Tag Archives: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Roundup: Crosswalks, Branches, Lanternflies …

Connecticut’s Department of Transportation begins work next year on several local crosswalks — including the notorious “worst intersection in the state” (Routes 1 and 33, aka Post Road West, Riverside Avenue and Wilton Road).

The DOT will also work on:

  • Route 33 (Wilton Road) at Merritt Parkway Connector and Spring Hill Road
  • Route 57 (Weston Road) at Broad Street and Good Hill Road (Weston)
  • Route 33 (Saugatuck Avenue) at I-95 southbound ramps
  • Route 1 (Post Road East) at Playhouse Square Shopping Center
  • Route 1 (Post Road West) at Sylvan Road
  • Route 1 (Post Road East) at Turkey Hill Roads North and South
  • Sherwood Island Connector at Greens Farms Road and Post Road East.

The good news: Upgrades include countdown pedestrian indicators, accessible pedestrian push buttons, and “concurrent pedestrian phasing.”

The bad news: There are no actual traffic, sightline or other improvements.

The timetable: Design plans are expected to be completed in February, with advertising for construction in April.

So don’t expect to cross at the green quite yet.

Upgrades (of a sort) are coming here (“soon”).

=======================================================

Speaking of the Post Road: Pam Kesselman sends along this photo of dead branches towering over Compo Road South, near the Route 1 intersection:

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)

She worries that they could fall on a driver or pedestrian, and hopes the town takes notice.

Tree maintenance there is (I believe) the responsibility of the state (state roads) or the owner of Compo Acres Shopping Center.

At any rate, Pam is not the first “06880” reader to have noticed these dead branches recently.

=======================================================

Last week, when Y’s Men acting gardening chair Chuck Greenlee learned that a spotted lanternfly was spotted at the Westport Community Gardens, he did 2 things.

He sent a photo to “06880”:

Spotted lanternfly (Photo/JP Montillier)

And he reported it to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station (reportSLF@ct.gov).

They quickly replied: “Thank you for your inquiry concerning spotted lanternfly. The insect you have photographed is indeed a SLF. Your town is already known to be infested. For tips on dealing with SLF, please click here. Should you find any more insects, please kill them immediately with any means at your disposal. Thank you again for your interest.”

=======================================================

Speaking of the environment: Tickets are on sale now for Earthplace’s famed Woodside Bash fundraiser. It’s October 1 (7 p.m.), under the stars and beside a firepit.

Though it’s adults-only, kids are welcome the following day (October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for the also-annual Fall Festival. Earthplace buzzes with a corn pool, obstacle course, climbing wall, food trucks and more. Click here for tickets.

=======================================================

Last week’s story on Ed Capasse’s star turn as a Staples High School marching band member/Saturday Evening Post cover model cast a new light on Stevan Dohanos’ famous 1946 painting.

Ed Capasse is in the upper left.

It used to be sold at the Westport Historical Society. Now it’s available only online.

But — as former Westporter/longtime Oregonian/avid “06880” reader Robert Gerrity discovered — there are plenty of places to purchase it. Among them:

======================================================

Speaking of posters: Yesterday’s music memories from Woodstock — the “lotta freaks!” festival that ended 53 years ago (!) today — brought an email from longtime Westporter Matt Murray.

Plus this photo:

Matt explains:

“This is an original. I worked for the guys who started and funded the concert (Joel Roseman and the late John Roberts). They were partners in the NYC recording studio, Mediasound.

“I was an assistant engineer and gopher (go for this, go for that). Another guy and I saw a stack of these in their office. We asked if we could have a few. Sure!

“Still have ’em, 47 years later.”

Matt adds: “For the studio’s Christmas party, leftover Woodstock tickets were used as bar chits. Being youthful, I used mine for drinks. The bartender tore them in half. A fellow worker thought better of that idea, and hung on to his tickets. Smart person.”

=====================================================

Today’s Entitled Parking post comes from already-narrow Railroad Place:

(Photo/Karen Kramer)

No, that’s not a parking space. And it never was, even back in the day when that very cool Camaro rolled off the line.

=====================================================

August is usually a very green month in Westport (though the summer-long lack of rain makes it a bit browner than usual).

Soon, we’ll be awash in a gorgeous palette of leaf-changing colors.

Meanwhile, there’s this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” display, spotted by Fred Cantor on Hillspoint Road:

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

=======================================================

And finally … August 17, 1969 marked the final day of Woodstock. Among the performers then:

Crosby Stills Nash & Young played that day too. This song later became an anthem for the event:

“Confusing Intersection” Sequel: Previous Plans

The state Department of Transportation’s announcement of possible work on the Route 136/Route 57 intersection — where Main Street, Weston Road and Easton Road meet in a confusing number of ways — is welcome news.

But it’s not the first plan.

Nor is it the second. Or even the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh.

Former 2nd Selectman Avi Kaner sends along a slew of previous solutions to the confounding confluence. All were prepared by ConnDOT, and discussed with town officials between 2004 and 2006.

Here they are. Click on or hover over each image to enalrge.

One envisioned 3 small roundabouts:

Another showed one large rotary:

Five others involved some combination of road widening, adding turning lanes, and eliminating or modifying the center island:

As the saying goes: Whatever goes around, comes around.

Or, in the case of the roads near Exit 42, whatever goes around may crash into whatever else goes around, unless everyone going around pays close attention.

“Most Confusing Intersection” Improvement Plan Begins

Westporters learn to carefully navigate it. Visitors coming off Merritt Parkway Exit 42 are completely flummoxed by it.

At last — after decades of confusion — the Route 57 (Main Street)/Route 136 (Easton Road and Weston Road) cluster**** may get some improvement.

The state Department of Transportation has designed a plan. They’ll discuss it in a virtual public information program this Thursday (June 9, 7 p.m.), with a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

The meeting will be recorded. To access the meeting, provide comments or ask questions, click here (then scroll down to “Live Event Links”).

The plan includes replacing the existing flashing light with a full traffic signal, and widening the road.

The state Department of Transportation plan. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Right-of-way impacts could include partial land acquisitions and easements.

The project is in the early stages of concept development. No funding or schedule has been identified. The public meeting is to discuss feasibility and solicit feedback.

 

State To Town: You Want The Cribari Bridge? Pay For It.

The state Department of Transportation’s environmental assessment report on the William F. Cribari Bridge will be released next month.

But Deputy Commissioner Mark Rolfe has told 1st Selectman Jim Marpe that its conclusion — and the DOT’s recommendation — is to replace the bridge with a new structure that meets Federal Highway Administration standards.

Many Westporters — fearing traffic on a bigger, new span — have pushed instead for renovation of the 133-year-old structure.

However, Rolfe offered Marpe an alternative: The state could transfer ownership of the bridge to the town of Westport, and re-route Route 136 (Bridge Street and Compo Road South).

The catch: The town would be responsible for operation, maintenance and repair of the Cribari Bridge.

Is that a bridge too far for Westport?

Stay tuned.

William F. Cribari Bridge: The debate continues. (Photo/Sam Levenson)

Roundup: Hot Yoga Closes; Book Donations; Contact Tracing; Commuter Survey; More

 

 


Hot Yoga writes:

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we tell you we are closing the doors to Westport (/Fairfield) Hot Yoga. This was a difficult decision that was made very consciously, and for a variety of reasons both in and out of our control.

“For 10 ½ years, we brought you the very best hot yoga that we know how. We also spent this time building an incredibly strong and resilient community of beautiful yogis, of which you are an integral member. This is not goodbye. This is just so long for now.

“We feel very connected to each of you in our own way, and hope we can continue to grow and develop these relationships with you, although it will not be at 877 Post Road East. With everlasting grace and gratitude — Rich, Abbey and Yogi.””


There’s a (relatively) new liquor store. An established (and much beloved) donut shop. Across the street will be a (very) new restaurant.

And — in mid-September — Outpost Pizza establishes an outpost at the site of a former dry cleaners, near Coffee An’, The Grapevine, and the new spot soon to replace 323.

Outpost has a great reputation in Stamford. Their prices are good. They’ll be welcomed to the neighborhood, for sure.


Westport Library Book Sales has been “overwhelmed by the generosity of our community.”

They resumed collections yesterday at 9 a.m. By 2 p.m. the shed was full.

Donations must be quarantined for 3 days, so no more can be accepted now. Donations resume next Thursday.

For more information, click here.


The Westport Weston Health District says: Be aware of scammers posing as COVID-19 contact tracers!

Impostors claim to work for “the sheriff’s office” or local health department. They say they need to load “contact tracing software” onto a victim’s computer. 

Do not fall for these scammers. Official contact tracers working on behalf of the WWHD or state Department of Public Health will never ask to enter your home, threaten you with a fine, or ask you for personal financial information. Anyone asking for such information is trying to steal your identity, money or both.

If someone asks to enter your home for “contact tracing,” call the police immediately.  Do not let strangers into your home.

Other things to be alert for if you receive a call:

  • Do not pay a contact tracer. Anyone who says you must pay is a scammer.
  • Do not give out your Social Security number or financial information. There is no reason why a legitimate tracer would need these.
  • Do not share your immigration status. Legitimate contact tracers do not need, and will not ask for, this information.
  • Do not download anything onto your computer. Real contact tracers will not ask you to download any software on your computer.

Contact tracing is an important component of public health, and an essential tool to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Connecticut’s contact tracing initiative is completely voluntary. There is no cost to participate. If you do participate, you may elect to receive daily health assessment reminders via text, email or phone. You will be reminded to do a simple assessment of your symptoms each day.

All information is strictly confidential. Contacts who are identified will not be given information on cases (such as the name of the person who may have exposed them).


The state Department of Transportation is conducting a brief survey about commuting during COVID-19. Answers will help the agency plan funding for future projects.

If you were or are a commuter, click here to take the survey.


MoCA Westport invites all Fairfield County teenagers interested in the arts to join its new Teen Council.

The Council will connect the museum with area youth through events, exhibitions, performances and educational programming. Teen Council members will develop strong relationships with prominent artists and community leaders as they explore their personal creativity.

Teen Council members will enjoy behind-the-scenes access to MoCA Westport — and free memberships.

Click here to apply, Questions? Email teencouncil@mocawestport.org or check out Instagram: @mocawestportteens.


And finally … happy 85th birthday, Peter Schickele!

[UPDATE] New Townhouse Proposal For Post Road

Many Westporters have no idea what goes on at 900 Post Road East. The lot next to Walgreens, across from the Sherwood Diner, is filled with trucks and mounds of sand.

In fact, it’s a maintenance lot for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

At least, it is now.

Sometime in the future though, it could be the site of new townhouses. Eighty or 90% could be “affordable” — under state 8-30g standards — while the rest would sell or rent at market rates.

As first reported by the Westport Newstown officials — including 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and the Planning & Zoning Commission — are in very preliminary discussions with the state. The complex would be built on 4 of the 10.73 acres, along West Parish Road.

900 Post Road East

Early indications are that some nearby residents favor the move. They prefer townhouses to trucks in their back yards.

Others, however, oppose more development in the Greens Farms/Post Road area. New housing — some affordable, others for seniors, most at market rate — has gone up recently near Greens Farms Elementary School, and the foot of Long Lots Road.

Affordable housing is mandated by the state. It is not optional. In Westport, that translates to people earning just under $80,000 a year, says P&Z chair Danielle Dobin. That includes teachers, firefighters, police officers, other town employees, young people and seniors.

The P&Z’s Affordable Housing sub-committee meets today (Friday, January 10, 12 noon, Westport Town Hall Room 201). It’s the first of many meetings about this proposal.

Post Road Lights Out Of Sync? Who You Gonna Call?

It’s frustrating enough to drive on the Post Road, and realize how out-of-sync the traffic lights are.

It’s even more frustrating to call Town Hall to complain, and be told: “Sorry. We can’t do anything. It’s a state road.”

Alert “06880” reader Josh Stein shares your frustration. Now he shares something else: a possible solution.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation offers an online form to report road issues.

The worst light in town? …

Some of the dropdown categories include mowing, illumination, potholes and dead animals.

But there — right in the middle of the menu — is “Traffic Signal Revisions.”

Click here for the form.

And remember: It’s not just the Post Road (Route 1) that’s a state road. Click here for a map showing all the others in town (they’re green).

There’s no guarantee that filling out the form will make anything happen.

There’s no guarantee anyone will even read it.

But it gives you something to do the next time you’re stuck at a mistimed, too long or otherwise frustrating light.

… or this one? Let the state DOT know!

Cribari Bridge Disappears

Werner Liepolt — an alert “06880 reader/William F. Cribari Bridge neighbor/member of the Connecticut Department of Transportation Project Advisory Committee for a new, rehabilitated or (long shot) basically unchanged span — read with interest yesterday’s post about $40 million in possible funding for the project.

Then he noted with equal interest that the DOT has pulled (“temporarily?” he wonders) the Cribari Bridge project from its web page. (Click here for the error message.)

However, he does have 2 public documents — sent to Advisory Committee members — showing plans for the “restored” bridge. Here they are. Click on, or hover over to enlarge:

State: Here’s $40 Million For Cribari Bridge Rehab. Town: Not So Fast…

The state Department of Transportation today released a draft list of projects, under the 2021-24 Transportation Improvement Program.

Included is $20 million in fiscal 2023 — plus $20 million more in fiscal ’24 — for the “rehabilitation/replacement of state-town Bridge #01349, aka William F. Cribari Memorial Bridge.”

For those who haven’t followed the years-long saga, that’s the 133-year-old swing span over the Saugatuck River. It connects Riverside Avenue and Bridge Street.

One view of the William Cribari Bridge … (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

All projects on the list must be evaluated for air quality concerns. Because federal funding is also involved, national regulations — as well as state — must be adhered to.

The Cribari Bridge project may not necessarily be placed into the TIP. No decision is likely on the TIP until at least next summer.

First Selectman Jim Marpe said:

The town of Westport has not endorsed any plans for the Cribari Bridge, and awaits a conclusion to the CTDOT Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Evaluation.

As part of the EA/EIE, the DOT established a Project Advisory Committee, and met with this committee several times over the last year. DOT conducted a professional process, and I am confident they have taken away the community’s sentiments and concerns about the Cribari Bridge.

However, the town of Westport neither accepts nor rejects the CTDOT’s budgeted funding of $40 million over the 2 years until it is clear on the specific proposal for the Cribari Bridge, and the community agrees on which solution is the best for the town of Westport.

The Project Advisory Committee reviewed several alternatives for rehabilitation, including a no-build operation, and provided feedback to the DOT. No decision has been made.

The DOT continues to coordinate with other state and federal agencies, as well as various stakeholders, to consider specific concerns, such as impacts on historic properties.

… and another. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

The DOT is expected to issue a preliminary environmental document early next year. There will then be a public hearing and comment period, after which the DOT will make a recommendation of a preferred design alternative. Review by the Federal Highway Administration and state Office of Policy and Management will follow, with a decision announced later.

Marpe added:

My staff and I will stay abreast of the air quality and environmental findings for the Cribari Bridge rehabilitation or replacement options. Thereafter, we will follow the development of the TIP closely. I am committed to keeping the residents and businesses of Westport informed in a timely manner about this very important project.

Ins And Outs Of Post Road Shopping Centers

On July 8, representatives from Connecticut’s Department of Transportation gave a public presentation on proposed work on the Post Road. Much of it involves the stretch between Fresh Market, and the Roseville/Hillspoint Road intersection.

The $5.3 million project (80% federally funded, 20% state funds) would include special left-turn-only lanes, as well as traffic signals, curbing, curb ramps, sidewalks and crosswalks.

Proposals for the Post Road near Fresh Market.

Alert “06880” reader Jennifer Johnson agrees with many of the ideas. However, she also has concerns. She wrote the DOT about several, including the need for a sidewalk on the south side from Mitchells to the fire station, and care of the cherry trees in front of the Volvo dealer.

However, what really caught my eye was this:

Eliminate multiple single-property curb cuts. There are an excessive number of curb cuts (17) on both sides of the road, from the traffic light at Fresh Market to the light at Roseville/Hillspoint Road.

The number of curb cuts is a source of danger to people regardless of how they travel (foot, car or bicycle). Now is the time to correct problems that have evolved as the Post Road developed.

There are many ways in and out of the shopping centers, and adjacent lots.

I never thought about that — but now that I have, it makes a lot of sense.

Why do we need so many entrances and exits at Fresh Market? Across the street, there are also a number of ways to get into and out of the Dunkin’ Donuts/UPS Store/Westport Hardware/Mumbai Times lot. (No one ever calls it by its official no-meaning name, Village Center.)

There are other spots in town too with multiple entrances and exits, like Stop & Shop, and Aux Delices/Carvel/Stiles.

There are only a couple of ways in and out of the CVS/Trader Joe’s clusterf***. But at the end of her email, Jennifer notes that this intersection appears to have been ignored by DOT.

Finally, she asks that one person be appointed to oversee and coordinate all of DOT’s Westport projects (there are others besides the Fresh Market initiative).

Great idea! I nominate Jennifer Johnson for the job.

(For full details of the project on the Westport town website, click here. Questions about the Post Road project can be sent to  the CT DOT project manager: Brian.Natwick@ct.com)

Proposed work at the Post Road/Roseville/Hillspoint intersection.