Category Archives: Saugatuck

Larry Weisman: State Can Prohibit Trucks From Cribari Bridge

Larry Weisman has followed the recent controversy over the William F. Cribari Bridge with interest.

The longtime Westporter reads “068880” comments too. One in particular drew his attention.

A preservation-minded reader referred to ‘’the statute’’ that controls the authority of the Connecticut Department of Transportation to prohibit truck traffic on a state highway.

Without quoting the statute, the commenter implied that it supports his argument for preservation as the only (or best) way to limit truck traffic on the bridge.

Weisman — an attorney — went to work. He found what he believes is the law: Section 14-298 of the Connecticut GeneraI Statutes.

Based on his reading — and in part on a successful campaign in Darien to ban trucks near I-95 — Weisman believes that the statute clearly allows the DOT to prohibit truck traffic under the same circumstances prevailing at the Cribari Bridge: “for the protection and safety of the public” whenever the route is “geographically located so that it could be utilized as a through truck route.”

Weisman found that among the physical characteristics to be assessed in determining whether the protection and safety of the public is at risk are: “road width and configuration, sight line restrictions, roadside character and development, number and character of intersecting streets and highways, traffic control devices, volume and character of traffic, and established speed limits.’’

I-95 is just out of this aerial view. According to Larry Weisman, Connecticut Department of Transportation regulations can prohibit through truck traffic on even a newly remodeled Cribari Bridge.

“Not only is there nothing here that would prevent prohibition of trucks on that portion of Route 136 which utilizes the bridge,” Weisman says, “but the bridge meets almost every criterion for such a prohibition and the statute effectively counters the argument that retaining our substandard bridge is the best (or only) way to address the issue.”

Click here for Connecticut DOT’s “Through Truck Prohibitions” page.

Pic Of The Day #463

Saugatuck River, as seen from the bridge. (Photo/Serkan Elden)

Photo Challenge #186

Last Sunday — when many folks were either at the downtown Fine Arts Festival, Library Book Sale, beach, or otherwise enjoying the delights of a Westport summer — a dozen quickly responded to our “06880” photo challenge.

They knew that Bob Weingarten’s image showed another local gem.

Well, sort of.

His shot of a small white lighthouse-type structure is visible to anyone who looks east over the Saugatuck River, from Riverside Avenue. (Click here for the photo, and all guesses.)

In fact, it was described variously as across from Rive Bistro restaurant, the VFW, a medical office complex and the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Lots of people see it, from lots of different places.

Only Valerie Port, though, described it by where it is, not what it’s across from. She said it’s at “the end of Oak Ridge Park” — a private road off Imperial Avenue.

Kudos to Valerie, plus Jana Moorman, Bobbie Herman, Diane Silfen, Ralph Balducci, Jay Tormey, Sylvia Robinson Corrigan, Mary Ann Batsell, Jonathan McClure, Seth Braunstein, Amy Schneider and Peter Tulupman, for answering correctly.

And thanks for taking time out of such a beautiful day to do so.

Meanwhile, on another gorgeous day, Jeff Manchester and his son were out on a bike ride. They came upon this plaque:

(Photo/Jeff Manchester)

It probably was a momentous occasion, in 1932. In the intervening 86 years though, most Westporters have forgotten it exists.

If you know where you’d find this, click “Comments” below.

 

Friday Flashback #99

The William F. Cribari bridge is all over the news. Plans are meandering and/or plowing ahead for reconstruction. Meanwhile, emergency repairs will begin soon.

And there’s a brouhaha over the recent spate of rush hour closings, in order to accommodate a boat moored just north of the swing span.

A discussion rages in the “06880” comments section: Is the 136-year-old bridge historic? Or just old?

You be the judge. This photo — sent by Carmine Picarello — comes from Eve Potts’ great book, “Westport…A Special Place.”

We’re not sure what the future holds. But whatever a renovated or new bridge looks like, one thing is sure.

It won’t have trolley tracks.

“06880” Readers Pick The Worst Signs In Town

The other day, I posted a photo of my choice for Worst Sign in Westport. The message — “When Flashing School Bus Stopped Ahead” — is both grammatically challenged and bizarre. In Westport, a school bus is always stopped ahead.

I asked “06880” readers to send in their least favorite signs. A wide variety get our goats — and for many different reasons. Here are a few:

(Photo/Eric Bosch)

The Little League diamond on North Compo is not exactly Eric Bosch’s field of dreams. He says:

“There are 64 of these large advertising signs (specifically positioned for maximum road traffic visibility) on Westport town property. I guess the town’s rules aren’t enforced when business ads make money. Get ready to see the political banner-size signs to go up in this space soon.”

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Chip Stephens does not care for this faded, passive-aggressive sign near Whole Foods near the Norwalk border, “welcoming” drivers to Westport.

(Photo/Brian Porter)

Brian Porter admits that the sign above — at the steps to Old Mill Beach, off Hillspoint Road — may not be the worst. However, it is confusing. “If you ignore one sign, please comply with the other and clean up after Fido,” he writes.

An anonymous contributor sent the image above, from the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. I agree: You should definitely not park that way, ever.

(Photo/Chris Woods)

For over a decade, this sign — and the accompanying traffic light — near the VFW at the Riverside/Saugatuck/Treadwall Avenue intersection has been Chris Woods’ pet peeve. Chris adds, “The 3-lights-for-2-lanes going the other direction are equally confusing.”

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

JP Vellotti offers this innocuous-looking sign, from a recent Levitt Pavilion show. He explains: “The au pairs all sat together. The woman in charge brought the sign. Funny, because I’ve been in big groups there. We figured out how to sit together without something that looked like a free ad. At least it wasn’t a politician running for office meet-up!”

Thanks for all the submissions. But I still think mine is the worst:

Pic Of The Day #458

Black Duck dock (Photo/Nancy Lewis)

More Closings For Cribari Bridge

Town officials have been notified by the state Department of Transportation that an inspection several weeks ago revealed structural deficiencies in both the substructure and ornamental truss structure of the William F. Cribari Bridge.

ConnDOT says that immediate repairs are necessary to maintain “the continued safety and stability of the existing bridge structure.”

Repairs begin on July 30. The tentative schedule calls for 6 weeks of work — weather permitting.

The contractor will work between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. The bridge and sidewalk will be closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Marine traffic requiring bridge openings may be limited during work periods.

ConnDOT will continue to focus on the longer term future of the Cribari Bridge.  As previously announced, their Project Advisory Committee meets tonight (Wednesday, July 18, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium).

The historic, controversial and soon to be worked-on William F. Cribari Bridge. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

A Bridge Too Far

Several Westporters have recently noted their bad luck. They’ve been held up by the opening of the William Cribari Bridge — the span over the Saugatuck River that usually swings open only a few times a year.

It may not be coincidence. It could be deliberate.

Alert “06880” reader Billy Scalzi says that for the past 2 or 3 weeks, the same boater has demanded the bridge be opened once or twice a day — always during rush hour.

Billy snapped these photos:

He’s seen it happen time and again. But that’s all Billy knows. If any “06880” reader knows more, click “Comments” below.

Sunset Drama On Sunrise

Sunrise Road was not made for 18-wheelers.

The driver of a truck filled with 43,000 pounds of refrigerated meat — bound from Minnesota to West Haven — learned that out the hard way last night at 7.

He tried to make a right turn onto Saugatuck Avenue — no easy feat even for Mini Coopers. Soon, he was hung up on a stone wall.

Alert “06880” reader Gerald F. Romano Jr. was on the scene. For the next 2 1/2 hours, he says, Westport police and firefighters did a great job. A crew from Quality Towing unloaded 10,000 pounds of meat off the truck.

That lightened the load, so the Quality guys could pull the rear wheels off the wall. No one one was injured. The driver — who said this was his first incident in 40 years — drove off.

(All photos Gerald F. Romano Jr.)

“It all ended well,” Romano says.

But just imagine if the driver had headed for the William F. Cribari Bridge.

Unsung Hero #56

Mildred Hardy did not want to be featured on “06880.”

But several customers walking into Minute Men Cleaners saw us talking, and gave encouragement. “You deserve it!” one said.

She sure does.

Millie — as she is universally and lovingly known — has been with the Riverside Avenue company for 47 years. She has been its backbone forever.

This was not her first Westport job. The Jamaica native was working for a family on South Compo Road. But she saw an ad for a presser. She was hired — and started work the same day.

That was March 3, 1971. Her boss is now the son of the former owner. She enjoys working for him — and interacting with customers. “They’re great,” Millie says. “They’re all my friends.”

Millie Hardy

She’s done dry cleaning, and run the machines. Now she works at the counter, where countless customers appreciate her warm smile and kind words.

Millie lives next door. In a part of town known for commuting — and at a business with many commuter customers — she’s got the shortest commute of all.

And one of biggest fan bases of anyone, anywhere.

Thanks, Millie, for 47 years of loyal, devoted service to Minute Men Cleaners, and Westport. You’re a true Unsung Hero!

(Hat tip: Patricia McMahon)