Roundup: Traffic Task Force, Compo Beach Playground, Halloween Weekend …

Two dozen residents heard an update last night from the Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Task Force, at Town Hall.

Representatives from the Police, Fire and Public Works Departments, and town operations director Tom Kiely, offered updates on the coordinated effort to identify and address trouble spots.

They provided statistics — 491 special enforcement details over the past 6 months, and 2,526 traffic stops — along with tangible actions, like a new 4-way stop sign at Hillandale and West Parish Roads, and sidewalks on Main Street, Compo Road North and Cross Highway.

Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Task Force members (from left): Deputy Fire Chief Nick Marsan, Police Staff Corporal Al D’Amura, Deputy Police Chief Ryan Paulsson, town operations director Tom Kiely, town engineer Keith Wilberg, Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich. 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker also attended. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Then many residents offered trouble spots of their own.

Several mentioned Kings Highway North (east of the speed humps). Others  spoke about Bayberry Lane, Imperial Avenue, Thomas Avenue, and Harbor Road on Saugatuck Shores.

A resident wants a traffic agent at Treadwell Avenue starting at 3 p.m., to handle Saugatuck Rowing Club traffic.

One person asked police to teach children about pedestrian safety. Another wondered how Westporters can help push the state Department of Transportation to move beyond its glacial pace. (One example: The town has been requesting left-turn arrows at the Compo Road South/Greens Farms Road/Bridge Street light for 3 years.)

One resident suggested painting “Don’t block the box” rectangles at intersections like Post Road West/Riverside Avenue/Wilton Road, then installing cameras and fining miscreants.

Another wondered why she never sees police ticketing drivers who run red lights on the Post Road near Trader Joe’s and Compo Road.

One Westporter urged Public Works to request more staff.

Last night’s meeting followed 9 other Task Force sessions — one for each Representative Town Meeting district — last year, and a town-wide summary meeting.

“We’ll be back again in 6 months,” promised Deputy Police Chief Ryan Paulsson.

The map on the left shows the location of “enforcement details” between April and October of this year. The one on the right shows the location of traffic stops. (Photos/Dan Woog)


As planning progresses for the Compo Beach Playground makeover, organizers want Westporters’ input.

From all ages.

The Westport Rotary Club and Westport Young Woman’s League are partnering on the rebuild. They’re the same great groups that developed the original playground in 1986, and renovated it a couple of decades later.

The Compo Beach Playground Rebuild Committee designed a survey to capture ideas. It doesn’t take long. But residents’ input will help create a fun, safe and much-loved playground.

But act soon! The survey closes Monday (October 30). Click here for the link.

Compo Beach playground: ready for a rebuild. (Drone photo/David Szymanski)


VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 kicks off Halloween weekend tonight (Friday, October 27, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; $5 cover ) with a Happy Hour special.

Beer and wine is $6, with chances at free drinks every hour. The food is (as always) great, and there are prizes for best costumes.

Matt Zako — founder of The City’s Backyard podcast — is host.


Halloween weekend continues tomorrow (Saturday, October 28, 8 p.m., Westport Library), with a Halloween Concert and Costume Ball.

Costumes are encouraged. Prizes will awarded for best outfits, in several categories. Specialty cocktails, beer and wine complement music by Bella’s Bartok, a funk/pop/folk band.

It is, says the sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, an event “to die for.”

Tickets are $20. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Bella’s Bartok


Speaking of Halloween: Wednesday’s kids’ parade downtown — sponsored by Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department, Westport PAL and the Westport Downtown Association — included these trick-or-treaters, at Town Hall.

Quite a scary bunch, no?


Andrew Wilk’s “Library Medical Series” continues Monday (October 30, 7 p.m., Westport Library), with the second of a 3-part series on the brain.

“Headaches and Migraine: Better Understanding the Diagnosis and New Therapies Available” features Dr. Dario Zagar and Dr. Robert Altbaum. A Q-and-A follows their presentation.

The series is free. Click here to register.

From left: Dr. Robert Altbau, Dr. Dario Zagar, Andrew Wilk.


The Saugatuck Rowing Club Junior Program had its best-ever overall showing at the Head of The Charles regatta  in Boston this month.

Current and former rowers, now competing for their colleges, contributed to the success.

In a very close finish, the men’s 8+ boat, including Westporters George Bentley, Ben Whelan, Campbell Cohen and Jack Kiely, plus Gavin Marshall of Weston, placed second, behind a late entry from the U.K. That makes them the current fastest men’s youth 8 boat in the US.

The men’s youth 8+ boat.

The women’s U17 4+ boat, with Rylie Cordell and Kate Weitz of Westport, and Anne  Studnicky of Weston, captured gold. That continues SRC’s’ national streak in the category.

The women’s U-17 4+ boat (from left): Grace Baker Kate Weitz, Madeline Casano, Anne Studnicky, Rylie Cordella, coach Cody Silvester.

In other Saugatuck Rowing Club women’s junior news, the public is invited to a special event on November 7 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lululemon).

Rowers from novice and varsity teams will talk about their experiences, and demonstrate their rowing machine workouts. Coaches be available to talk about the benefits of the program. The event includes giveaways from Lululemon and Saugatuck Rowing Club, and treats from GG & Joe’s.

All are invited (schools are not in session, for Election Day).


Yesterday’s Roundup included a photo of a porta-potty, nestled in one of the Old Mill garages near Sherwood Mill Pond, and the pedestrian path to Compo Cove.

There’s a back story. (There always is.)

A homeowner on the Cove is having work done. Either the bathrooms don’t work, or they don’t want workers using them. So they set up the portable toilet.

Of course, those potties need to be serviced. Vehicles are not allowed on the Cove.

That’s why it’s there, in the garage.

And here is what that cleaning looked like yesterday:

(Photo/Matt Murray)


Yesterday’s near-80 degree temperature surprised (and delighted) many Westporters.

It also confused at least one lilac. Yulee Aronson captured the scene, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Yulee Aronson)

Plus, a bonus “Westport … Naturally”: This one is from last night’s flaming sunset.

(Photo/Seth Goltzer)


And finally … on this day in 1682, the city of Philadelphia was founded by William Penn, a Quaker who advocated for religious freedom.

(If today’s Roundup helped you plan a fun weekend, throw a bone to “06880.” You can click here to make a contribution. We thank you!)

4 responses to “Roundup: Traffic Task Force, Compo Beach Playground, Halloween Weekend …

  1. So 491 “special enforcement details” and 2,226 “traffic stops” yet only 10-30 traffic tickets issued a week? I don’t get it.

    • Bill Strittmatter

      Interesting. Maybe Westport’s version of “catch and release”? I wonder if they ticketed rather than warned, would there be fewer issues? I would imagine there would be more complaints about the police though.

  2. I believe at the bridge in Westport the only way to stop the “box blockers” is a zero tolerance policy.
    Just like in nyc, issue fines of between $200-$500, for blocking the box.
    It is the epitome of selfishness, and is just getting worse every day.
    I’m fairly sure nobody who lives in town would object to this, and I think many offenders, are in fact drivers using our roads as an escape from I95, thanks unfortunately to Waze.
    At rush hour the police department could generate in the region of $2,000 per 5 minutes charging 10 box blockers $200 each. Some even block the box at each end. Offending and breaking the law twice.
    If that gets calculated daily using 2 hours of rush hour as a very low number, revenue per day
    $48,000 per day in $ $200 fines.

    For those offenders who break the law twice on the same bridge in 2 places, I suggest $1000 is more appropriate.

    I should think the practice of “box blocking “ will be quickly sorted.

    • Ciara,

      I thought I remembered that Connecticut towns do not keep any motor vehicle ticket fines. I asked Deputy Chief Ryan Paulsson about this. He said:

      “You are correct. Fines from infraction tickets go directly to the state. This is for all public roads, not just state roads. The town would see a small portion of the fine for moving violations only (speeding). This portion is approximately 10% of the fine amount. Any money that does come back to the municipality will get deposited into the general fund and not the police department.”

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