Tag Archives: Billy Ford

Be Careful Out There!

Just because you’re in a crosswalk, don’t think you’re safe.

On Tuesday a woman was struck by a car on Riverside Avenue, near Jr’s Hot Dog Stand.

As noted on WestportNow, one car stopped — legally, as it must — to let her cross. A very impatient driver drove around the stopped vehicle, hitting the pedestrian.

Office workers told WestportNow that the crosswalk has been the site of “numerous pedestrian accidents and near misses.”

The crosswalk on Riverside Avenue, at South Sylvan. It's pretty clearly marked.

The crosswalk on Riverside Avenue, at South Sylvan. It’s clearly marked.

It’s not the only one like that in town.

At the other end of town, the crosswalk between Goodwill and Stop & Shop is notorious for anyone trying to cross over to buy Westfair’s sushi or deli. Drivers who do stop there always worry about getting rear-ended by drivers flying by.

The crosswalk between Goodwill and (shown at the left) Stop & Shop.

The crosswalk between Goodwill and (shown at left) Stop & Shop.

A bit west, the crosswalk by Sasco Creek Village was where popular Westport schools custodian and Trader Joe’s worker Billy Ford was killed in December 2008.

That crosswalk now features a warning sign, with blinking lights. Unfortunately, they’re hard to see in daytime. So they might actually do more harm than good. Pedestrians may have a false sense of security after pushing the button.

The crosswalk where Billy Ford was killed now includes blinking lights on the right. They're hard to see -- but the white markings are not.

The crosswalk where Billy Ford was killed now includes blinking lights (right). They’re hard to see — but the white markings are not.

Bottom line: Pedestrians in marked crosswalks have the right of way. Drivers who see a pedestrian crossing — or about to cross — must stop.

But this is Westport. Our town is filled with Very Important Drivers. So pedestrians must expect the expected.

Like some asshat trying to go around a stopped vehicle, just to save 3 extra seconds.

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.