed when they got punched in the face.

  7. Ciara webster

    Nah ! The rtm didn’t have a clue what they were voting on… but chose to be coerced etc…
    Please Bill.. folks cannot be that stupid… and if they are they should not have a say. And should not be on the rtm. Bottom Line.
    End of the day right or wrong you vote with your electors. No politics… common sense… not your point of view but your electors….

    Pro business !
    And this administration is the most anti business administration I’ve seen in years

    Scary shit

  8. Ciara webster.

    Again bill ! In a referendum I’m seeing 75-90% of the town against the lovely hamlet investment project, which we still question who the investors are….. but have very large suspicions… I’m pretty sure I can name a bunch !
    Therefore I see 28 members of the rtm against it IF they represented their electors correctly… but haven’t the balls to.
    Yikes not taking into account 8 districts are not contested and we get stuck with whoever…. Literally… bummer !

  9. Ciara webster

    As to Kristin schneeman, seriously.. it takes till the 1 month pre election for you to try and canvass and try to appeal to your residents whom you were ready to screw over on the access road ?
    Sal Liccione looked for your and Nancy kails help 1/ months ago on parked Harding access road… he sounded all the alarms. You ignored him completely. You gals just didn’t want to commit.
    I think you were also the same sneak who reported Sal for having an opinion on transit and tried to screw him over on just having a difference of opinion with you!
    Problem is you lost royally there , cos what a surprise Sal has a right to say “whatever” he likes… and you don’t get to say no.
    Oh no ! Quel surprise…. Maybe should have a charrette about that.
    Yes ppl still have rights in America… one being their right to say what they feel and not get fired for it. ESP when his constituents elected him. Not you !
    But that’s ok you paid him back by ruining his transit chances. Good job !
    So now…since you are still my district 9 rep, I’d like to know what went on today with parking in the downtown !
    I have no interest in my parking for my customers being on a possibly you are lucky basis… that my friend is ANTI. Business. So what happened today ? ! In D9
    . And fyi I am a resident and merchant !
    And how often can I expect this ?

  10. Ciara webster

    That was not 1/month. It was 18 months ago… yes folks… 18 months ago we started fighting Parker Harding.

  11. Unbelievably, this thread is closed to further comments. Hard to believe a post about sustainability has gotten so nasty. Very disappointing.