Category Archives: Transportation

Pic Of The Day #791

Greens Farms train station (Photo/Aiden Schachter, age 13)

It All Depends On What “Any Time” Means

Seen at Wakeman Field:

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

If you’re going to ignore the sign, at least park a few yards away. That way you can at least “pretend” you didn’t see it.

Drivers Beware: Newtown Turnpike Bridge Work Begins Soon

In 2016, the state Department of Transportation warned of an urgent need to fix the Newtown Turnpike Merritt Parkway bridge.

Deterioration could lead to capstone and fascia falling hazards, an engineer said.

Three years later, those urgent repairs begin.

The Merritt Parkway Newtown Turnpike bridge. (Photo/Jonathan McClure)

Beginning “on or about June 24,” Newtown Turnpike will be closed between Wilton Road and Crawford Road.

Drivers coming from the south (Norwalk) will be detoured to Cranbury Road, Chestnut Hill Road and Wilton Road. They’ll connect back to Newtown Turnpike north of the Merritt.

Drivers coming from the north will do the reverse, getting back on Newtown Turnpike south of the parkway.

Work is expected to be completed by August 27.

It’s a pain, sure. But so is getting conked on the roof by falling debris.

And it’s better than Greenwich. A similar project there — work on the Lake Avenue Merritt Parkway bridge — will result in a detour of 8 1/2 miles.

Through October.

Tracking The Trolley

Last night, alert “06880” reader/EMS deputy director Marc Hartog was working another job: traffic agent.

He assisted a construction crew installing water service to a building at the corner of Route 1 and Riverside Avenue.

Digging for the main, they uncovered old trolley tracks in the middle of Post Road West.

(Photo/Marc Hartog)

Treating them like dinosaur relics, the crew worked around the tracks, rather than removing them.

When the service is connected to the main, they’ll back fill and cover them with asphalt.

Once again, an important bit of Westport history will lie forgotten and undisturbed — until another 21st-century project digs deep, again.

(NOTE: In the 19th and early 20th centuries, trolleys rolled up and down the Post Road, connecting towns and cities all along the coast. A spur took riders to Compo Beach. Tracks remained through the 1950s, though service had been discontinued.)

Pic Of The Day #785

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a story on High Point Road. In the midst of highlighting all the joys of the longest dead-end street in town — the road I grew up on — I complained that kids there no longer rode bikes to school, the way my friends and I did.

Maybe — because I regularly pass so many parents waiting for their kids’ buses on nearby North Avenue (and don’t get me that they drive to the beginning of roads like Adams Farm and Greystone Farm Roads to pick them up, aaaargh!) — I just assumed that High Point parents did the same.

My bad.

Biking to school from High Point is alive and well. Here’s a shot of Long Lots Elementary the other day:

(Photo/Tally Jacobs)

When they’re older, many youngsters walk from High Point to Bedford Middle School too.

“This time outdoors is an important part of the kids’ day,” says High Point parent Tally Jacobs.

“It says so much about Westport that kids take advantage of their proximity to the schools, the fresh air, the independence and community feeling that results from walking and biking.”

Of course, walking to Staples — directly behind homes on the west side of the road — is a different story. Most High Point kids with their licenses drive to high school — even though it takes longer.

I’m can’t make fun of them for that.

I did the same thing, waaaaay back in the day.

(Hat tip: Amy Hochhauser)

Ay, Caramba!

There’s a big parking deck directly opposite the Bartaco parking lot on Wilton Road.

You can see it right there, in the background of this photo.

(Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

You can also see that there is plenty of room. There is one car on the upper level.

But that did not stop this Range Rover driver. Or rather, he did stop in the parking lot — not the deck.

There he is, right next to the “Reserved Parking” sign.

And yes, that’s a parking job. He is not driving. He did not just drop off a passenger. He has not pulled over to text.

He stopped. He parked. He got out.

Or she.

And it isn’t even a decent parking job in the middle of the entrance! Look how far the driver is from the curb!

I need a margarita.

Avoid I-95 Even More Than Usual This Weekend And Next

Staples High School Senior Prom-goers have already been warned. Now you are too:

Stay away from Stamford on I-95 this weekend, and next.

Replacement of the Post Road bridge over Exit 9 will cause chaos for motorists on that heavily trafficked highway. It will affect all of downtown Stamford, and probably the Merritt Parkway as well.

The project begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at Exit 9. All traffic will be rerouted through local streets. I-95 is expected to be reopened by 5 a.m. Monday, June 3rd. The same schedule is in effect Friday, June 7 through Monday, June 10.

Staples’ prom is affected because it’s at the Stamford Marriott. Many students take party buses and stretch limos to and from the event — vehicles that are not allowed on the Merritt — so transportation could be a major headache.

It will be tough for everyone traveling in Fairfield County that weekend too. But a bridge replacement is a lot better than the Mianus collapse in 1983.

(Hat tip: Bob Mitchell)

Pics Of The Day #767

A curious sight on I-95 in Westport, the other day:

Here’s why:

(Photos/Tracy Porosoff)

Bookcycle’s Remarkable Journey

The Remarkable Bookcycle sure gets around.

The mobile free library — a fun, funky collaboration between writer Jane Green, her husband Ian Warburg, artist/longtime Remarkable Book Shop enthusiast Miggs Burroughs and former Staples High School student Ryan Peterson — made its way from the Green/Warburgs’ Owenoke home to Bedford Square last fall.

EJ Zebro — owner of TAP StrengthLab — pedaled it over to Main Street recently, where it greeted visitors to the 1st Outdoor Market behind Savvy + Grace.

But Jane — a client and friend of EJ’s — told him the Bookcycle had to be back at the beach for the summer.

He and his TAP staff jumped at the chance to help. When the weather was right, Lauren Leppla hopped on, and made her move.

Local director Amelia Arnold chronicled the trip. If you didn’t see her (and it) riding by, here you go:

As Railroad Place Changes, Quentin Row Moves

Four years ago, Suited.co opened on Railroad Place.

Owner Ryan Meserole was passionate about selling high-quality, hand-crafted suits.

He figured his location — directly opposite the train station — was perfect for his target audience. Men could stop in on their way to or from the city. Surrounded by restaurants, coffee places and cool shops like Indulge by Mersene, he loved the vibrant neighborhood.

Ryan believed in giving back. He donated to local charities and national relief efforts. He gave discounts — even freebies — to less-fortunate local teenagers, and inner-city youngsters.

Recently, he rebranded Suited.co as Quentin Row. His commitment to the community was as strong as ever.

But in just a few years, the community has changed.

Fewer people commute to and from New York, Ryan says — a function of both the changing nature of work, and the decline of Metro-North. And with longer train rides (and regular delays), anyone who can take a town car to the city is now driven in.

Even a small change like Goldman Sachs’ recently relaxed, more informal dress code has affected his business.

Ryan Meserole, in his store.

In addition — and crucially — Ryan says that Railroad Place has changed.

The closing of Commuter Coffee cut sharply into foot traffic. And — partly because of family issues — the long-promised renaissance of the area near the train station has stalled.

For all those reasons, Ryan will close his store at the end of May.

But he’s not closing his business. He’s redirecting it toward a new, more flexible version of itself. Call it Quentin Row 2.0.

A 22-foot mobile showroom will travel to area train stations, festivals and the like.

Ryan will also refocus his efforts online. He promises that in cyberspace, he’ll still offer the “concierge service” customers appreciate.

Quentin Row online.

He will still have a physical presence. When Sconset Square renovations are complete, Ryan will share space with Gino, his long-time tailor.

Ryan will also offer private appointments in his Riverside Avenue home.

He could have gone to the new Norwalk mall, Ryan notes. But he insists that a town like Westport deserves a “niche heritage brand” like his.

He feels sad leaving Railroad Place. He put a lot of money into his renovations, and he knows the loss of a store leaves a void.

He says the new tenant is an office, not retail.

“I don’t think that’s what the street was designed for,” he says. “But people shop differently now.”

Railroad Place, 2 years ago. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Still, he knows his new operation will give him a better work/life balance. Since the coffee shop closed, he’s sat in his store and watched foot traffic dwindle.

He thinks little things could make a big difference. If the MTA put its ticket machines in the station house, instead of on the platforms, “people would see the stores,” Ryan says. “Now, they don’t know we’re here.”

Yet for Quentin Road, time has run out.

“But I still love Westport,” he says. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Except in his new, 22-foot mobile showroom. Coming soon to an event — or train station — near you.