Tag Archives: Debbie Katz

Shredding Main Street

Alert “06880” reader Debbie Katz is concerned about “the ridiculously sharp new curbs on Main Street.” She writes:

I rarely go downtown to shop. When I do, I usually park in the lot because I can never get a space on the street itself.

Last Thursday I got lucky. I parked in front of Tavern on Main. Backing up to get closer, my front passenger tire hit the curb. It shredded flat in seconds.

Debbie Katz's tire.

Debbie Katz’s tire.

While I waited for AAA, several people passing by and shop owners came to tell me about their experiences, or how many they had witnessed in the past few months.

The tow truck driver said he was on Main Street multiple times a week for this problem. The guy at Town Fair said he gets at least 5 tires per week that are shredded by the Main Street curbs.

The next day, she wrote to town officials. Director of public works Stephen Edwards quickly replied:

The granite curbs used on Main Street are the same material and construction that is used throughout Connecticut and meets state and federal specifications.  Because it is cut stone it does have a sharper edge than asphalt or concrete.

It is a chosen material because of it hardness and resilience to salt. It can stand up to New England winters with routine snow plowing and application of salt. The curb is not intended to be driven upon and will not damage a tire on routine contact.

New sidewalks and curbing were installed last year.

New sidewalks and curbing were installed last year.

Debbie called that “uncool.” She emailed back: 

Thank you for your quick response.

Of course the curbs are not meant to be driven on but when parallel parking, sometimes contact is made, even with the best and most experienced drivers.

I’m sure you can appreciate that if this is happening constantly in Westport, then perhaps the edges are just a little bit too sharp and you should review. But it doesn’t seem that you think it’s a problem.

Since all of the stores on Main Street are available at the area malls, that’s most likely where I’ll shop going forward; less wear and tear on my car.

I followed up with a phone call to Steve. He reiterated that the curbing is based on federal and state standards; that it’s used throughout the region because of its resilience (as opposed to the old concrete curb), and noted that the vast majority of parkers have not had a problem. “It doesn’t hurt your tires if you just nudge it,” he said. “You have to hit it with a lot of force.”

Killer curb, or another example of poor (in this case parallel) parking? Click “Comments” to drive your point home.