Tag Archives: Bridge Square

Entitled Parking: It’s Baaaaack!

It’s been a while since “06880” has run an Entitled Parking photo.

In the early days of the pandemic, no one drove anywhere.

As traffic returned, there was a nice we’re-all-in-this-together kind of civility.

Most recently, Tropical Storm Isaias elicited even more neighbor-helping-neighborliness.

Today’s scene outside Dunkin’ at Bridge Square looks just like the old days, though.

Pic Of The Day #1004

Sunset over Saugatuck (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Photo Challenge #256

There are some sights in Westport we pass by often, but don’t really “see.”

Once we spot them, though — or someone points them out to us — we will never again not notice them.

That’s the case with last week’s Photo Challenge. The wooden “06880” sign is part of a larger one that sits above the stores in Bridge Square, at the foot of the William F. Cribari Bridge where Bridge Street meets Riverside Avenue.

Once upon a time, it hung over Peter’s Bridge Market. There are other businesses there now — a Japanese restaurant and health food spot, for example — but much about Bridge Square remains unchanged. It’s a throwback, for sure. (Click here to see the image.)

Andrew Colabella, Robert Mitchell, Arthurt Hayes, Jonathan McClure, Amy Schneider and Mary Schmerker all knew that the “06880” sign is in Saugatuck. The next time you’re stopped in traffic there, look up.

You’ll never not notice it again.

Have you noticed this week’s Photo Challenge? If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Rose Porosoff)

Pic Of The Day #50

Early morning sky over Saugatuck (Photo/Dave Curtis)

Craning For A Look At Downtown

Alert “06880” reader Alan Hamilton flew a quadcopter up from his Riverside Avenue Raveis office this afternoon.

Here’s what he saw:

Downtown Westport - Alan Hamilton

Click on or hover over photo to enlarge.

The big open pit in the center of the photo is Bedford Square.

This spring will bring a very different view.

Art And Artois

After sketching Bridge Square yesterday, Jim Chillington prepared to relax.

Jim Chillington - Bridge Square

“Mature” Trees And A Younger Downtown

Judy James is worried about trees.

Last week, she emailed the Planning and Zoning Commission (with a cc to the Historic District Commission).

Judy — a longtime Westporter — expressed her “dismay at the lack of concern for the preservation of trees when presented with development plans within our commercial districts.” She referred to plans for Bedford Square — the YMCA-area complex — that eliminates mature trees on Church Lane.

A tree in front of the "Gunn House" (35 Church Lane) that will probably not survive the Bedford Square project.

A tree in front of the “Gunn House” (35 Church Lane) that will probably not survive the Bedford Square project.

“Replacement landscaping with grasses and small trees that won’t reach maturity until most adult residents have passed is simply not acceptable. Commercial owners who have the privilege of living and developing one of the most desirable downtown locations in the northeast should accommodate the retention of their town’s living history,” she said.

Referencing the removal of sycamores earlier this year at the site of the former Brook Cafe, she urged the P&Z to “not approve this project and just let ‘staff’ decide at a later date what would be acceptable landscaping…. As many of these mature trees as possible must be retained.”

Another possibly endangered tree -- this one in front of the YMCA.

Another possibly endangered tree — this one in front of the YMCA.

David Waldman is developing Bedford Square into stores, apartments and offices. I asked him to respond.

David said:

I am familiar with the letter and understand her position. Unfortunately, in order to accommodate the need for underground parking, wider pedestrian- friendly tree-lined sidewalks, street lamps and more importantly the already fully approved design and site plan by the HDC and Architectural Review Board,  the trees will have to be removed.

We will add 16 new trees (clearly not as old and mature as the 6 that exist on the sites today), but in a quantity much greater than exists today. In addition, there will be numerous planting beds, landscape planters, benches, public art, public parks and gathering spaces, pedestrian passages from Elm, Church, Post  and Main and much more.

The proposed intersection of Church Lane and Elm Street. David Waldman says, "I understand these renderings show the trees after year of growth. It is our intention to plant appropriately sized trees in the beginning, not saplings or tiny ones."

The proposed intersection of Church Lane and Elm Street. David Waldman says, “I understand these renderings show the trees after year of growth. It is our intention to plant appropriately sized trees in the beginning, not saplings or tiny ones.”

As developers we always try and retain as much history as possible. We have shown this in our current plan to retain the historic Bedford mansion and firehouse, as well as the work I have done with Patagonia, Urban Outfitters and Spotted Horse.

When we built the Spotted Horse, we removed 5 -6 very large tress and no one said a peep. Hopefully, the end result will be something all of Westport can be proud of.

A rendering of Church Lane. The Spotted Horse is at the left; the former YMCA is on the right.

A rendering of Church Lane. The Spotted Horse is at the left; the former YMCA is on the right.

Our team and all the commissions we have obtained approvals from to date are very pleased and proud with the new design that we (developers, residents, commission, HDC, ARB and many other groups) have collectively created. We feel by listening to all those interested groups, we have come up with a much better project.

Certainly, the Spotted Horse has added both energy and architectural spirit to Church Lane.

Plans for the rest of the area — including widening Church Lane and its sidewalks, and “fixing” its tough intersection with the Post Road — show plenty of greenery. True, it’s not all “mature” — but isn’t part of the problem with downtown that it’s a bit long in the tooth?

Papadum Done

Papadum — the very good, but lightly trafficked, Indian restaurant in Bridge Square — has closed.

“Sorry for the inconvenience” says a sign on the door.

Papadum opened just 8 months ago.

PapadumDoes Westport have too many Indian restaurants? Was the cuisine wrong for that part of town? Are there too many restaurants now in Saugatuck?

Is Bridge Square — with tough parking, and not-very-visible signage — not a great spot for dining? Did other factors lead to Papadum’s quick demise?

Click “Comments” to add your 2 rupees.

Up On The Roof

Every day brings a new revelation about Saugatuck’s renaissance.

This week, it was the roof.

Seems there’s a nice rooftop on Bridge Square. It offers spectacular views of the Saugatuck River, Bridge Street Bridge, kayakers and scullers and seagulls…

Too bad it’s limited to tenants of the small shopping center — not their customers.

Except for fitness buffs at Saugatuck Studios.

Starting this Saturday, Fran Hoyte’s studio hosts rooftop classes.

Herma Hale will conduct Hatha yoga classes Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., on the Bridge Square rooftop. (Photo/Frances Hoyte)

They range from Pilates and hatha yoga to functional strength sessions. The earliest is 6:30 a.m.; the latest, 6:15 p.m. The timing (and location) make them perfect for time-starved commuters.

But — this being yoga — you can work out your stress (and tight muscles) in one of the most serene (and secret) settings in Westport.

An added bonus:  You face due east. Sunrises are great. In the evening, the light reflecting off the water is amazing.

Saugatuck Studios is located on the lower level of Bridge Square (site of a former fish market). There’s an awesome river view.

That’s one secret of Saugatuck.

The rooftop is another.

What’s next? Westport eagerly awaits the revelation.

(For more information click here; then click “Class Sign Up.”)

Sign ‘Em Up

In the span of 12 hours last week, 2 alert readers emailed several shots of local signs.

In typical Westport fashion, they’re poles apart.

A woman named Victoria is not a big fan of the signs that have sprouted at Bridge Square.

She writes:

I know there was some concern when Dunkin’ Donuts moved in and had their flags. That was nothing compared with the eyesore that is on the corner now.

We are big fans of the new restaurants that have moved in and wish them lots of success, but hope they can modify their Pepsi advertising signage and their massive white board which seems more appropriate for a Holiday Inn conference. Do any local laws govern signage such as this?

A couple of miles away — geographically and philosophically — there’s Lloyd Allen. The owner of Double L Farm Stand is a big fan of creative, eye-catching and hand-made signs.

However, he says, the recent P&Z “clean sweep” of Post Road signs has forced him to remove some of his own. Right now they rest in front of his store — not, more visibly, nailed to nearby trees.

“The town takes its signs seriously,” he notes. But, he says — tongue only slightly in cheek — “If my sign said ‘Vote Grass Fed!’ that would be okay.

“Or ‘Still Lost: Free Range Chickens.”

Meanwhile, “the biggest signs of all are the ones that say ‘Space Available’ up and down the Post Road.”

“Count them,” Lloyd says, referring to the legal “For Rent” signs. “Go figure the logic behind it all.

“Of course, businesses can pay $80 for a minuscule chalk board sign that’s unreadable form a car going the posted speed limit.”

Lloyd believes each establishment should be allowed one sign. “Better that,” he says, “than going out of business.”

After which your landlord can put up a big, ginormous sign. Saying “Space Available.”