Tag Archives: 1655 Post Road East

A Perilous Crossing

An alert — and frightened, and angry — “06880” reader writes:

What’s with the crosswalk at Landsdowne, near Stop & Shop?  I was walking there yesterday. I pressed the button on the side of the road, at which point little tiny lights started flashing. I stepped gingerly into the road.

A truck barreled through the crosswalk, even though I was several feet into it.  Do drivers truly not know what the little flashing lights, white painted lines and fluorescent green signs with a silhouette of a walker mean?  Isn’t it a state law that drivers must stop if a person is in the crosswalk? A federal law?

Whether it’s a law or not, drivers — especially on Westport roads — don’t always care.

The crosswalk sign -- with tiny lights -- at tje Landsdowne condominiums, opposite 1655 Post Road East.

The crosswalk sign — with tiny lights — at the Landsdowne condominiums, opposite 1655 Post Road East.

“Gingerly” is the right way to proceed. Also “carefully.” And “with the expectation no one will stop, and I could die.”

It’s happened here before. Billy Ford — a popular Westport schools custodian and Trader Joe’s worker — was killed on December 23, 2008. He had just gotten off a bus, and was crossing the street to his home at 1655 Post Road East.

The crosswalk — with blinking lights that can’t be seen in daytime — might actually do more harm than good. Pedestrians may have a false sense of security after pushing the button.

Drivers — distracted by all the signs and traffic on this stretch of the traffic-light-and-stop-sign-less road, and by their cellphone, GPS, car entertainment system and god knows what else — may not see the crosswalk in time.

Or the pedestrian in it.

The Trailer Park

As a young boy growing up on High Point Road, my Westport horizon was limited to Burr Farms Elementary School. It was a comfortable, secure place. Everyone there looked and acted just like me.

Things changed the 1st day of Long Lots Junior High.

I was a tiny 7th grader, surrounded by enormous 9th graders. The boys had facial hair; the girls had breasts. I sort of expected that.

But there was something new: students who’d gone to Green’s Farms Elementary. Most were like my Burr Farms friends.

A few came from “the trailer park.”

A recent view of the mobile homes at 1655 Post Road East. (Photo/Paul Schott, Westport News)

Their clothes were slightly different. Not a lot — but just enough, in the ultra-status conscious world of junior high, to be noticeable.

They hung out together.

They smoked cigarettes.

Gradually, I got to know the kids from “the trailer park.” Some were nice and funny and smart; others were not. Just like everyone else at Long Lots.

One thing never changed, though. I never went to any of their homes. I never set foot in “the trailer park.”

I thought of that the other day, when I read that the Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to demolish the final 33 trailers — now called “mobile homes” — that still sit, very immobile, at 1655 Post Road East.

They’ll be replaced by 54 rental units, in 3-story buildings. It’s an important step forward, upgrading facilities while increasing Westport’s affordable housing stock.

The news also made me take an important look back.

Decades have passed since my junior high days. But I still think of 1655 Post Road East as “the trailer park.”

And I realize how little I cared about the lives of my fellow Long Lots students, about a mile away from my comfortable High Point Road home.