Category Archives: Transportation

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.

Pic Of The Day #753

Cribari Bridge close-up (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Pic Of The Day #750

Saugatuck Island bus shelter (Photo/Gene Borio)

Pic Of The Day #749

Presented without comment (Photo/Catherine Calise)

[OPINION] Slow Trains Cost Big Bucks

An alert — and frustrated — “06880” reader writes:

When my wife, daughter and I moved to Westport in the 1980s, the main reasons were the schools, and amenities like Longshore.

But another major reason was that my wife’s commute to the city would work (barely). It was about an hour on Metro-North.

However, as the real estate agent explained to us, houses closer to the city cost more. Her rule of thumb was that for every extra minute of commuting time, homes were $10,000 less expensive. For us, Westport was the “sweet spot.”

Commuting looks pleasant in this image. (Photo copyright Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

It now takes about 20 minutes longer to get to New York City by train than it did back then. That means our house (the same one) is worth $200,000 less than it would if the trains ran on the same schedule.

Westport has about 10,000 homes. If they’re worth $200,000 less on average, that means they’ve lost $2 billion in value due to slower trains.

That $10,000 figure was in 1980s housing dollars. It might be 3 times that much now.

And we were looking at lower-priced houses in Westport, so that $10,000 figure for the lower-priced houses in Westport we were considering was probably twice that for higher-priced houses. So perhaps the real cost of slow Metro-North trains might be 6 times as much: $12 billion.

That’s real money!

The train to New York was quicker in 1949 than 2019.

Maybe The Driver Never Set The Parking Brake. Maybe The Driver Just Can’t Park. Either Way …

… the driver did not have a handicap permit.

(Photo/Merri Mueller)

And this was not a quick zip-in-and-out-of-Barnes & Noble.

Thirty minutes after alert “06880” reader Merri Mueller took the photo, the car was still — bizarrely — there.