Category Archives: Transportation

Pic Of The Day #1320

Railroad footbridge (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Cribari Bridge Is Lit. Let The Holidays Begin!

The crowd was far smaller than usual.

But even the coronavirus can’t dampen the joy of one of Westport’s favorite traditions: lighting the William F. Cribari Bridge.

The bulbs are new. The colors are beautiful. And now more than ever, we need this annual Al’s Angels gift.

(Drone photos/Patrick Sikes)

Cribari Bridge Lights: You Can Help!

Whatever goes around, comes around.

For over 20 years from Thanksgiving through January, traffic going around — or over — the William F. Cribari Bridge has slowed. Everyone is awed by the span’s lights, from Riverside Avenue to Bridge Street.

The colorful display is beautiful, wherever you stand. Driving through it is especially fun.

The William F. Cribari Bridge, in all its holiday glory. (Photo/JD Dworkow)

The lights are a gift from Al’s Angels. The non-profit — started in part by Al DiGuido, and aided by countless volunteers — provides holiday meals, gifts  and toys to thousands of children and families battling cancer, rare blood disease and severe financial hardship.

Al’s Angels gives so much to Fairfield County. And so many give to Al’s Angels.

Last year, Saugatuck Rowing Club gave back to both. The boathouse/fitness center/restaurant just a few yards from the bridge sponsored a bridge lighting festival. Hundreds of people came, and contributed funds that help Al’s Angels continue its amazing work.

Merry Christmas, thanks to Al’s Angels.

The Rowing Club wanted to do the same thing this year. COVID makes the need more urgent than ever — both in terms of the number of people who need help, and covering the shortfall from people having a tough time donating this year.

But the recent spike in cases makes a big gathering untenable.

Meanwhile, for 5 hours this weekend — working through 3 a.m. — volunteers replaced all the old lights with new ones. They were (of course) a donation from Al’s Angels, with help from A.J. Penna & Sons Construction.

A low-key lighting celebration is set for this Friday (November 27, 6 p.m.). There won’t be a big crowd, unfortunately.

So Diana Kuen and the Rowing Club are asking their friends — and all “06880” readers – to help. They hope everyone who can will donate $20 (or more!).

Of course, you don’t have to wait until Friday. Click here to give funds. Click here to provide a gift to a child, through Al’s Angels’ Touchless Toy Drive.

This year more than ever, we need those Cribari Bridge lights.

And this year more than ever, Al’s Angels needs us.

Whatever goes around, comes around.

The Cribari Bridge at Christmastime. (Photo/Joel Treisman)

 

 

 

 

They Don’t Call It Burying “Hill” For Nothing

In the 11 years I’ve been posting pictures of entitled drivers — aka “stupid parking tricks” — I’ve seen plenty of things that make me shake my head.

But every one of them involved a parking lot. Or at least, something lot-related nearby (think: sidewalks).

What Chris Grimm saw yesterday put 11 years of entitled drivers to shame.

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

This woman — who in the photo sits merrily inside her car — simply zipped through both the Burying Hill Beach parking lot and the walking path gate, then created a new parking spot.

Hey, you can’t beat the view!

The good news: At least she’s wearing a mask.

Roundup: Beachside Avenue, Playhouse Cocktails, More


The equipment is in place. Plans have been made.

And the date is set. Replacement work on the Beachside Avenue bridge over I-95 begins January 4. It’s expected to last through September/

The $1.5 million project includes realignment of Beachside Avenue.

During the project, traffic will be detoured past the Greens Farms station, and New Creek Road. Longer detours will be needed for trucks that cannot fit under the railroad bridge.

Beachside Avenue I-95 bridge, at Greens Farms Road.


All summer long, the Westport Country Playhouse was dark.

But bright conversation took place online, via virtual chats with artists. It was called “Coffee With …”

The series continues this Thursday (November 19, 7 p.m.), with artistic director Mark Lamos. He’ll talk about the upcoming season, casting, his career, and anything else you ask.

Questions can be emailed to info@westportplayhouse.org by noon Tuesday. Then click on Facebook Live or YouTube.

The winter series is called “Cocktails With …” Mix it up!


And finally … on this day in 1969, half a million anti-Vietnam War protestors poured into Washington, DC. They were following up on Moratorium to End the War protests a month earlier, held in cities and towns around the country.

It is considered to have been the largest demonstration ever in the capital. President Nixon said, “I understand that there has been, and continues to be, opposition to the war in Vietnam on the campuses and also in the nation. As far as this kind of activity is concerned, we expect it; however, under no circumstances will I be affected whatever by it.”

Roundup: Subway, Stupid Drivers, More


Westport’s Subway station — er, restaurant — is closed.

But not permanently.

Workers yesterday began dismantling the interior of the local outpost of the biggest fast-food chain in the world (44,000 locations, 112 countries).

According to the guy dumping sheetrock, the sandwich shop will relocate soon diagonally across the street.

He waved vaguely in the direction of … the spot Subway originally occupied, before moving to where it is (or was) most recently.

We’ll try to get a definite answer soon. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

No sandwiches for sale yesterday.


Westport’s Plastic Pollution Project is a model for many communities.

Future Frogmen — the environmental action and education organization — just posted a podcast about it. It features RTM member Andrew Colabella, a driving force behind the initiative. Click here to hear.


The warning signs are pretty clear: There’s a low bridge ahead.

But all too often, drivers on Compo Road South think they don’t need to heed the “Low Bridge” warning signs.

It happened again yesterday morning.

(Photo/Jeff Wieser)

No one has yet come up with a solution for people who think they are exempt from the laws of physics. If you’ve got one, click “Comments” below.


And finally … in honor of all those truckers who do manage to make it without a mishap:

Saugatuck May Face New Traffic Woes

Saugatuck residents worried about over-development have spent years battling a proposed 187-unit complex on Hiawatha Lane.

Now they’ve got a new fear. And it’s out of Westport’s hands.

There’s a plan to built a warehouse and distribution center at 10 Norden Place.

That’s in East Norwalk. It’s accessible off Route 136 (Saugatuck Avenue/Winfield Street). And it is very close to Hiawatha Lane.

The proposed Norden Place warehouse and distribution center is shown in yellow. Tractor-trailer routes are marked in green and purple. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

What does “warehouse and distribution center” mean?

According to Save Old Saugatuck, the Norden property — which once housed an electronics company, then became an office park and has now added apartments — would be the site of a 330,000-square foot facility. It would draw 198 tractor-trailers — 62 to 67 feet long — and 376 cars each day.

SOS foresees “possible 24 hour operations.”

The distribution facility would include 19 loading docks, for 3 to 5 tenants occupying 60,000 to 100,000 square feet each.

The tenant mix would be unknown until the applicant receives zoning approval, purchases the building and begins leasing space.

Artists’ rendering of a distribution center.

Save Old Saugatuck warns, “This Norden Place warehouse will affect Westport’s Exit 17 and surrounding traffic.”

Tractor-trailers can’t fit under the railroad bridge (though god knows plenty of drivers try). So some would take the I-95 exit, head north on Riverside Avenue, then take a sharp turn onto Post Road West and continue on to Strawberry Hill Avenue.

“Our Norwalk neighbors came out to support us when we had to fight (the Hiawatha proposal) before the Norwalk Zoning Commission,” SOS says.

“It is critical for those of us who live in the SOS neighborhood to now give our support to our Norwalk neighbors. Support is in the form of petitions, emails, or open-to-public virtual meeting attendance.”

Emails can be sent to skleppin@norwalkct.org.

Friday Flashback #214

Yellow school buses seem to have been around forever. Wherever we grew up, nearly every Westporter rode in one.

Yellow buses are still ubiquitous — though these days, they’re mostly empty. More parents than ever drive their kids to school — the ones who are not still home distance learning, that is.

For many years, 2 families ran Westport’s school buses: the Cuseos and Masiellos.

Here’s a photo — courtesy of John Cuseo — of an early local bus:

What do you remember about your school bus (or driver)? Click “Comments” below, to share.

Roundup: Heating Help, Subway History, More


Need assistance with home heating costs this winter?

Connecticut’s federally funded Energy Assistance Program — administered through Westport’s Department of Human Services — offers help to low-income households.

Individuals and families qualify based on gross annual income and household size. Click here for qualification criteria. Applications are taken through Westport’s Department of Human Services.

Another option — for households that do not meet CEAP standards — is Westport’s Warm-Up Fund. Applicants are reviewed on a case-by-case basis,

Click here for more information. Call Human Services at 203-341-1050, or email humansrv@westportct.gov with questions, or to request an application.


I’m not sure what this local tie-in is, but the Westport Museum for History & Culture’s next virtual program is titled “The History and Future of the New York Subway.”

The event — co-sponsored with the Westport Library — is Monday, October 26 (7 p.m.).

Clifton Hood–  author of 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York will discuss the New York City’s subway system,

what that says about its future, and what the pandemic may mean for it and for New York City.

To register, click here.


And finally … in honor of that strange upcoming Westport Museum program:

Wheels2U: New Train Station Service Rolls Out In Westport

Since COVID struck, commuter traffic is down dramatically. Train station parking lots are nearly empty.

But some folks still need Metro-North. Not all of them can — or want to — drive to Saugatuck or Greens Farms. Westport Transit has been an alternative.

But the shuttle service has not worked for everyone. The schedule did not cover all peak trains. Not everyone lives close to the routes. Supply and demand were not always in sync.

On Monday, Westport Transit introduced “Wheels 2U Westport.” The new on-demand, door-to-train platform shuttle service will operate in nearly all of Westport, and provide rides to both the Saugatuck and Greens Farms stations. Riders can be picked up at home or their place of business.

Nearly all of Westport is included in the service area.

The new service will operate weekdays, from 5:45 to 9:45 a.m., and 4 to 8 p.m.

Commuters can schedule rides shortly before their desired pick-up time through an app (click here, or search for “Wheels2U” on the Apple or Google Play store). The $2 fare can be paid via the app or a Metro-North Uniticket (rail and bus pass).

Wheels2U Westport uses Norwalk Transit’s comfortable blue vehicles and white shuttle buses. It replaces Westport Transit’s 7 commuter shuttle routes, and the temporary on-demand commuter service begun in March during COVID.

Norwalk Transit introduced Wheels2U in that city in 2018.

For more information, click here or call 203-852-0000 (choose option 3).