The news that Dunkin’ Donuts is moving across the Post Road — from its spot near the UPS Store, to 2 vacant storefronts in Compo Shopping Center — was greeted not with joy, for its expanded space.
Instead, “06880” commenters expressed chagrin that the already chaotic parking lot opposite Trader Joe’s will become — unbelievably — even more gruesome.
In a town with too many candidates for Worst Traffic Nightmare, the twin lots near downtown win in a walkaway. As bad as the rest of Westport is, nothing comes close to these mis-aligned, cramped lots filled with aggressive, heedless drivers laser-focused on getting their pizza, dry cleaning or hemorrhoid cream, then getting the hell out.
Now we add coffee into the mix.
I don’t recall Compo Shopping Center always being so bad. Even with a McClellan’s five-and-dime, barber shop and luncheonette — remember “luncheonettes”?! — plus a supermarket where Awesome Toys is now, traffic flowed smoothly.
I might be misremembering, but it seemed that the traffic in front of the left side of the plaza was always one-way, headed south. You couldn’t come from behind the stores and head left through the lot. You couldn’t even back out and aim for the light at the middle; you had to keep going toward North Compo.
Now anything goes. Parking spaces are narrower than ever. Drivers are more distracted. CVS is always packed. And that’s just for starters.
So here is today’s “06880” challenge. It’s probably a fool’s errand, but let’s say you had a chance to redesign Compo Shopping Center. What would you do?
You can reimagine the entire, horrific property: The tiny traffic island at the middle entrance that many folks ignore. The entrance itself, a few maddening yards away from its counterpart at Trader Joe’s. The cut-through to the back lot. The one-way hill leading to the Humane Society (which is moving soon, to Wilton). The rear lot. The traffic flow. The stores themselves.
You name it — it’s all on the table.
This is a great country. We just launched a space telescope 100 times more powerful than its already impressive predecessor. We developed, manufactured and distributed a vaccine to combat COVID all in 13 months, even if some people are too batshit stupid to take it. We can do whatever we put our minds to.
Even fix Compo Shopping Center.*
Click “Comments” below to provide your solution. The winner gets a free coffee at Dunkin’.
*We’ll leave Compo Acres — the Trader Joe’s lot — for another time.