Category Archives: Transportation

Entitled Parking: The Main (Street) Event

In nearly 11 years of posting photos of spectacularly selfish, jaw-droppingly self-centered, stupefyingly entitled drivers, I thought I’d seen everything.

Silly me.

On Monday, this person — I would not call him or her a “driver,” because that implies some sentience — landed his or her Jeep here:

This takes your breath away.

The person crossed the yellow line. The person stopped, going the wrong way against traffic — in a “No Parking” zone.

The person took the keys, opened the door, and left.

Without even the decency to park close to the curb!

Don’t believe me? Here’s another view.

(Photos/Dr. Edward Paul)

I would like to say that no one can top this. The bar has been set astronomically high.

But this is “06880.”

Someone will.

[OPINION] Everyone Talks About Traffic. Now We Need To Do Something About It.

Last Saturday’s traffic was INSANE. In late afternoon, it took one “06880” reader half an hour to travel from McDonald’s to downtown. Another spent 40 minutes getting from the Post Road to the train station.

Side roads were no better. Cars backed up on Cross Highway from Weston Road all the way to Bayberry Lane.

This was a particularly bad Thanksgiving weekend mess. But more and more, it’s the norm.

An alert “06880” who asked to be identified as GS has had enough. He writes:

I’ve lived in town a long time. I’ve seen the traffic get worse and worse.

You can’t get from here to there anymore. I envision a not-too-distant future in which our property values go down, because traffic has become what Westport is best known for.

One familiar scene …

Anyone who was on the road last Saturday around 6 p.m. can attest: You could have gotten where you were going faster walking than driving.

Do you commute to and from New York by car? It used to be that once you got past Stamford, you were home free. Now you spend 20 minutes just between exits 40 and 41 on the Merritt.

If you’re on I-95 and get off at Exit 17,  you’re dead in the water. If you continue on to 18, there is a 5-minute backup on the exit ramp.

Heading from Cross Highway toward Exit 42 at the wrong time of day? That’s a joke. I could go on and on.

and another.

For starters, there has to be an immediate ban on development. More people equals more cars.

Then you have to systematically examine the traffic patterns of every intersection, and the timing of every light. Yes, I’m sorry, you will need to replace some of those stop signs with traffic lights.

A few traffic officers stationed in the right places at the right times of day would provide some relief.

We need a plan, and it has to start with limiting new buildings.

Maybe we need to form a special commission. Or perhaps appoint a traffic czar.

Whatever we decide, we have to do something. Traffic in Westport has reached a crucial point.

No Surprise: Kings Highway North Construction Continues

From President Kennedy’s challenge to Neil Armstrong’s first small/giant step, it took the US just over 8 years to land a man on the moon.

The 2nd Avenue subway was first proposed in 1920. It opened a mere 97 years later.

Both those timelines seem like warp speed, compared to what’s going on at Kings Highway North.

For the few residents and many offices — particularly medical — on that short stretch between Main Street and Canal Street, life has seemed disrupted for eons.

Once upon a time, traffic flowed easily on Kings Highway North. (Photo courtesy of Google Street View)

The jackhammering, pipe clanging and truck beep-beeping is one thing.

The fact that it happens randomly — a few days of “work” here, long stretches of nothing except ripped-up road there, then another day of street closure — is infuriating too.

But just as maddening is that no one living and working on Kings Highway North —  and patients of the many doctors — can get a straight answer about what’s going on.

And when (if ever) it will end.

Dr. Susan Finkelstein — a psychiatrist with an office at 164 Kings Highway North — wrote:

Again this morning the road is closed on both sides. No signage, and no response from Aquarion.

I called the Westport police this a.m. They say there is access, but if you aren’t brave enough to override sawhorses, it looks closed.

NO signage or workers to direct patients. I contacted Aquarion manager Mark McCaffrey –no response.

I just wanted to update you and your readers on how the local “upgrades” are doing exactly the opposite!

Dr. Finekelstein wrote that last week. I apologize for not posting it sooner.

Then again, I can probably wait until 2098. It will still be timely.

Pic Of The Day #949

Westport train station (Photo/Joseph Thanhauser)

And The Ugliest Gas Station Is …

It’s not easy making a gas station look good.

Especially a lower-tier brand, with cut-rate prices.

But at least the Mercury station — on the Post Road just east of Stop & Shop, by the Southport line — had a handsome line of trees behind it. They shielded some of the big parking lot behind it, near Michaels.

The Mercury gas station then …

No longer.

The other day, most of those trees were cut down.

Now Mercury is definitely one of the ugliest looking gas stations in Westport.

… and now. This is the view from the Michaels parking lot. (Photo/Seth Schachter)

But first prize goes to the former Mobil Self-Serve, next to Barnes & Noble. It’s been shut for over a year.

The landlord decided it wasn’t worth making mandatory upgrades to the tanks, along with corresponding improvements to the canopy, pumps and store.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

But at least they didn’t chop down the trees.

[OPINION] Fatal Accident Fails To Deter Westport Drivers

Gery Grove moved to Westport from Brooklyn 7 years ago. She thought the drivers here were crazy — but they’ve gotten worse. She lives on a street that is a Waze shortcut, and uses the Bayberry Lane/Cross Highway intersection often. Everywhere in town, she says, people speed. 

Paloma Bima has lived in Westport for 16 years — 14 of them on Cross Highway. “I have seen way too many accidents,” she says. “I love walking to Wakeman, but it is dangerous!”

Andi Sklar’s family rented for 4 years on Bayberry Lane. They then built a house on Cross Highway, and have been there for 6. Every day, she sees drivers run the stop sign at the intersection of those 2 roads. She worries about the safety of her daughter, who attends Bedford Middle School and walks to Chef’s Table.

Following this week’s death of 25-year-old pedestrian Peter Greenberg on Bulkley Avenue North, the women write: 

Peter Greenberg

The loss of any life, especially someone young, can be devastating. But why does it resonate here in Westport so much? Because as a community we observe countless near misses – misses that might end up differently the next time due to our pedestrian-unfriendly roads, and our constant battle with speedy or reckless driving.

(Details of that accident have not been revealed, so this is not meant as an accusation of reckless driving against the driver on Bulkley.)

The next day, Gery Grove passed a multi-car accident at the corner of Bayberry and Cross Highway. While waiting for police to wave her through, a dark grey Ford Explorer behind her honked aggressively. The driver stayed on her bumper all the way to Long Lots Road.

Less than a day had passed since a pedestrian was killed nearby. Many children live in this neighborhood. They walk to or from school, and Chef’s Table.

Slow down, Westport. Another serious accident is right around the corner.

The intersection of Cross Highway and Bayberry Lane is just one spot with frequent reckless driving, running stop signs, and near misses. The three of us have been searching for ways to manage the dangers on our roads.

After near misses with her own children at that intersection near her home, Andi worked with Westport police on the visibility of stop signs.

Officer Al D’Amura has been extremely helpful. After riding together, he cut big branches that might have blocked the signs.

He also had an officer sit at the intersection. That provided only temporary relief. Andi said he is requesting that Public Works trim more bushes.

Paloma sought approval for a crosswalk from one side of Cross Highway to the other near Wakeman Fields, in light of the recent creation of a mega-campus at Bedford and Staples. So far, no measures have been enacted.

Gery grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Years ago they installed cameras, to catch speeders. Tickets are sent by mail. The first time she returned home, she wondered why everyone drove so slowly. Clearly. the cameras work.

One loss of life in this town is one too many. The time to consider solutions was before this young man was killed – but it definitely needs to be before another tragedy.

We have fallen victim to Waze, tight schedules, our devices, distraction and carelessness.

We have to ask our town to take real, concrete measures to clamp down on speeding, consider more pedestrian safety measures like sidewalks and crosswalks, and truly make those who believe the rules don’t apply to them rediscover the value of human life.

Or at least, to feel the presence of the laws they seek to violate.

A typical Westport driver.

Let this week be a collective call to action for our town leaders to make sure we give this issue the attention it deserves.

We have to do something. We are told not to be helicopter parents. But it’s hard to let kids roam around Westport these days.

It should not be that way.

Cribari Bridge Closed — Again

For the second time in a couple of weeks, the Cribari Bridge over the Saugatuck River is closed.

Once again, it’s stuck in the open position.

According to alert “0688o” reader — and nearby resident — Robbie Guimond, the last time it happened, a state Department of Transportation foreman said it “just stopped.”

A crew struggled to close it manually. The foreman told Robbie that the back-up apparatus is very old, and seldom used.

The scene on Riverside Avenue. (Photo/Robbie Guimond)

Pic Of The Day #894

Fairfield County Hunt Club earlier today, at the Victory Cup Polo and Lobster Fest. (Photo/Jack Krayson)

Pic Of The Day #893

Late afternoon sun reflects off Post Road wires (Photo/Johanna Rossi)

Pic Of The Day #891

Lots o’ signs (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)